GOOD ESSAY INFO ON POE : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

When I started doing this paper, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was very stressed out over the length and topic of my paper. I had no idea what Romanticism was, I thought it was when you were being nice to your boyfriend or girlfriend. In his poems he would talk about dead corpses and killing, his stories are almost scary. Now I have a much greater understanding and appreciation for the meaning of Romanticism. It was very hard to find an exact definition because it has been used in varying contexts and means many different things to different people. Poe was a huge literary figure in the world of Romanticism. His types of stories would be called Dark Romanticism. It is a large scale of authors, artists, movements and ideas all

collected into one. Romanticism is a European artistic and intellectual movement of the

early 19th Century (Whitney). Any list of particular characteristics of Romanticism

includes subjectivity and an emphasis on individualism, spontaneousness, freedom from

rules; solitary life rather than life in society, the beliefs that imagionation is superior to

reason and devotion to beauty, love of and worship nature. Facination with the past is

also a characteristic. The movement started in 1820 and ended in 1865.

Romantic thought places emphasis on emotion. The individual is more important than

society. They rely on the expression of their emotions. Romanticism questions or attacks

rules and conventions. It prefers nature over the city. It sees children essentially innocent,

until corrupted by their surroundings. Its quest for emotional fulfillment may take it in the

direction of Dark Romanticism, towards the style Gothic. Imagination, emotion, freedom

and a facination with the past are certainly the focal points of romanticism (Whitney).

Some of the major writers in the category of Romantics can include: James

Feinmore Cooper, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.

Poe was born in Boston, January 19, 1809. Poes parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins were touring actors (Began). Both Poes parents died by the time he was 3. His mother died of tuberculosis and his father of alcoholism (Rozakis, 62). He was taken into the home of John and Frances Allan, a prosperous merchant in Richmond (Began). Frances Allan bonded immediatley with Poe but John kept his distance (Rozakis, 62). His childhood was uneventful, although he studied for 5 years in England (Began). Even though he was taunted viciously because of his lowly birth he made a number of close friends. In 1826 when he was 17, he entered University of Virginia but stayed for only a year. Within a day of his arrival, Poe managed to gamble away his entire terms allowance. Just a few months later he owed $2,500 in gambling debts. He managed to stay drunk for the entire semester. Astonishingly, he aced his classes, earning the universities highest distinction. Unimpressed with Edgars extracurricular activities, John Allan yanked his drunken cardsharp son out of college (Rozakis, 62). Allan prevented his return to the university and broke off Poes engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster, his Richmond sweetheart (Began). Soon after, Edgar left home for Boston. Boston was then Americas center of publishing, and Poe was determined to write the Great American Novel. Since he didn’t have a lot of money, only 50 copies were printed of Tamerlane and other poems. Unfortunatley, the book didn’t even make a ripple in the literary pond (Rozakis, 62). Lacking any means of support, Poe enlisted in the army. He was 18. After 6 months Poe apparently contrived to be dismissed from West Point for disobedience of orders (Began). He got himself court marshalled for his drinking and gambling. Aparently he believed within 6 months he had made a bad career move (Rozakis 62). His fellow cadets however contributed the funds for the publication of POEMS by Edgar A. Poe, second edition. This volume contained the famous To Helen and Israfel, poems that show the restraint and the calculated musical effects of language that were to characterize his poetry. Poe next took up residence in Baltimore with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia. He turned to fiction to support himself. In 1832, the Philadelphia Saturday courier published 5 of his comic or satiric stories. Some won cash prizes. Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1835. He then married Virginia who was not yet 14 years old, in 1835. (Began). He as 26 by this point. He then became the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. His contributions undoubtedly increased the magazines circulation, but they offended it’s owner who also took exception to Poes drinking. The January 1837 issue of the messenger announced Poes withdrawl as editor but also included the first installment of his long prose tale. The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, five of his reviews, and two of his poems (Began). He took his family to New York then to Pennsylvania. For the next 5 years, Poe worked on various publications, some of his best known stories, “The fall of the house of Usher” and the “Murders in the Rue Morgue”, the worlds first detective story (Romantics). Meanwhile, John Allan had died, leaving Poe completely out of his will (Rozakis 62). For the rest of Poes life, his family shuttled back and forth among New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond, surviving mainly on bread and molasses as Poe tried to make it as a writer. His astonishing talent secured him a number of jobs as an editor and critic for magazines and newspapers; his equally astonishing inability to hold his booze got him fired from them all. During a trip to see President John Tyler, Poe was reported to be so drunk that he wore his coat inside out. History does not record whether the President noticed. That Poe managed to write anything at all is astounding; that he wrote so much of such value is nothing short of remarkable. Poe looked so bad when he personally submitted the manuscript of “The Raven” to Grahams Magazine that even though the editors rejected the poem, the took up a collection to give to him. Virginias death from Tuberculosis in 1847 sent Poe into a drunken tailspin. Two years later, Poe decided to try “drying out” for a while, he needed to, but his good intentions only lasted a few hours (Rozakis 63). In September 1849, Poe stopped in Baltimore on his way to New York, and dissapeared for five days (Romantics). He died three days later in the gutter somewhere (Rozakis 63). He died October 7, 1849 in Baltimore (Began). His body wasn’t claimed for several days (Rozakis 63). Some people think it was suicide (Rozakis 63).

From what I see, his literary works shows a dark symbolism that in a way

connects to events that have occured in his life or his current emotions. Poe was a

tortured soul, who could blame him for writing such horrible stories of murder and dimentia?

-- Anonymous, June 05, 2003


This is not bad, but i will like to have a sample essay much more sophisticated and clearer than this, on 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' send me by email, please.

-- Anonymous, November 28, 2003

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