Poe's life and Doppelganger

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How is the idea of Doppelganger significant to the writings of Edgar Allan Poe? To his life?

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003


Poe did not originate this popular theme which goes to the divided mind and heart of the Romantic movement. His use of the doppleganger in a stock Gothic tale is therefore not easy to itself be split between his personal resonance and the fashionable symbolism. "William Wilson" uses imagery from his schoolboy days in Britain when he must have felt much more isolated and challenged. In his poem "Alone" he relays the early sense of his poetic self and vision. Perhaps in that story of an inner split(it is fairly clear there is no ACTUAL imp other than a mad personification of his imp of the perverse). Perhaps there was a reason he drew upon his own youth in Britain to show an aggravation, an agitation, an insecurity and self-destructive urge repressed then insanely "born". It probably has to be inferred or mused upon, this "wilder'd youth" Poe often mentions, this imp of self war often tied with drink and career gaffes, seen but never defeated.

Parallelism, splits, the divided mind that Poe exemplifies almost better than any other Romantic of the period- the epitome of intelligence wedded to prfound intuitve insight and wild will. Poe's variations in hios poems and stories, the narrators, the objectified other, but always the central experience completely overwhelming all other artifices adn identities. So the dark twin is the self projected on the other forbidden side reached for but never attained except in a great cataclysm or death. That feared and unattainable other, that unrealized self nonetheless rules the pursuit of the Romantic rampaging restlessly through the world of reason andlimitations. He splits past and present so mathematically the future disappears, his drinking self from his normalself, his rational artisy of great skill from his poetic genius.

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

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