his use of insanity

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why did poe so often use insane people in his writing/

-- Anonymous, August 01, 2001


Partly it was the dark romantic tradition of probing the extremes of human nature to wed art to higher, more dangerous intuitive planes than the purely rational, to challenge boundaries. Some of that spirit is found in the thirst for Progress, hence Frankenstein which wedded Gothic horror with scientific advancement. Most of Poe's writings are not supernatural, but the character in crisis and wild perception tests the boundaries. The horror tales of the dark side of man were popular in Germany decades before Poe took up the form. In typical American form he often parodied the lugubrious genre. There are insane people in "Dr. Tar and Dr. Feather" for example.

Not all Poe's characters, tested or not, were mentally crazed, by any means. That being said, behind all the art there is definitely a man with issues: bereft of family life, poverty,rebellion, alcoholism, self-defeating tendencies,his relationship with women and losses, repressed rage and despair. These fingerprints are on all his entertainments and poems. Certianly he has an emotional connection with his stories,probably as much as Stephen King or other writers in genres he tried. Those genres however essays, humor htat bepeak a very sane mind despite his personal woes. Listen to Stephen King's tape "On Writing" sometime.

-- Anonymous, August 02, 2001

Must add that his favorite, until it became cruelly real in the death of Virginia, was the death of a young woman as an ideal expression of his theme and emotion. Beginning with the death of his mother, a figure he was too young to be too emotionally tied to, subsequent losses of feminine figures in his life made this theme all too personal and challenging. This must qualify in that large and mysterious category of life reflecting an author's writings- especially their fears concerning death. Predestination, psychic connection or self-inflicted prophecy?

-- Anonymous, August 03, 2001

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