TO all those out there: When was the point where Mr. Poe tuned from "average" to "famous"?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
When was the turning point in Edgar Allan Poe's life when he turned from average to famous?
-- Anonymous, October 28, 2000
As with any person whose work in the arts is of worth to them personally, Edgar Allan Poe clearly recognized and understood the value of publicity and media exposure on a literary career. Basic motives notwithstanding, he probably said it best in the preface to his "The Raven and Other Poems" in 1845. He wrote....
"Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making, at any time, any serious effort in what, under happier circumstances, would have been the field of my choice. With me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not - they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind"
Generally speaking, up until January of 1845, Edgar Allan Poe was best known nationally as a literary critic, social commentator, essayist and a popular author of short stories. While his personal passion was poetry, he was less recognized for his works of rhyme than he was for his macabre and mystery tales.
Then on January 29, 1845, his poem, "The Raven" first appeared in the Evening Mirror and the American Review printed it in February. The poem created a nationwide sensation, much like hit songs of today, and was reprinted widely. Later, Poe made some minor modifications but, generally, it was the extraordinarily powerful rhythm and deep resonant refrain of "Nevermore" that seemed to capture the imagination of the public and the condemnation of his critics. Having dedicated the publication of "The Raven and Other Poems" to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (Browning), she wrote to him and spoke of the haunting impact the poem had on her husband and on all of England. Still, to this day, there are few poems that are so instantly recognized and so immediately associated with a specific author as is "The Raven." Frankly, I would argue that there were no others, at least of American origin.
I have often expressed the view that, in regards to Poe the man, he was actually little different than his contemporaries and I still feel this is accurate in terms of his life as a whole. He was possessed of similar fears, frailties and foibles as any man of his time. Regardless, it is only with the greatest possible effort and steadfast resolve that I could or would ever perceive him as "average."
-- Anonymous, October 31, 2000