ukrainegreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
What is it about Poe that makes critics regard him as great? In my opinion he is very overated and not original in his ideas at all. If you research some of his tales, quite few of them spawned from other authors works. I don't mean to ruffle anyone's feathers but to me he was just an average writer with psycho tendencies. I would appreciate legitimete responses that would prove otherwise.
-- Anonymous, December 04, 2002
Dear Homer, Firstly, I suggest that you try to read more works of Poe (poems, "tales", essays, critical writings, letters, &c, as now available - at lenght! - on line at www.eapoe.org), just to escape from the usual "clichés" and "hits" that so often convey false ideas of this author. Secondly, try to remember why, or fom what facts, you get in mind that Poe had "psycho tendencies". Perhaps from the narrative "I" of his various stories? If so, it might mean that you fell in the common trap of confusing the writer and his created characters. Or from second(?)-rate post-Freudian psychanalytical pseudo-studies? Then, try to forget them and their followers. Get rather the "Poe Log" (Thomas & Jackson - reprinted). Thirdly, Originality is one of Poe's essential and constant qualities (and ambition!), in manner as well as in matter. If you trace some of Poe's themes from other authors, then look at his genius for transforming the dullness or baldness of materials into richness and power of suggestion and new significations (what too many critics err when calling it "symbolism"). Fourthly, if Poe were so common, why did he influence so many major artists all around the world? Surely not through his critics, I assure you! Lastly, for the moment, I cannot tell you more "proving" and "legitimate" responses, beyond those general considerations, because your own, and perfectly legitimate, question is a very general one. If you wish to debate about precise points, you are welcome. But Poe will ever be the best champion - and commentator - of his writings. Alas, to discover it may take long long time! Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).
-- Anonymous, December 11, 2002