HELP!! "The Raven" & " The Philosophy of Composition" : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Even after Poe explains his conscious, artistic composition("The philosophy of composition"), are there still aspects of the poem " The Raven" that remain mysterious, irrational, or part of Poe's own mind?

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2001


Say it ain't so, Poe! Many dismayed, bewildered critics have tried to offer some explanations of Poe's demystification of the Raven and the artificial process he seemed to use that seems so at variance with the superb poetry and deep mood that popular poem creates. In other articles he even pretends to be a critic of The Raven(the Longfellow war) and accuses himself of plagiarism, which by his standards might even be true.

Disingenuous or not, lightly handled or not, the heart of the meaning of the poem seems revealed here- as far as Poe would like to go into his own mind. What existed in himself that elicited such choices remains unspoken. Throughout his life and writings he was moved by the ghostly yet real connection with memories and lost love, the real world and the spiritual. Without analysing himself he accurately shows his divided mind: the scholar, the poet with heart focussed on his heavenly love, his melancholy and dismal, isolated condition. This witty analytical man starts to lose it in a repartee he himself should have seen would have agravated his doubts and obsession. That odd, self-induced horror and hopelessness simply by reacting with a dumb piece of nature(like night or seashore)is the mystery of Poe himself. The rational man, unfrightened, coping, with faith as his answer systematically engages in irrational self-destruction over the "emblem", giving reason over completely to Romantic melancholy and horror.

There is a great deal to delve into there as well as the resonant profundity of the symbolism. So when Poe dashes this with a blithe, perhaps unlikely recounting of his methodical composing process, one may wonder if there is a joke(and that joke intended?) showing himself once more the rationalist and blowing away the mystique, lifting that popular shadow of the poem off his back forevermore? Happily the essay never had an ounce of effect over the impact the poem has on most readers. Perhaps he just wanted, as do Stephen King and others today, to cast off that insane genious label the public unfailingly pins on the creative process. Yet underneath the strange, well written beauties lies the depths of a soul.

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2001

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