Why is poe famous????

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What is e.a. poe famous for, What spasific poem???

-- Anonymous, January 13, 2001



There are many human as well as literary elements that account for the continued popularity of Edgar Allan Poe and his work over the last 150 years. Most interesting is the characterization of that popularity as his being famous or infamous which depends greatly on who you ask, because views toward both legacies abound in our modern culture. Poe was an author of poetry and prose but was best known in his time as an essayist and literary critic of exceptional insight. Often bold, innovative and fearless, his critiques were generally fair, accurate and thought provoking in terms of his art. But he could also be brutal, petty and, at times, unjust in his literary assessments.

Poe's infamous legacy was primarily the product of Rufus W. Griswold, the first biographer and compiler of Poe's life's work. They had first met in about 1841 and shared a mutual disdain for one another that periodically cycled between a public display of respect and sheer hatred in private. In the end, Griswold proved to be the very literary buffoon Poe had felt him to be and history has clearly demonstrated that Griswold was not above perfidy, forgery and fabrication in writing Poe's biography. But... some of the blame must be laid at Poe's doorstep as well. At times, Poe was known to cultivate controversy and he clearly recognized the value of a "bad boy" persona in the eyes of the public. Not so much different than the specious reputations of some rock singers who gleefully leave the limelight of shock to go home and watch "Ole Yeller" with the kiddies and cook hamburgers in the back yard.

While there are many poems and short stories for which Poe remains popular, the single work of poetry that gained him the recognition he so richly deserved was "The Raven", published in January 1845. It became a sensation for the time and was plagiarized, parodied and reprinted for months. Depending on the source, he is said to have received between $15.00 and $40.00 for the poem but was never compensated for any reprints. Unique and innovative, the poem was rhythmic, powerful and hauntingly memorable for the period and was a classic example of the poetic principles Poe preached so often. Even Poe's enemies could neither deny nor dismiss the poem's incredible public appeal. "The Raven" is arguably the most well known poem by an American author and the one most instantly associated with its famous author.


-- Anonymous, January 19, 2001

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