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Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Melodramatic Life <ul><li>Determining the facts of Poe’s life has proved difficult, as lurid legend became entwined with f...
Early Life <ul><li>Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809, his parents’ second child. </li></ul><ul><li>His father des...
College and West Point <ul><li>Poe spent most of 1826 at the University of West Virginia, doing well in his studies, but r...
Poe’s Death <ul><li>During the last two years of his life, Poe was seriously ill--perhaps with a brain lesion--and drinkin...
Poe worked in a variety of genres (1827-1849) <ul><li>Criticism--he gained a national reputation as a virulently sarcastic...
Characteristics of Poe’s detective stories <ul><li>Poe places veiled clues before the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>The writer...
Poe and the Gothic <ul><li>Poe did not want to write gothic stories; he started his career spoofing the Gothic. </li></ul>...
Elements of Gothic in Poe’s Fiction <ul><li>Grim setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Landscapes are often reflections of charact...
Other elements of the Gothic <ul><li>Hidden evil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unspeakable, mysterious crimes, including incest an...
An element of Poe’s style <ul><li>Poe uses vocabulary to create setting, for rhetorical effect, rather than for informatio...
Hawthorne/Poe <ul><li>Hawthorne described the conflict between the intellect and heart. </li></ul><ul><li>Poe described th...
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Edgar Allan Poe

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Transcript of "Edgar Allan Poe"

  1. 1. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
  2. 2. Melodramatic Life <ul><li>Determining the facts of Poe’s life has proved difficult, as lurid legend became entwined with fact even before he died. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of these legends were spread by Poe himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Two days after Poe’s death, his literary executor began a smear campaign, rewriting Poe’s correspondence so as to alienate many of his friends. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Early Life <ul><li>Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809, his parents’ second child. </li></ul><ul><li>His father deserted the family a year later. </li></ul><ul><li>In December 1811, his mother died at twenty-four, and her husband disappeared completely. </li></ul><ul><li>Poe was taken in by John Allan, a successful and stable Richmond merchant. </li></ul>
  4. 4. College and West Point <ul><li>Poe spent most of 1826 at the University of West Virginia, doing well in his studies, but running up gambling debts and drinking. </li></ul><ul><li>He was admitted at West Point in 1830, but got himself expelled by missing classes and roll calls. </li></ul><ul><li>By 1831, Poe had already published three versions of his early poetry. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Poe’s Death <ul><li>During the last two years of his life, Poe was seriously ill--perhaps with a brain lesion--and drinking steadily. </li></ul><ul><li>On Election Day, October 3, 1949, he was found senseless near a polling place. </li></ul><ul><li>Taken to a hospital, he died on October 7, “of congestion of the brain.” </li></ul><ul><li>A recent theory is that he died of rabies. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Poe worked in a variety of genres (1827-1849) <ul><li>Criticism--he gained a national reputation as a virulently sarcastic critic, a literary hatchetman. The bulk of his writing consists of his criticism, and his most abiding ambition was to become a powerful critic. </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry--He was an experimental poet. </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological fiction--He wanted to produce the greatest possible horrific effects on the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Detective Story--Poe created this form when he was 32, will all its major conventions complete. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Characteristics of Poe’s detective stories <ul><li>Poe places veiled clues before the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>The writer/narrator strives to appear objective. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poe would have liked to solve everything by the mind. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He was disturbed by what he could not solve by reason. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The climax of the story is the narrator’s explanation of the crime. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Poe and the Gothic <ul><li>Poe did not want to write gothic stories; he started his career spoofing the Gothic. </li></ul><ul><li>He said that he wrote, “Tales of terror, not of Germany, but of the soul.” </li></ul><ul><li>He transformed tales of terror into psychological stories; he delved into the mysterious recesses of the human mind. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Elements of Gothic in Poe’s Fiction <ul><li>Grim setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Landscapes are often reflections of character’s mind. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unusual buildings, extremes of nature, eccentric works of art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very few of his stories take place in America; most take place in Europe or Never-never-land. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Other elements of the Gothic <ul><li>Hidden evil </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unspeakable, mysterious crimes, including incest and parracide </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Obsession with Death </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ghosts, blood, body parts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maniacal Laughter </li></ul><ul><li>The discovered manuscript </li></ul><ul><ul><li>gives responsibility to someone else </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Deformity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the groteque--people who don’t look right are capable of activity beyond the norm </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. An element of Poe’s style <ul><li>Poe uses vocabulary to create setting, for rhetorical effect, rather than for information. </li></ul><ul><li>Modern horror films use music to create atmosphere; Poe used vocabulary. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Hawthorne/Poe <ul><li>Hawthorne described the conflict between the intellect and heart. </li></ul><ul><li>Poe described the conflict between two sides of the intellect. </li></ul>
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