Edgar Allen Poe

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I have a question I have to write a essay on How Edgar Allan Poe's life effected his literature but I what I really need to know is I have to get examples from his stories like take a verse from the raven or lenore and etc and tell what part of his life refelected this example. Thanks

-- Anonymous, November 23, 2003


That deceptively simple thesis again! Poe is not writing autobiographical poetry though most of his poems have stories and characters as do his tales. No poet however is so relentless in personal passionate themes drawn from his experience. Therefore, though the temptation is obvious resist the fallacy of equivalency between art(in any of its aspects) and life. Yeats was asked about the women he wrote about(more direct than Poe) and he stated they were all subservient to the work of art and nothing should he read into the "details". Art for art's sake, the stand alone perfection of a work of art.

Then you can get into his life and see where his interests and themes come from, how certain women became models for his art. Mrs. jane Stanard, for example, was a boyhood mentor encouraging him in his youthful vocation for writing. Mourning her early death inspired his poem "To Helen" where that real woman becomes a symbol with a very few details, no voice and no action. Women after this point become symbols of light, beacons like Mrs. Stanard waiting in the lit window for Edgar's visit. Lenore, Helen, Eleonora, Ellinore all have that Greek root of "light", and a unity in sound and symbol. Poe's high poems usually have little direct connection to living women. When he does address a women in friendship or courtship(the second "To Helen") the poem is more intimate and subservient to the real conversation. The difference might be like Dante's Beatrice and his wife. Lyrical male poets had been writing to women thus for centuries.

The sickness and death of Virginia Poe. While she was no Elizabeth barret, Poe was bonded to his young wife. A symbol of rescue from despair("Eulalie") at the beginning, a source of despair and worry when she sickened("The Raven") and a traumatic upheaval when she died ("Ulalume"). His one verse epitaph written at the funeral "Deep in earth" staes the the nature of his grieving and his love, very intensely focussed on himself like the young boy not entirely healed by the grieving process when his mother Elizabeth Poe passed away from tuberculosis.

As far as lines and examples, some knowledge of chronology of the works and Poe's life will guide you from making particular mistakes.

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

Well, P.E.Murphy has done it once again. Nothing left for us to do.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2003

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