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Caroline Murray

on 20 November 2014

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Transcript of Poe

Poe-try and Criticism
All About Edgar Allan Poe
Poe's Family
January 19, 1809
Mother died of tuberculosis
Brother died of tuberculosis
Sent to the Allan's
Life with the Allan's
John Allan
Frances Allan
Misses Dubourg
Manor House School
Edgar Allan

The Panic of 1837
Historical Context:

A Nation in fear
The 2nd cholera pandemic
in America (1832-1834)
The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis that kicked off a major recession that lasted until the 1840's.
Because of low wages and profits and the rise of unemployment, pessimism took over the country.
How does this affect Poe?
Many of Poe's work can be described as "gloomy", "bleak", and "dreary". We can assume that the nationwide pessimism caused by the Panic of 1837 contributed to this tone. It can also be associated with Poe's struggle maintaining work during this time.
From Love to Hate to Love Again
The 2nd cholera pandemic led to an outbreak of cholera in Detroit and New York.
Similar to the Ebola of today, this outbreak caused a great panic and paranoia in the country.
How does this affect Poe?
Similar to the financial crisis, this outbreak put American people into a negative attitude. Being constantly exposed to such pessimism impacts a person's outlook on life without their control.
Short Stories
Poe's Writing Style
Poe wrote around 68 short stories in total
His most famous include:
The Masque of the Red Death
The Tell Tale Heart
The Cask of Amontillado
The Masque of The Red Death
A story about a man named Prince Prospero trying to avoid a plague, "The Red Death." He does this by secluding himself and his friends.
“And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held
illimitable dominion
over all”.
Poe's First Love
University of Virginia
Poe in the Army
Sullivan's Island
Mrs. Allan dies
The Tell-Tale Heart
Poe's Commandments
1. A work must create a unity of effect on the reader to be considered successful.
In this haunting story, a man murders an elderly man beacuse he has a fear of the man's creepy eye. The body is buried under the floor boards of the murderer's house. The murderer's sanity eventually fades to the point where he hallucinates that he can hear the dead man's heart beating beneath the floor.
2. The production of this single effect should be the result of rational deliberation on the author's part.
The Cask of Amontillado

Poe's most famous piece of work

In this psychological piece, a young man is emotionally tormented by a raven’s repetition of “Nevermore” in the answer to his question about the probability of an afterlife with his deceased lover.

An example of two themes that Poe uses frequently through his work, love and death.
"The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge."
One of Poe's first short stories,
William Wilson,
is a reflection of his days at the Manor House School. In the story Poe describes not only the school, but the headmaster as well.
Poe published three collections of his tales and one novel
Estranged Forever
West Point
Drinking problems
Court martialed
Allan's re-marriage
The will
"My earliest recollections of a school-life are connected with a large, rambling, cottage-built, and somewhat decayed building in a misty-looking village of England, where were a vast number of gigantic and gnarled trees, and where all the houses were excessively ancient and inordinately tall."
William Wilson
Many of his poems were meant to be read aloud to let the reader hear the combination of sound and rhyme to create a musical quality
Surreal, mystic vision
“Tamerlane” and “Al Aaraaf"
Portrays a dream world
Loss of ideal beauty and the difficulty in regaining it
"To Helen,” “Lenore,” and “The Raven"
Sickly reasoning
Bizarre gaiety of suffering

Poe's stories reflect his fascination with life and death experiences, as well as human psychology.
Poe -- Father of the Detective Story
Poe's first detective story was called
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
. This novel acted as a model for all later appearing mystery stories.
Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) once said that Edgar Allan Poe's stories were "a model for all time."
Life with the Clemms
Baltimore Saturday Visitor
John Pendelton Kennedy
The Southern Literary Messenger
In the Baltimore Saturday Visitor, there was a literature contest. Poe won it with his short story: "Manuscript found in a bottle." This was the first time he truly got paid for publishing.
Despair and Melancholy
Demonic and Grotesque
Lord Byron and John Keats
I have no desire to live and will not. But let my duty be done. I love, you know I love Virginia passionately devotedly. I cannot express in words the fervent devotion I feel towards my dear little cousin — my own darling. But what can [I] say. Oh think for me for I am incapable of thinking. All [my] thoughts are occupied with the supposition that both you & she will prefer to go with N. Poe; I do sincerely believe that your comforts will for the present be secured — I cannot speak as regards your peace — your happiness. You have both tender hearts — and you will always have the reflection that my agony is more than I can bear — that you have driven me to the grave — for love like mine can never be gotten over. It is useless to disguise the truth that when Virginia goes with N. P. that I shall never behold her again — that is absolutely sure. Pity me, my dear Aunty, pity me. I have no one now to fly to — I am among strangers, and my wretchedness is more than I can bear. It is useless to expect advice from me — what can I say? Can I, in honour & in truth say — Virginia! do not go! — do not go where you can be comfortable & perhaps happy — and on the other hand can I calmly resign my — life itself. If she had truly loved me would she not have rejected the offer with scorn? Oh God have mercy on me! If she goes with N. P. what are you to do, my own Aunty?

