Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P = POE, Edgar Allan - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

He peers out from under shadowed eyes with no hint of mirth on his face.
"My name," he says, "is Edgar Allan Poe."

Edgar Allen Poe, 1848-PD*

P = Poe, Edgar Allan, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ

He was born Edgar Poe in Boston on January 19, 1809, the second child of two actors.His grandfather had emigrated from Cavan, Ireland in.1750. Edgar had two siblings, an elder brother and a younger sister. Edgar may have been named after a character in the Shakespeare play, King Lear, that the parents were performing in 1809. Edgar's life changed when his father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from TB (tuberculosis). Poe was taken into the home of John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant  who served as his foster family and added Allan to his name. He was never formally adopted into the family, but he used the name Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe's writing reflects his literary theories, which he presented in hi critiques and in essays such as The Poetic Principle. He disliked didacticism and allegory*, though he believed that meaning in literature should be an 'undercurrent beneath the surface'. 

Poe also write satires, humour tales and hoaxes, a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to appear as truth. He was primarily known as a literary critic. He was called 'the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works in America'. His caustic reviews were often directed at Boston's acclaimed poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Poe's fiction made him one of the first American authors of the 19th century to become more popular in Europe than in the US. He was particularly respected in France, due in part to early translations by Charles Baudelaire.  Poe's early detective fiction featuring C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, "Each of Poe's detective stories is a root from which a whole literature has developed." Poe breathed life into the detective story. The 'Mystery Writers of America' named their awards the 'Edgars'. Some of his work also influenced science fiction, in particular Jules Verne, who wrote a sequal to Poe's novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. H. G. Wells, another science fiction author, said the novel indicated what an intelligent mind could imagine about the south polar region in Poe's time.

The historical Edgar Allan Poe has appeared as a fictionalized character, often representing the 'mad genius' type and exploiting Poe's personal struggles. This may have occurred because Poe wasn't well understood or his elusiveness encourages fictional depictions of his abilities. In other words, he stirred the imaginations of other writers.

On October 3, 1849, Poe was found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, 'in great distress and in need of immediate assistance', according to the man who found him, He was taken to a hospital, Washington Medical College where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849 at 5 am. Poe never was coherent enough to explain his dire condition, nor how he came to be wearing clothes that were not his own.

Newspapers reported Poe's death as a 'congestion of the brain' or 'cerebral inflammation' which at the time were common euphemisms for death from disreputable causes such as alcoholism.  The actual cause remains a mystery. Speculation has included: delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera, or rabies.  Almost anything that could be fabricated was. Fitting then, perhaps, that a mystery and horror writer's death should be mysterious as well. . .There is also speculation on exactly where Poe's remains are buried.

* Didacticism is a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. Allegory is the use of literary devices or as rhetorical devices that convey hidden meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, and/or events.

One of my favourite stories when I first began reading Poe, was The Tell-Tale Heart, a short story by Poe first published in 1843. It is told by an unnamed narrator who tries to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed. . . and as he talks, he hears the noises of the beating heart. . . I also liked The Masque of the Red Death and the poem, Annabel Lee.

Edgar Allan Poe, c. 1849, Credit*-PD

Are you a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's writing? Do you have a favourite or a story that made an impact on you when you first read it?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!


A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-z-challenge-sign-up-list-2016.html A to Z Blog List


Wiki on Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe, Daguerreotype c.1849
This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.  You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.