Would you say all of Poe's work was depressing?

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Would you say that all of Edgar Allen Poe's works have a dark and depressing mood and if they do why do you think he wrote with a dark and depressing mood?

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2003


Hi Adam, I wouldn't say "Dark and Depressing". more of "Dark and Deep". I think it was because he felt emotions so strongly absorbed lige so deeply, yet did not have much hapiness to reflect on. You have to understand that he was very much ahead of his time. He had inner demons. Wether they were alcohol of opium that he sometimes used to connect with those demons that answer only he knew. He seemed to write like he really experienced those things or saw them happen. Maybe he did in a dream world which is only a differebt realm to our reality. What do you think?

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2003

I liked Anjelina's response re. Poe's darker works, and she's absolutely right that he was ahead of his time. I'll add that: 1)A great deal of Poe's work was not depressing stuff. His first love as a writer was poetry, much of which could be called reflective, but it was as much about love as it was of loss. Most people don't know this, but much of his writing would work just fine on Valentine's Day card. 2)Ahead of his time: much of his work deals with the future---a journey to the moon via balloon, transatlantic flight, etc. Jules Verne acknowledged Poe as an inspiration. Likewise A.C. "Sherlock Holms" Doyle, as Poe is credited with having invented the detective story. 3)Comedy--he wrote many comic stories. Often full of puns and wordplay on a near-Dr. Seuss level. Much satirized the world around him, as Mark Twain went on to do, years later. (My fave so far: "Never Bet the Devil Your Head.") 4) Origins of the universe. Poe considered his masterpiece to be "Eureka," a long poem that questions the origins of the universe. "Eureka" hints at black holes & a space-time continuum, 60 years before Einstein. Of course folks thought Poe was nuts/blasphemous at the time.

4)Back to the gloomy stuff: He was also reflecting the times in which he lived, and dark, gloomy work was all the rage. Premature death was very common (as Poe knew all too well---Anjelina's right). It's often said that gothic lit was popular at the time, as a way of people's dealing with such a high mortality rate.

So---Poe's probing of our darker nature remains compelling to this day. But that we've forgotten about so many other aspects of his work- --maybe says more about us, than about him.

Hope this helps.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2003

Go to www.eapoe.org. Aside from the Gothic Poe is an eclectic and rational writer. The tone of this American Romantic has a decided edge and signature darkness, but I am not sure it is exactly clinical depression. Some of it has to do with his alcoholism and other life struggles. As a humor writer he might have been at home with the more sophisticated black humor of a couple decades back, Instead his humor can be crude, cruel and flat while flashes of brilliance in his conversational tales with the devil make one wish he could have taken the necessary next step.

The mood is one of vast excitement of which despair and terror is but one component. In fact, in the stories where the mind(American optimism and progress) overcomes the vast terrors of the unconquerable world, he is quite the rationalist optimist. That, as opposed to the unrelenting grimness of his contemporaries in Gothic, even Hawthorns. Experience the terror, enjoy it even, but overcome it with art and reason. Hardly the mark of total depression.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2003

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