Adieu my dear Aunty. I cannot advise you. Ask Virginia. Leave it to her. Let me have, under her own hand, a letter, bidding me good bye — forever — and I may die — my heart will break — but I will say no more.

E A P.

Kiss her for me — a million times

For Virginia,

My love, my own sweetest Sissy, my darling little wifey, think well before you break the heart of your cousin Eddy.
Editor of the
December 1835
May 16, 1836
New York
Burton's Gentleman's Magazine
Time for Short Stories
The Penn Magazine
The Stylus
aily bedight,
allant knight,
ine and in
Had journeyed long,

inging a
earch of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.
And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he,
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’
Short Stories
Byronic Heroes
"You say — “Can you hint to me what was the terrible evil which caused the irregularities so profoundly lamented?” Yes; I can do more than hint. This “evil” was the greatest which can befall a man. Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in singing. Her life was despaired of...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. During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I drank, God only knows how often or how much. As a matter of course, my enemies referred the insanity to the drink rather than the drink to the insanity. I had indeed, nearly abandoned all hope of a permanent cure when I found one in the death of my wife...In the death of what was my life, then, I receive a new but — oh God! how melancholy an existence."
The word "shadow" is used in each of the four stanzas, however it is used differently each time.
1st stanza- used as a literal shadow, or blocking of the sun
2nd stanza- used as a way of showing despair or gloomy misery
"Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem."
-Edgar Allan Poe
3rd stanza- used as a synonym for ghost
4th stanza- "The Valley of the Shadow of Death"
This poem was written in 1849, during the great California Gold Rush.
This poem serves as Poe's reaction to this event. He predicted those who went to California would leave broke.
Graham's Gentleman Magazine
Love of Virginia
Reverend Rufus Wilmot Griswold
January 31, 1843
Thomas Cottrell Clarke
Dollar Newspaper
James Russell Lowell
Columbia Spy
The Longfellow War
The Broadway Journal
But he grew
This knight
so bold
o'er his heart

ell as he

No spot of ground

ike Eldorado.
(more forced)
Poe-tic Sound Devices
He wrote The Conqueror Worm during his wife’s slow progression toward death; the poem graphically describes the decay of humankind when maggots and worms feast on the dead.
His beautiful poem, ‘Annabel Lee’ was written with Virginia in mind and remains one of the saddest and most poignant laments ever written.
At this time, Virginia’s sickness and slow death also influenced the works The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum, two of his most graphic horror tales.
The Raven’s main theme is sorrowful never-ending remembrances, obviously written as a result of his perpetual reflection of the three deaths he had already had to deal with in his young life.
Back to New York
This line suggests that he has spent his whole, or at least the majority of his life searching

