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Hey, I'm writing a paper that has to compare poe to the romanticism era.What major breakthrough did he accomplish in his time?If you have any leads please let me know.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003


Amreica, the people of the Rebellion, were a pretty tame bunch in the Romantic movement, very much followers of the European fashions. Poe himself is probably the most genuine American Romantic in his life and unique intensities. Yet even he was more piously respectful of women and polite relationships, very much unlike his French counterpart, Charles Baudelaire.

I think he might be the best example of the movement though in that he combined the classical analyst, fond of reason with the intense experiential poet. Mary Shelley tyoifies the former, her husband Percy the latter. Poe was apolitical and not in his life as extreme or unconventional as his Gothic fiction might make one imagine. So he made a fusion of the poles in the narrow way, personal, local and altogether literary.

That is best seen in his creation of the detective story as an amalgam of the dark Gothic with the triumph and rule of reason enlightened by heightened poetic intuition. This synthesis of the varied interests and pursuits of the Romantics finds order in conquest of mystery while maintaining the genius of excitement and revelation.

Second, try comparing his poems to ANY other romantic. They are brief, spare of imagery and extrapolation, an inner personal universe of dreamscapes. Structurally they are daringly, even riskily musical, yet ordered and harmonious in ways the freer hands of more prolific poets cannot match. Poe in fact has more memorable and quotable poems than more famous English Romantics. Here again he has distilled the Romantic genius from its wordy scattershot boldness and kept it tethered to his own tormented self. In this he is much like Charles Baudelaire, technically classical, extremely powerful in effect derived from the innermost self and the most treasured experiences in places we might find dark. Between these two we leave the flowery age of conceits to the profound metaphors of symbols as powerful and abstract as music itself, art for it's own sake, beauty first whatever the source.

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003

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