Poe's acceptance

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I am writing term theme on Edgar Allan Poe and i need to know two things Please help if you can....

How did people accept Poe's poetry when he was alive and how did they accept it after his death? Thank you

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003


As a student Poe was a popular and recognized prodigy. At West Point he continued his humorous satires of teachers. When he sold his first chapbooks with serious poems to his classmates to cover expenses from his leaving, they were disappointed there was not more humor.

Poe's confidence may have been dealt a setback as he did not like long poems and the short ones were quite a risk. Great poets of his day were expected to prove it by great length and pomposity. Poe's musicality and dramatic stories naturally lent themselves to parody as soon as they became popular- and are still parodied. People saw little content value in his dark, personal and musical poetry, his small opus. The fact he was popular for "The Raven" did not win over enemies, especially since as a sharp and unsparing critic for years before in literary journals Poe had savaged many inferior poets, accusing many of plagiarism in degrees which he himself also could be found guilty.

Poe's "The Raven" however was THE hit of the century for America and internationally. His poetry bragging rights increased accordingly. People loved his readings and the popular aspects of the poetry even if they only dimly saw the depths and artistry within. Ralph Waldo Emerson, after a long time of Poe dissing the northern Transcendentalists- and weird attacks against Longfellow- branded him as "the jingle man". Personality(Poe AND his critic's) always seems to get in the way when appreciating Poe. The second thing is the idea of art for art's sake, and that truth will take care of itself, added to the Romantic imagination and power inherent in the words and symbols made Poe the champion of a whole branch of literature always just outside the mainstream, but always imaginative and popular.

Poe's enemies destroyed his reputation and people like T.S. Eliot and others today can dismiss his small opus for various reasons. Twenty-five years after his death his friends revived his works and tried to clean up his reputation. Later in this century better scholarship has dealt with the slander more effectively and rediscovered Poe for the great poet he is. People still are affected by the primary force and beauty of his poems, impressed by the personal passion within in a visceral way- as Poe intended. However his skill and ideas are notwidely understood and often his pomes, purposely vague in their attempts to create mood, are very misunderstood especially by people seeking to find meanings Poe avoided and never intended.

I think will find enemies, friends, popular likes and misunderstandings have the same mix at all times. All you have to do is line up the people using Poe and following his lead as oppsed to a different literary establishment. Yeats, G.B. Shaw wrote very favorably about Poe. Walt Whitman was poetically impressed by Poe's appearance and mistakenly related it to his work. Emerson and his crowd banished Poe. Longfellow was more puzzled than upset. T.S. Eliot probably thought Poe too shallow and and a charlatan. Many people get turned off by the misunderstandings of Poe. That at once he could be so powerfully passionate and yet so artificially removed from reality. That is coming down on the wrong side of both aspects. His real passion was THE poetic encounter with the emotion, the Muse, not a romantic relationship with any person or any religion or worship of nature. The art itself was his ecstasy when well done. The source was his own self. All images and sounds and structures were a single song united and blended and plotted for effect like his tales.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

I think that most of his poems are sick and twisted! Some of them however, like Annabell Lee, are in a happy setting until the end of the poem. In his writtings my class and I have discovered that most of his poems either start off in a gloomy setting or they end up in one. But anyway that is my classes oppinion and myself. (Please no e- mails back)

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2003

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