Most of the hardship's of Edgar Allan Poe's life were his of his own making. How was Poe his own worst enemy? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Most of the hardship's of Edgar Allan Poe's life were his of his own making. How was Poe his own worst enemy?

-- Anonymous, September 02, 2001


This is a divisive question for Poe followers. Proceeding from the premise that one is responsible for one's own choices, Poe seemed to know very well what he doing wrong in regards to things that would harm his life and career. (The Imp of the Perverse is his reoworking of St. Paul's "the evil I would not do, I do"). The drinking was particularly bad for the timing, namely fortifying himself(as was and is popular custom) for special trials and occasions. He set himself out to attack the powers controlling the floodgates of mediocrity. Then he did not like to be criticized himself or be made aware he possessed some of the same faults. The Longfellow wars show this serpent biting its own tail in truly bewildering fashion. He could not deal with the publishers he made rich. His timing and luck were impeccably poor, but he never ceased making enemies while his legion of friends lacked resources to help him. Deprived of his family as a child the rocky road, lack of father figure and his disposition could have led to much worse. In fact, much of this is exagerrated. He did extremely well in the magazine field, though he was ill paid. He earned attention and respect through his essays and finally generally public recognition of himself as a great poet. That he tried different ways to make a living and did not succeed is not a matter for which he should be completely blamed. What his friends saw he scornfully withheld from his enemies and his defensiveness and nervous battles with the illustrious made them implacable foes. Well, this is very incomplete. Just beware of biographies or essays that create myth on this subject, one way or the other. Mark Twain had a pretty disastrous business sense at times, but no one tries to judge him root and soul for this. Writers then(as now?) have great difficulty attracting attention and making a living. Success is no guarantee of security or anything else other than perhaps the laurel of fame.

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2001

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