Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Essay


¶ … Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James Fennimore Cooper, Mary Rowlandson, Walt Whitman) describe writing style, a discussion literary work. Edgar Allan Poe: Poe's amoral universe

The American poet and short story author Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most famous mystery and horror writers of the 19th century. Contrary to many of his contemporaries, Poe is remembered as a virtuoso prose stylist and a student of human psychology. Poe rejected the obvious symbolism and didacticism exhibited by many of his contemporaries such as Melville and Hawthorne [Thesis]. Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to professional actors but Poe was orphaned when he was three. Poe moved to the South, where he was fostered by John and Frances Allan ("Edgar Allan Poe," Academy of American Poets, 2013). A Southern gothic sensibility would infuse all of Poe's later work. Poe excelled as a student, but was forced to drop out of the University of Virginia because of mounting unpaid gambling debts. In 1827, Poe returned to Boston and enlisted in the Army ("Edgar Allan Poe," Academy of American Poets, 2013). He published his first volumes of poetry soon afterward but only begins to gain success as...


"It was during these years that he established himself as a poet, a short-story writer, and an editor" and wrote many of his greatest works, including" The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Raven" ("Edgar Allan Poe," Academy of American Poets, 2013). Poe struggled throughout his life with depression and alcoholism, and his condition worsened after the death of his beloved cousin Virginia, whom he married when she was still a teenager and who was the inspiration for his poem "Annabel Lee." Poe died on October 3, 1849, from "acute congestion of the brain," which some speculate was caused by rabies ("Edgar Allan Poe," Academy of American Poets, 2013).
Poe's work encompasses many major achievements, including his contribution to the creation of the modern detective story in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" as well as poems like "The Raven." He is often praised as a prose stylist, a writer for whom the effect upon the reader, rather than a moral message, was most important. Poe has been characterized as the quintessential American Romantic: unlike Hawthorne and Melville, there is no obvious moral symbolism in his writings and there is an absence of didactic, moralistic prose in the vein of Harriet Beecher Stowe. "According to Poe, the supreme criterion for the literary performance is not truthfulness, moral or otherwise, but rather unity" (Shen 321). According to Dan Shen "Critics widely held that Poe's aestheticism covers prose fiction as well as poetry" although Shen believes that a close examination of Poe's relevant essays reveals that Poe is more moralistic than his takes might suggest on the surface (Shen 321). Shen argues that Poe had more moral 'intention' in his fiction than might be obvious on the surface, contrary to the idea that "Poe banished 'the didactic' from the proper sphere of art" and that there is "an apparent lack of interest in moral themes throughout Poe's work" (Shen 326). Shen argues that many of Poe's…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

"Edgar Allan Poe." Academy of American Poets. Poets.org. 9 Apr 2013.


Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Tell-Tale Heart." University of Virginia, 1848. [9 Apr 2013]

[9 Apr 2013] http://www.eapoe.org/pstudies/ps1970/p1973104.htm

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