The second time the word "shadow" is used. However this time it has a nearly opposite meaning. It is now used to portray gloom, despair, or misery- an overall dark feeling compared to the first stanza.
Working for money from anyone
Mentally ill
Mrs. Nancy Locke Heywood Richmond
Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman
January 30, 1847
Constant Sorrow
By the age of 13, Poe had compiled enough poetry to publish a book although Allan advised him not to do so.
First published poetry was a collection that went unnoticed by readers and reviewers.
As a child, he wrote poetic verses on the back of his father’s papers.
Although he was not first noticed by the public for his poems, they were his first love.
There is not exact number of poems that Poe has written but people have claimed anywhere between 69 to 373.
Back to Philadelphia
Sarah Elmira Royster
Richmond to Baltimore
October 7, 1849
Adorned or bedecked
With merriment; joyfully
brave, spirited, noble-minded, or chivalrous
a man, usually of noble birth, who after an apprenticeship as page and squire was raised to honorable military rank and bound to chivalrous conduct
Poe wrote
The Conqueror Worm
during his wife Virginia's slow progression toward death; the poem graphically describes the decay of humankind when maggots and worms feast on the dead.
At this time, Virginia’s sickness and slow death also influenced the works
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Pit and the Pendulum
, two of his most graphic horror tales.
His beautiful poem, ‘Annabel Lee’ was written with Virginia in mind and remains one of the saddest and most poignant laments ever written.
Used first person narrative to probe psyche
The Raven’s main theme is sorrowful never-ending remembrances, obviously written as a result of his perpetual reflection of the three deaths he had already had to deal with in his young life.
But alas! my Magazine scheme has exploded — or, at least, I have been deprived, through the imbecility, or rather through the idiocy of my partner, of all means of prosecuting it for the present.
A dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.
The knight is very light-hearted and young as is shown in:
Singing a song
Journeyed long
1590s, from Spanish El Dorado "the golden one," name given 16c. to country or city believed to lie in the heart of the Amazon jungle, from past participle of dorar "to gild," from Latin deaurare
Iambic dimeter or trimeter to nothing
Alliterations go from happy to sad
Represents Poe
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."

"What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking 'Nevermore.'"
the knight has come across another man in search of Eldorado who is a shadow of his old self because of the toll his search for Eldorado has taken on his life
The knight meeting this pilgrim's shadow could mean ...
the knight is dead and talking to a ghost

A person who journeys to a sacred place
A person who travels on long journeys.
Pilgrims are not just the group of English Puritans fleeing religious persecution who sailed in the Mayflower!
According to the oxford dictionary a pilgrim is:
If we are referring to a shadow of a living man then this would be a metonymy.
At this point the knight has reached old age and is near his end (if not actually at his end), but still is unable to find Eldorado.
He is not able to continue on because the strength he once had has deteriorated.
Shows us a large contrast between the beginning of this poem where he was described as a "gallant knight".
Even though he has not found what he is looking for, he continues his search. This displays the knight's "bold" character, as he is not quick to give up
This line shows his anguish as the man throws himself to the ground in despair as he realizes the hopelessness of his lifelong search.
2nd stanza's tone is a 180 degree turn from that of the 1st stanza.
general sense of loss

He has had no luck on his search, a search he has been on for
Represents just how much this hopelessness has consumed him. This can be compared to depression
Aging. Uh-oh.
Main Ideas
-found between "shadow" and "Eldorado", two words that appear in each stanza. Could also be seen as between fantasy and reality.
-starts cheerful and song-like, only to darken into hopelessness as the poem goes on
-"a quest for something unreal"

Historical background
Around 80,000 people in 1849 flocked to California in search of wealth.
Poe died later in 1849, not knowing that his prediction of the gold rush was hauntingly accurate.
Eldorado is the name of the county where gold was discovered in California.
The Story:
Relating to life:
The Story:
Relating to life:
Mental breakdown
The Story:
The narrator, Montresor, gets revenge on the man who has wronged him, Fortunado. He does this by luring Fortunado into catacombs with the false promise of a rare wine. Montresor then chains Fortunado to the wall and seals him in.
Relating to Life:
“’Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!’”
Horace Walpole, the founder of Gothic literature
The Mountains of the Moon
Qualities of Poe’s Poems
Poe the Critic
Within a year of working at the Messenger, Poe made it the most popular magazine in the south with his sensational stories as well as his scathing book reviews.
Poe developed a reputation as a fearless critic who attacked an author’s work and insulted the author along with the northern literary establishment.
Poe targeted some of the most famous writers in the country. One of his victims was Rufus Griswold.
Days after Poe’s death, his literary rival Rufus Griswold wrote a libelous obituary in an attempt at revenge for some of the offensive things Poe had written about him.
Griswold followed the obituary with a memoir in which he portrayed Poe as a drunken, womanizing madman with no morals and no friends.
Or, This could just illustrate that the shadow is falling over the knight's heart.
The Mountains of the Moon
An ancient term that refers to the legendary mountain range that was thought by Greek geographers to be the source of the Nile River in Africa.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
-Psalm 23:4
The use of "boldly" in this juxtaposed way connects the the final stanza back to the second stanza when the knight was still young and referred to as "so bold."
A Quest for Something Unreal
The theme of the poem is revealed in the final stanza with all of the allusions to myths and death.
Eldorado is therefore finally suggested to be a mythical place.
Full transcript