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Poe

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Jennifer Kressel

on 28 April 2017

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Transcript of Poe

1.It is said that Edgar Allan Poe was both blessed and cursed by his genius. How could his genius be both a blessing and a curse?


"Had Poe possessed talent instead of genius, he could have been a moneymaking author," and written many more great poems than he has, but this genius also enables him to possess that talent.

Blessing - good stories/poems/ people loved his work, creative.

Curse - Determined to sink his own ship, critical, died young (age 40), drank himself ugly and to death, lost money, did not make money on his work ($14 on "The Raven").


3.Edgar Allan Poe loved and respected women. He spent most of his time in their company, and sought solace and peace in their companionship. How did his experiences with women influence his writing?

Women in Poe's life had always embodied angelic figures. His mother had died before he was even 3, and although he didn't know her well, he felt her presence throughout his life. He believed that women should be respected, and he loved many women. His most prevalent love was his cousin Virginia, who often embodied the womanly figures in Poe's poetry. The death of his loved ones led him to envision tuberculosis as the "red death," which he later on used in his poetry. The death of Virginia was shown in "The Raven", using Lenore as the name for Virginia. He dreamt of seeing her in "Annabel Lee".

4. Edgar Allan Poe's stepfather disinherited him and cut him out of his life. How did Poe's bitterness toward his stepfather influence his life?

Poe's foster father, John Allan, was a rough tobacco merchant, which didn't mix well with Poe's poetic and sensitive personality. He was having affairs with other women while his wife was dying of tuberculosis. After his stepfather sent him to the University of Virginia, Poe went into deep financial trouble and his stepfather refused to support him. This caused Poe to gamble away all of his money and go into deep debt, which led him to enroll in the army. Even to his death, John Allan threatened Poe and only left money to his illegitimate children.

Caused Poe to struggle and become angry and dark. Combative personality - because of John Allan. Orphaned by 2 fathers. He had to break furniture to stay warm since John Allan cut him out of his will. Joined the Army and stopped going to school.

6. How are Poe's stories rooted in the grim reality of his own life?

The many deaths in Poe's life were evident in his poems. They often reference premature death and the yearning for a connection with the afterlife.
Died of Tuberculosis - Eliza (mom), Francis Allan, Virginia, Brother Henry

2 fathers abandoned him (anger and
hatred towards men)

First crush (Jane Stannard) -
died of brain cancer

Lots of death, abandonment, struggling, suffering in his life.
7. Poe is considered the "father of the detective story." Why is this so?

Purloined Letter, Murders in the
Rue Morgue

There was no one else writing mysteries at this time. It is clear that Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) never met, given the fact that Doyle was born May 22, 1859, 10 years after Poe died on Oct 7 1849). Poe needs order and logic in life "Reasoning."

8.Tuberculosis, which we rarely hear of today, killed Poe's mother, stepmother and wife. Why was this disease so devastating in Poe's era, and why is the threat today so minimal?


Poe's harsh ties to tuberculosis was extremely evident in his era because people didn't know the origin of the infection, how to cure it, or even any basic knowledge of how it works. Of course, now tuberculosis is a small threat due to the modern medicine and technology in our times. We have discovered its origin and have even developed a vaccine. Our advanced measures allow doctors to test for tuberculosis, enabling it to be stopped in its tracks. In Poe's era - No cure, it killed everyone SLOWLY.
9.What role does alcohol play in Poe's downfall and descent?

It probably killed him. He would disappear - often would show up places drunk. No one knows how he died - Mysterious death attributed to a kidnapping, alcohol-poisoning, brain congestion, epilepsy, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, mercury poisoning, and carbon monoxide. When he drank - he over-drank and was booed off the stage. He applied for a job while intoxicated. So he let drinking affect his talent.
10. Edgar Allan Poe died over a century ago in poverty and despair. Yet, today his stories and poems are more popular than ever. Why is his work so enduring?

