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Edgar Allan Poe & Dark Romanticism
Transcript of Edgar Allan Poe & Dark Romanticism
Early Life and Family
1820 - Poe moved back to Virginia with the Allan Family.
1826 - Poe entered the University of Virginia to study languages.
This is when he began to take an interest in writing.
During this time Poe became estranged from his father due to gambling debts.
1827 - Poe dropped out of school and became a newspaper writer.
adopted by John Allan (tobacco busniess)
Born January 19, 1809 (Boston)
Poe became an orphan at age three.
Poe has stated that "The want of parental affection has been the heaviest of my trials."
Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was a talented actress from an English theatrical family.
Being associated with the theater was just a level up from being associated with prostitution.
Poe's father, David Poe Jr., was an actor of Irish descent. He was neither talented nor responsible. He was a heavy drinker and deserted Poe and his mother when Poe was two.
After separating from David Poe, Elizabeth died of tuberculosis in Richmond in 1811.
Elizabeth's death was the only time Poe felt his mother was beautiful.
Poe was then (not legally) adopted by wealthy Scottish tobacco exporter John Allan.
It was John Allan from whom Poe took his middle name.
Poe always struggled with the lack of a father figure and the open disappointment that his foster father felt.
Short Stories and Poems
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
"The Pit and Pendulum"
"The Masque of the Red Death"
"The Cask of Amontillado"
"The Tell-Tale Heart"
1827 - Poe was unable to support himself and enlisted in the U.S. Army using the name "Edgar A. Perry." He claimed to be 22 when he was only 18 years old.
During this time he wrote his first book, a collection of poems titled "Tamerlane and Other Poems."
Literary Styles and Themes:
Poe's best fiction works are influential to Gothic literature, a genre that has recurring themes that deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning.
Gothic Fiction creates a foreboding atmosphere through horrifying images.
His works are considered part of the Dark Romantic period.
At age 27, Poe fell in love with and married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm.
In 1842, Virginia began to bleed from the mouth. She had contracted tuberculosis, just like Poe's mother had.
Poe stated, "Each time I felt all the agonies of her death—and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly & clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive—nervous in a very unusual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
Virginia died on January 30, 1847
Realizing that he did not have an image of his wife when she died, Poe called in a painter to paint an image of her using her corpse.
On October 3rd, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, "in great distress, and...in need of immediate assistance," according to a man who found him, Joseph W. Walker.
There are many theories of Poe's death. Some include: rabies, beaten and robbed, brain lesions, infectious disease, consumed too much alcohol and forced to vote, epilepsy, etc.
Taken to a hospital, Poe died four days later and was buried in a Baltimore cemetery next to his wife.
Wanted to marry Sarah Elmira Royster before going to the university. Since he had financial problems, he was not able to support Sarah and did not marry her.
While he was in Richmond, Virginia paying off debts he found out that Sarah had been engaged while overseas.
"Edgar Allen Poe." Historique.net: Litterature. Web. 05 Oct. 2010. <http://litterature.historique.net/poe/>.
Photograph. 19th-century American Women. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://b-womeninamericanhistory19.blogspot.com/2009/10/edgar-allan-poe-1809-1849-his-13-year.html>.
Photograph. Kevin Alfred Strom Art Gallery. Kevin Alfred Strom. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://www.kevinalfredstrom.com/art/v/portraits/Edgar+Allan+Poe+02.jpg.html>.
Photograph. Poets' Graves. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/poe.htm>.
Photograph. Sarah Helen Whitman. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Helen_Whitman>.
Photograph. The US50. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://www.theus50.com/outlinemaps-state.php>.
Photograph. The Vikings. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://www.viking.no/e/maps/ekart-england.htm>.
Photograph. Welcome to Virginia. Web. 06 Oct. 2010. <http://www.virginia.org/fall/FallSubPage.asp?AttrID=58456>.
"Poe's Life." Edgar Allan Poe Museum. Web. 05 Oct. 2010. <http://www.poemuseum.org/life.php>.
Since 1839 Poe published numerous articles, stories, and reviews enhancing his reputation as a critic. He worked as an assistant editor and editor in New York.
In 1845 his poem "The Raven" appeared in the "Evening Mirror" and became a popular sensation. It made Poe a household name almost instantly!
Poe's Literary Theory
Strongly disliked allegory/didacticism (something that teaches a lesson.)
Poe believed that "Works with obvious meanings cease to be art."
He believed the quality of the work should be brief and focus on one specific effect.
He strictly followed this theory in his writing of the "The Raven."
Before Poe died, "The Raven" gained popularity in 1845, but it did not bring him any wealth.
Poe died poor, but his legacy would pave the way for Gothic literature, ghost stories, and detective stories.
Romanticism is a movement against rationalism.
Romantics believe that emotions are superior to reason or logic, poetry is superior to science, and the natural world is where you can discover truth.
They value individualism, connection to nature, and intuition.
This is a group of writers during the 1800s.
Dark Romanticism started in Europe with the Gothic novel (Frankenstein is a great example.)
Humanity is innately good
Humanity is innately evil
Tenets of Dark Romanticism
People are fallible.
Sin and evil exist within all of us.
We are lead to follow our darkest impulses.
Life is grim and we are all going to die.
People often lean toward the odd, weird, or unsettling.
The world around us is strange and unpredictable (focus on supernatural).
Gothic Fiction focused on the human potential for evil and sin.
Revival of Gothic (medieval) architecture - castles, abbeys, convents, monasteries...anything in ruins
Purpose: evoke terror and fear in the reader
Featured demons, the devil, the supernatural, nightmares, and the latent evil of one's soul.
Grasps beauty through dark and mysterious themes.
Answers the question: What horrors would man commit if given the chance?
Major Dark Romantic Authors
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
And, of course...
Edgar Allan Poe - considered the master of the Gothic tale