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What is Edgar Allen Poe's writing stlye? And what is the difference in his style in his writings, how does it show?

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2001


This is a tough question. Best to go to the horse's mouth and read Poe's own essays on composition and verse.(www.eapoe.org)though some of that might be disingenuous and more honored in the breach than the observance as to technical perfection.

That last caveat has to do with Poe being primarily a poet interested in effect and word music preeminent to other considerations. It has been observed his tales contain sentences in the natural iambic pentameter. That the imagery and rhythm of the exposition have the poetic qualities needed to evoke strong sentiments. That everything not serving the cause of unity of effect and not poetic has been trimmed down so that the characteristic style of his tales seem spare and relatively undetailed(a calculated effect) EXCEPT where his enthusiasm for scientific analysis and calculation or philosophic points enters the fray(sometimes to the detriment of the story as bewildered readers may attest). Baudelaire, who admittedly attributed the prose poem to another writer, seems to carry this further by having both a poem and capsule story version paired off.

Accessible, made vague enough to be also universal and not dated, artfully structured and textured, emphasizing impact and mood and thus favoring the short length. Also erudite with sometimes obscure, multilingual references(also creating an effect whether totally understood by the reader or not)the tales delve beneath mere plot to fully and deeply engage the mind(analysis, intutition, ratiocination, complex psychology.

Daring in his popularity and brevity, his artistic style is often ignored or underrated. After all what great poet has such a slim opus of very short poems? What great short story writer can stake his LITERARY reputation on horror and mystery tales? Yet original, ingenious and artful work rides these popular vehicles and is worth delving into for its own sake. A lot more should be said here. I just raise a few points.

-- Anonymous, September 07, 2001

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