Need help with term paper about Poe's stories being tales of the supernatural, macabre, and the evil that lurks behind every corner. : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Please help! I have to turn in a rough draft of a term paper on Tuesday May 29 and I don't know where to start.

TOPIC: Edgar Allen Poe has been called "the archpriest of the gothic horror tale." His stories are tales of the supernatural, the macabre, the evil that lurks behind every corner of human existence. his stories encompass those qualities that define the Gothic tradition.

The short stories I can use are: Ligeia, William Wilson, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Oval Portrait,The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat,and The Masque of the Red Death. I prefer to use the last three

-- Anonymous, May 26, 2001


Try the dark Romanticism articles or the Poe Decoder web site. That's quite a tall order. Poe's stories dwell on the borderland between this world and the unknown- the spiritual plane. Madness, dreams, visions(mistaken or hallucinatory), extreme horror and crisis help push the experience to the brink, to death or some climactic revelation or catastrophe. SO there is not so much supernatural trappings as a supernatural "trap". The mood grows and darkens, there are teasers of drawing back, some mischievous humor perhaps, even a double climax like some of our trick ending movies of today, always building to an inexorable crescendo.(Tell-Tale Heart- the murder then the confession).

The medium, the genre of the horror story was very common. How Poe handled it was uniquely, artistic, poetic, more literary than most of his predecessors. In relation to his LIFE be very careful. The single theme of dread and loss always troubled Poe. Though he received hope from his loved ones in heaven or lost moments of happiness, their haunting("sheeted") memories he found not necessarily agreeable. He felt this sometimes as an oppressive shadow, a suffocating melancholy that he usually avoided or played with artistically, explaining scientifically most of the causes- even as the story continues to terrify the reader! So while he drew from his sensitivities to put color to the dark gothic emotions of the tales, this is not to say this was 100% what Poe was like day in day out. What he likely really feared most in life was that his wife Virginia would not get well- and she didn't. A common enough tragedy among many others that befell him. Well, there are a lot of stories. I suggest you pick a few(definitely Usher, Poe liked "Ligeia")read some articles and get into the skin of the story as Poe penetrates ours.

Luckily, despite some difficult, complex writing the story is always carefully united to produce a single effect, a single strong emotion according to his theory(see Poe's own essays at The Theory of Composition, How to Write a Blackwood Article(satire)etc.)

-- Anonymous, May 28, 2001

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