Clues, Underline ideas...greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
OKAY. I know about the France Sargent Osgood trick in "A Valentine" but i was wondering if there were any more tiny tricks or clues in Poe's writting. Cause..umm, there must be. if you are aware of any please, please let me know./ ~thank you
-- Anonymous, August 22, 2001
Luckily, Poe wanted his cleverness to be noticed. His used of codes are usually out there and analysed in detail. The few poems use the same clear method of hiding the name while the poem itself teases the answer. In "Pym" he teased those friends whose names he had included as characters in the book. THankfully he was not content to use anagrams or hidden messages no one would look for. He was avidly boosting his intellect and style. Too much ego for gnostic writing, too serious to be bothered with trivial arcana. However, you can join the nearly hopeless hunt for some of the obscure references he quotes in his stories, names, titles of arcane books, quotes to determine if they have a real source or are a creation of Poe. THAT was one area where he seemed to love infuriating his learned audiences with obscurities or hoaxes. And hoaxes themselves he particularly loved for similar reasons. Allegories like King Pest seem a little awkward and not so clever, diluted by grinning farce and self-applauding jokes. The recent solution of the LAST Poe cryptogram shows how important it is to understand Poe's nature before you get too carried away looking for super puzzles. Once he saw his super complex cipher was botched by the typesetter, he dropped the whole matter as a spoiled show and sdidn't bother giving the answer. (Just solved about a year ago by someone using a computer and a lot of good research and headwork.)
Then, like some more modern poets, he would write poems or stories, but poems especially, leaving the sources and personal meanings unexplained. Which reminds me of a useless period studying Eliot in college with teachers who had no clue whatsoever of the biographical or literary references key to understanding much of the packed symbolism. That did not stop them from endlessly speculating- in the wrong direction. When I brought up the Irish connection(Yeats and lore)rife in some of Eliot's verse, it seemed fresh and novel- which it shouldn't have.
Still, since Poe didn't credit all of his sources or explain his choices OR dwell too openly upon intimate life details, his numerology,choice of symbols, etc. etc. is still open for specualtion.
-- Anonymous, August 23, 2001