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When Edgar Allen Poe wrote something...he wrote because it happen in its life.........What stories or poems did he wrote that happen in his life.

-- Anonymous, October 10, 2003


Be careful. Poe was not writing autobiography. The emotions and ideals of real life formed the heart of his writings, often the emotional content of the effects he was stribving for- with the exception of genre fiction and devices. Looking for keys and revelations is the wrong approach.

Overall his strong poetic muse, his visionary mission(Alone, The Lake)take on a consistently strong and personal primacy in his writings. Pieces of his life, names of his friends, types of his enemies(Hop Frog) are blended into the opus. Inncidents such as relayed including himself in the tale(The premature Burial, Pym) are fictitious. Poe's own pose a brilliant genius out of the ordinary shares the mirror with Dupin and Usher. The lost women in his life fuel but are not depicted by Ligeia, Annabel Lee, Helen, etc.

The art was more important than the content, and the content more emotionally laden(as in dreams) than realistic.

That said you can find examples of life crossing over into art beyond the interior bonds. "The Black Cat" details the effects of alcoholism as Poe was possibly familiar with(though Poe never hurt anyone). In Hop Frog Poe seems to depict his conflict with his editors and critics and his love for his wife with this own genre conventions and tales reversed and mocked and thrown to the winds. In Pym Poe identifies with the hunger, the vertgo, the chemical drugging in the ship's hold which he himself was suffering from in his dire poverty. Usher and Prospero represent his own artist's revolt as well as the Byronic hero(anti-hero). He concentrates on women's eyes obsessively whether in fiction like "Ligeia" or addresses to real amours like Sarah "Helen" Whitman in the second poem "To Helen".

That is a good example both Helen poems are for real women with real snippets of information in the poetry. Yet the first(for the deceased Jane Stanard) is wholly idealized symbolism set in classic fantasy while the second is the contemporary love poem.

As Yeats told people able to directly query him about the women in his poems, whatever reality started the inspoiration, the artistic figures in the poems have a life wholly their own not bound to historic representation or fidelity. You can read Poe's life and the works when he wrote them searching for inevitable clues but the works are less confessional than thematic.

-- Anonymous, October 15, 2003

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