Poe and Existentialism?greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
Does anyone know of any works by Poe that are loaded with existentialism? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
-- Anonymous, April 23, 2003
In many ways of course Poe is NOT and existentialist any more than a psychologist or AA member since none of those things had been pioneered yet. He believed in the social mores, scientific progress(American optimism) and was very much a part of the Romantic movement. Insofar as the Romantic movement in its dark struggles to break through common illusions could be said to be a precursor one might want to consider Poe.
But the reason one might goes deeper to Poe's intensely personal and honest ties to his primary Muse. No angels or religion, no philosophy(even the borrowed science of his own synthesis in "Eureka"), no plot or fianle however shocking, is ever allowed to dominate the experience and its inescapable loss. He realizes all the traps of self and his own self defeat (The Imp of the Perverse). It is not so much what he is "loaded" with as what he chucks off. See "A Dream within a Dream", for some of his existential concerns. The poem "Alone" which is an account of his earliest calling without any philosophical baggage only the naked vision and its effect on his life. Poe's leap at the unknown can be seen in many works like "Dreamland". Though his Muse is a twilight boundary between life and death, part fantasy, part his natural aloneness, it is his relentless focus on where he is in the cruel present with the past dying behind him that forms his honest ground. As with Romanticism it is not so much the elements of philosphy as the personal integrity of Poe the man not falsifying or embellishing his art.
-- Anonymous, April 24, 2003