Without Poe we would not have horror movies/books. Many authors were influenced by him and his desire to cross boundaries. "He constructs a world of uncertainty, world which yearns for an afterlife confronted by violence and cruelty." Poe's fame comes from that fact that so many are inspired by him. His works span the range of human emotions — joy, passion, hope, rage, despair and, of course, fear. Ironically, in death Poe has magnificently achieved what evaded him during his lifetime — commercial success. One of Poe’s professional and personal rivals Rufus Griswold wrote a lengthy obituary for his enemy that was so libelous Griswold signed it with a pseudonym. The article portrayed Poe as a mad, drunken, womanizing opium addict who based his darkest tales on personal experience. This helped make Poe famous.

5. Most of the hardship's of Edgar Allan Poe's life were his of his own making. How was Poe his own worst enemy?

Poe was haunted by his past as an orphan and a life alone. This past may have explained Poe's writings about demons and the afterlife but it also led Poe to alcohol abuse, madness, and self-destruction, which was highlighted by his interview with U.S. President John Tyler for a government job that he talked himself out of by suggesting magazine subscriptions. Self critical, gambled, over-drank, took drugs, headstrong, arrogant, ruthless and brutal critic, paranoid (about people out to get him or death in general), and sensitive.
Aspects of Poe's Life that Influenced His Writing
Daddy Issues
Abandoned by 2 fathers
May have had hard feelings towards "men" due to the stepfather's cruelty.
Foster father left him out of the will when he died.
Poor his entire life because of the foster father. Poe had to break up furniture to stay warm, gambled to make ends meet.
Had to drop out of school and join the Army because of his foster father.
Family/Love Issues
Watched many family members die
T.B./Consumption killed mother, foster mother, wife, and his brother
Many women he loved died
First crush died of Brain Cancer - Jane Stannard
His first fiancee became engaged to someone else when Poe went away to school.
Constantly uprooted and lacked stability of family
Moved away from siblings when his mother died/separate houses
Moved from house to house and almost lost Virginia when Aunt Maria wanted to move Virginia to another family member's home. Married her to keep her with him. Did not consummate the relationship. Respected her age.
Questions about the After-Life (What happens when you die?)
Sees Heaven and Hell as places that exist
In stories, the afterlife can be seen as ghosts, spirits, undead, etc.
Poe saw women as beautiful, angelic creatures that should be respected
Mental Issues
Depression
Alcoholism and drug use
Fear of being buried alive
Sensitive man, but had a combative personality. However, not a physical fighter.
Critical of himself, self sabotaging, headstrong, overly confident, arrogant, paranoid.
Father of the detective story - wanted order and logic in his world
Need to prove himself as sane/Sanity is questionable
Reports of odd behavior - being followed, hallucinations, confusion, slurred speech, vertigo, anxiety, loss of breath, nervous breakdown, disguising himself, loss of reality
Personality and Interests

Treated women with love and respect
Animal lover
Creative Artist
Natural Athlete


References to Afterlife
Poe Essay

Type - share to jkressel@ccsd146.org
Include quotes or paraphrased references to Poe's life and works
Correct capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
No in-text citations or "Works Cited". Clearly mention the story of poem being referenced
Header (Last name and page number)
Double Spaced - Times New Roman 12



2. One of the most famous horror writers of the twentieth century is Stephen King. How would you compare Stephen King with Edgar Allan Poe? If Stephen King lived during Poe's era, would he be as successful as he is?

Stephen King was influenced by E.A. Poe. We would not have the great writing from King if not for Poe. (VARY)

Quote from Stephen King: "The best thing that you can do for the readers in this field is to terrify them. It is the sort of effect that Edgar Allan Poe gets in his story, 'The Telltale Heart', when he starts talking about a quick beating sound, like a watch. There is something about that that appeals to the mind more than anything else. The fact that this fellow is hearing the heart, the dismembered heart under the floorboard beating and beating, and the police are there and nobody can hear it but him. It goes on and on and it gets louder and louder. That's terror!"
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