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What were Poe's writing techniques and styles?

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2003


I suppose this question has two kinds of answers. One that goes through a dictionary set of literary terms and classifies Poe text accordingly, another that gives a broad contextual and textual anaysis. I fear most students posting here want the former, satisfying to point for grades, tit for tat check offs but blandly disappointing.

Poe developed his own unique style, that is without a doubt just from a casual acquaintance with his works. They also very much go side by side with his contemporaries, starting with the Romantic poets of England. In particular, Thomas Moore, Shelly, Byron, Coleridge, and other slightly preceding the young POe, some contemporaneous. Not surprisingly, American poets were fewer and less influential at this stage in American history. Poe's admiration, competition and disdain for Longfellow is due to vast differences in character and thought affecting content and style.

Poe preferred, music and its qualities of universal suggestiveness. The Gothic extremes and melancholy influenced his themes, but Poe kept his extremes honestly within the mind of the poet or narrator beholder. He wrote stories often as he wrote his poems and vice versa, singular perceptions for singular climactic effects with that same Dark Romantic power shading together awe and horror. Antipathy to social preaching or moralizing almost to the point of revolt but unlike the social rebel British Romantic. As an American he had no such immediate royalist oppression(except for rich publishers)and was a lot stuffier and homespun in social life, sex and politics.

In his short style his did without much flowery description, comtemplation of nature, consolation of religion and philosophy, keeping the deepest sense of metaphor without simile. Foreshadows or prefigures perhaps modern symbolism and existentialism in the limits he sets himself, deriving from the power he felt in personal AND artistic isolation. isolation that maybe connected to a form of depression that made long works and expansiveness difficult(as for the procrastinating and troubled Baudelaire). As a poet naturally many of his fiction sentences roll in natural rhythms such as iambic pentameter and his plots are as tightly structured for poetic effect as any sonnet. He wrote a few sonnets almost as an exercise. Anlysis and puzzles figure in for his rationalist desire to solve and pierce even the most daunting mysteries. His musicality is of the natural and beautiful sort, onomatopaeia in its purest form as nature acts on the human spirit(waves, heart, emotions). Along with brevity only a genius could pull off this without it becoming the doggerel or jingles prone to parody that his critics try to accuse him of.

This is a bit. Probably not what you want.

-- Anonymous, February 21, 2003

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