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Edgar Allan Poe

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eamonn cairns

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe
Problems he possessed/encountered
Poe had a plethora of issues in his life, and for good reason. There were a number of horrible occurrences in his life that caused him severe psychological and emotional damage. He had financial problems, suffered from depression, was most likely an alcoholic, and some claim he suffered from opium and gambling addictions.
Early Life
Poe was born on the 19th of January, 1809. He was born in Boston to a pair of extremely poor traveling actors named Elizabeth and David Poe jr. He had two siblings, a younger sister named Rosaline, and an older brother named Henry. The father of Edgar left Elizabeth Poe when Edgar was very young, leaving the poor woman to care for the children by herself. To make matters worse, Elizabeth Poe died of Tuberculosis when Edgar was two. This made the three Poe children orphans, Henry went to live with grandparents, and the two younger ones were put into the foster system. Edgar was adopted by the Allan family and incorporated their surname into his full names, hence Edgar
Greater Successes and Well Known Works
Poe had a number of short stories and poems that today are recognized as some of the best in history. Unfortunately, when he was alive, most of his works didn't get the hype they deserved- so he never really made a significant profit. Some of his well known works consist of The Raven (1845), The Tell-Tale Heart (1843), Annabel Lee (1849), The Mask of Red Death (1842), The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1850), and Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1839).
The Masque of Red Death
Writing Career
Edgar Allan Poe decided to pursue his career as a writer when he left the army.
Poe in a paragraph
Edgar Allan Poe was a writer, poet, editor, and literary critic from the early 1800s. He is considered to be part of the american romantic movement and is distinguished by his gothic and awry writing style. He wrote a plethora of "classic" pieces of literature, including The Raven, and The Tell-Tale Heart.
The atmosphere of this story was mostly foreboding and unnerving. It's set in a place where everyone outside a castle is being killed by a disease- and it's a horror story.
The Allan's were well off, so Edgar grew up quite comfortably, attending good schools and whatnot. When he was six, Edgar's adopted father sent Edgar to attend school in England for five years.
Edgar as a young adult, 17, was sent to the University of Virginia. Some of the studies he excelled in were Latin and French. Unfortunately, he struggled for money, even though his adopted parents were very wealthy. He developed gambling and drinking problems and dropped out of university less than a year later.
The Army
With no money or job skills, Edgar moved to Boston to join the army. Edgar spent a couple years in the army, and was quite successful- getting promoted to sergeant major.
Writing Career
At this point Poe decided to move to New York and pursue his goal of becoming a writer. He worked for several magazines and newspapers and wrote several poems/short stories, some of which sold hundreds of thousands of copies i.e. The Gold Bug. He wrote several of his short stories in Philadelphia and he moved there for a while with his wife in 1838. Poe switched jobs frequently, always trying to find his "big break." Unfortunately, he never really reached a state of financial security.
His Family
Poe lived with his grandmother for segments of his life and took very kindly to her company- they were close. Her name was Mrs. Clemm and her granddaughter, Virginia Clemm, lived with her. Virginia was the cousin of Edgar and eventually they married. They married when Edgar was twenty-seven and Virginia thirteen. They had no children. They were very close and when Virginia died in 1847, Edgar collapsed from stress and grief.
Final Years
In June 1849 Poe left New York and in attempt to refrain from his alcohol addiction. He was also attempting to reignite a relationship he had with a girl when he was a boy. Her name was Sarah Royster Shelton. Things were looking up for Poe and he was scheduled to marry Sarah in October. Unfortunately, when Poe was going back to New York, he got on the wrong train and went to Baltimore instead. He stayed in Baltimore for a little while. On October third, not long before his wedding, Poe was found unconscious in a hall. Poe was brought to the hospital but died on the seventh of October. No one really knows how Poe died, but many think it was due to his alcoholism.
The majority of these problems were due to his financial problems which were completely unnecessary considering his adopted father was very wealthy.
