When writing criticisms on EAP, what should there be to say?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I need some major help on my essay due June 5, 2002. I need a total of atleast 7 pages and I only have 3. I'm writing about EAP and his criticisms. It can't be a biography or anything but it has to be about criticisms about him and what people think about his work throughout his life. If you have any info that you think would be helpful then please respond back ASAP, thank you!

- Desperate Dumb-Ass

-- Anonymous, June 03, 2002


Since www.poecentral.com went belly up I can only direct you to www.eapoe.org for some comments by his contemporaries. Articles there to and at poedecoder.com. Poe made enemies and was not a literary mogul despite the power of his own literary critiques. So trashing Poe was quite a personal and sectarian crusade- once he was safely dead.

Emerson, representing the insulted Bostonian crowd, called Poe the "jingle man", part of a typical response to Poe's work being too musical and trivial, or too popular and common. Others went to work on the imagined libel surrounding Poe's moral "aberrations." They would call his works immature, shallow and senationalistic workings of a dark, dysfunctional mind too full of itself. Though T.S. Eliot loved to read Poe's thrashing of Eliot's mediocre ancestors, he was plainly critical of the value of Poe's own works. So there is a continuing split in modern criticism with only now the ascendancy of the positive.

The other school that you might classify as "art for art's sake", the continuation of Romanticism's surge for artistic beauty unbound by convention, didacticicm or stiff structuralism, includes a host of writers inspied by Poe: essay by G.B. Shaw(over the top), Baudelaire, Yeats(Poe-forever a great lyric poet) and on and on.

Poe carved out his highly artful stories in the popular medium of magazines, finally breaking out with popular poetry. He stayed within the limits of united and concise effect. Within those punches, staking all on so few words he wrapped his unique analysis and philosophy with passion and strong elements of extreme human behavior. Spare and really little beholden to outright supernatural elements, he chose a lean palette, sparse characterization, and suggestivity at the boundaries of human understanding and endurance. We ride the roller coaster in these tales, we enter the shadows in his poetry. Awe tinged by horror and mystery grapple with coping and problem solving. There is no assurance in the struggle, few neat victories or answers. That makes the mystery tales all the more satisfying since the objective, outside the crisis Detective, can be the corrective rewriter of the horror and lay mysteries to rest. That is Poe at his best, while tales like "Usher" show his personal uncertainty with oppressive fate and suffering.

Few important poets have so many memorable poems, great poems in such a small lifetime output. Dangerously brief, some like "The Raven" inviting parody, they all contain a profound, unique stance of the soul afflicted by the present straining for or against the past and the future walled up by death, that is a good measure beyond all other Romantic poets. These poems convey much of the emotion and not a little of the symbolic expression of Poe's own soul. Many articles in library books, some references on the www.eapoe.org site for a bibliography.

-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002

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