First Editorial Job
When Poe first moved to New York, he barely had any money. A few of his poems were published but it wasn't enough. He would try sending stories to magazines, but he continuously got rejected. He left New York and moved to Richmond where he finally got his job as an editor. The newspaper was called the Southern Literary Messenger and he got the job after he won a contest for a story he wrote called The Manuscript Found in a Bottle. Poe did a swell job at the paper, and in his time there, the circulation and production of the paper went from 500 to 3500 copies. After a year at the paper, Poe decided to leave- complaining that the pay was not enough.
Short Stories in Philie
In 1837, after he left The Southern Literary Messenger, Poe moved to New York for a while- where he wrote his famous story The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Unfortunately, the financial benefits weren't enough to support Poe, so in 1838 he moved to Philadelphia- seeking fortune. In Philadelphia he wrote a number of short stories, such as Ligeia and The Haunted Palace. Poe produced a volume of short story called Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque the following year.
Graham's Magazine
Sometime in 1840, Poe took up the editorial post of a magazine called Graham's Magazine. While he was the editor he wrote a short story called The Murders in the Rue Morgue. He would ask readers of the magazine to send in cryptograms and he would solve them. He did solid work for Graham's Magazine, boosting circulation from 5000 copies to 35 000. He left in 1842 because he wanted to start his own magazine.
The Broadway Journal
The magazine Poe owned, "The Stylist," failed to attract consumers so Poe abandoned that effort. At this time he was in New York and he sent a poem he wrote into a newspaper to be published. This poem was called th Raven and was hugely successful. So many loved this piece and Poe was awarded with an editorial job offer at a magazine called The Broadway Journal. Unfortunately Poe wasn't aware that this particular magazine was already in financial trouble and a year later The Broadway Journal was no more.
"And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand."
I'll be analyzing Poe's literary work, The Masque of Red Death. It is set in a kingdom in which everyone is dying from a plague. A plague in which you die from bleeding out through your pores.
In this kingdom, the prince decides to gather the thousand or so people who aren't infected and bring them up to the top of his tower to party with him for the rest of their lives. This is a horror story so obviously things become bloody awful (ba-dum tssss). Basically an infected person or a figure who is the Red Death itself (basically death as a character) sneaks into the tower and infects all of the guests- killing them all.
literary devices in story
Mrs. Clemm
Virginia Clemm
Poe Immortalized
Edgar Allan Poe was a remarkable man with an immense talent for the literary arts.
There are quite a few examples of allusion in this work. Here are two examples:
The narrator references the biblical figure Herod.
"... but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod..."
The narrator also references a romantic drama called Hernani, written by Victor Hugo.
"There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm -- much of what has been since seen in "Hernani.""
In this story, there is plenty of imagery- almost too much. The descriptive language painted vivid pictures in my mind of the setting, the characters and in particular the Red Death.
In the first paragraph in particular, the Red Death is described with a combination of gruesome diction and syntax.
"THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal -- the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour."
The use of terms like "profuse bleeding" and "blood was its Avatar" highlight how horrific the massacre of the Red Death truly was.
It isn't even a question whether or not horrible events are going to transpire, it's a question of when!
"...while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation."
That particular passage made the atmosphere go awry in the way everyone fell deadly silent and pale at the sound of the clock.
In this story, the trope personification can be found. It appears seldom- but appears nonetheless.
One example:
In this passage, the narrator takes the dreams of people (a non-human thing) and describes them enacting a human action- standing still (practically frozen). That is a perfect example of personification.
people standing still
-paragraph seven, line twelve and thirteen
"But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood -- and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.
This event creates quite the unsettling environment in the way that this "mummer" has dressed up like a person who has the red death when everyone at the party is hiding from the Red Death.
-Poe, paragraph nine
-Poe, paragraph five
His legend will live forever and there are several examples of that. The famous album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has Poe's picture in it. He is also mentioned in a Beatles song, I Am the Walrus.
Aside from that, he will forever be remembered for his poem The Raven, it is studied and analyzed in schools all over the world- they also named a football team after it (The Baltimore Ravens)
Works Cited
He enrolled in the prestigious army academy West Point but was dismissed after he purposely missed classes and evaded his duties. He wanted to be dismissed, getting kicked out of the army was a way to "get back" at John Allan for not sending him any money.
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