Edgar Allan Poe

Summary

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809, Boston, USA – October 7, 1849, Baltimore, USA) was an American writer, poet, essayist, literary critic and editor, and a representative of American Romanticism. He created the form of the classic detective and the genre of psychological prose. Some of Edgar Poe”s works helped formation and development of science fiction, and such features of his work as irrationality, mysticism, doom, abnormality of depicted conditions anticipated decadent literature. He is best known as the author of “scary” and mystical stories, as well as the poem “The Raven.

Edgar Poe was one of the first American writers to make the short story the primary form of his work. He tried to earn a living solely from his literary work, and as a result, his life and career were plagued by severe financial difficulties, complicated by a problem with alcohol. During his twenty years as an artist, Edgar Poe wrote two novels, two poems, one play, about seventy short stories, fifty poems, and ten essays, which were printed in magazines and almanacs and later collected into anthologies.

Although during his lifetime Edgar Poe was known primarily as a literary critic, later his works of fiction had a significant influence on world literature as well as cosmology and cryptography. He was one of the first American writers whose fame at home was far inferior to that of Europe. His work was given special attention by the Symbolists, who drew from his poetry the ideas of their own aesthetics. Edgar Poe was praised by Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Howard Phillips Lovecraft, recognizing his role as a pioneer in the genres they popularized.

Edgar Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, the son of actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and David Poe, Jr. Elizabeth Poe was born in Great Britain. In early 1796 she and her mother, also an actress, moved to the United States, where she began performing on stage at an early age. Poe”s father was born in Ireland to David Sr. Poe, who emigrated to America with his son. Edgar Poe”s grandfather had the rank of major, actively supported the revolutionary movement in the United States and was a direct participant in the War of Independence. David Poe, Jr. was supposed to be a lawyer, but against his father”s wishes he chose to be an actor.

Edgar was the middle child in the family, with an older brother, William Henry Leonard (1807-1831), and a younger sister, Rosalie (1810-1874). The life of touring actors involved constant moving, which was difficult to do with a child in their arms, so little Edgar was temporarily left with his grandfather in Baltimore. There he spent the first few months of his life. A year after Edgar”s birth, his father left the family. Nothing is known of his subsequent fate. On December 8, 1811 Poe”s mother died of consumption. The little boy, left without parental care, appealed to the wife of John Allan, a wealthy merchant from Richmond, and soon childless family took him to their place. Sister Rosalie ended up with the Mackenzie family, who were neighbors and friends of the Allans, while brother Henry lived with his father”s relatives in Baltimore.

Childhood

Edgar Poe”s adopted family was among the wealthy and respected in Richmond. John Allan was co-owner of a company that dealt in tobacco, cotton, and other goods. The Allans had no children, so the boy was easily and happily welcomed into the family. Edgar Poe grew up in an atmosphere of prosperity, he was bought clothes, toys, books, and was homeschooled by a certified teacher.

In 1815, the family (as well as Anne Valentine, the older sister of Frances, John Allan”s wife) traveled to Great Britain. John Allan, whose business was experiencing some difficulties due to the declining economy after the Napoleonic Wars, sought to improve trade relations with Europe. Arriving in Liverpool, the family went to live with Allan”s relatives in Scotland, in the towns of Erwin and Kilmarnock. A few weeks later he made another move – to London, where Edgar Poe graduated from the elementary school of Madame Dubois. In 1817 his studies continued at the Rev. John Bransby”s school in Stoke Newington. Edgar Poe”s recollections of this period of life are reflected in the story “William Wilson.

Edgar finished his last school year early. The reason for this was a hasty return to the United States, because John Allan”s business in England was not going well, there were serious financial difficulties, his wife Frances was seriously ill. The merchant even had to borrow money for the return trip from a companion. In the summer of 1820 a transatlantic voyage took place, and on August 2 the family arrived in Richmond.

The first year after their return to America was a difficult one for the Allans. Their house was on long-term lease, so they had to move in with John Allan”s companion, C. Ellis, who allowed them to live at his place free of charge. In the same year, Edgar Poe went to school, where he studied ancient literature and history, Latin, Greek and French, and mathematics. Attention was also paid to English literature, represented by Ben Jonson, Alexander Pope, John Milton, and other authors. Edgar Poe”s interest in his native literature was born during this period, which also includes his first steps in poetry. The superintendent of the school, Joseph G. Clark, described his pupil thus:

Edgar Poe had been at my school for five years. During that time he read Ovid, Julius Caesar, Virgil, Cicero, and Horace in Latin, and Xenophon and Homer in Greek. He clearly liked classical poetry more than classical prose. He didn”t like math, but in poetic composition he had no equal in school.

In 1824 Richmond was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette, a celebrated hero of the Revolution and associate of David Poe Sr. The city organized ceremonies and a parade for the general”s visit, and Edgar Poe was a participant. He was selected as a lieutenant in the company of the Richmond Young Volunteers, which consisted of students from the city”s best schools. It is known that de Lafayette visited Edgar Poe”s grandfather”s grave in Baltimore, where he pronounced: “Here rests a noble heart!” (fr. Ici repose un cœur noble!).

In early 1825 John Allan”s uncle, one of the richest men in Virginia, died of illness. He had no direct heirs, but there were many potential heirs, represented by relatives, all of whom lived in Scotland. In his last will he bequeathed most of his fortune to a Richmond nephew. John Allan received $750,000, an enormous sum at the time, and the family”s life was immediately changed. Business was booming, a lavish mansion was bought, and Edgar was taken out of school and hired teachers to prepare him for university.

University studies. Literary debut

On February 14, 1826, Edgar Allan Poe went to Charlottesville, where he enrolled at the newly opened University of Virginia. Tuition at the institution founded by Thomas Jefferson was expensive (in a letter to his stepfather Poe calculated the total cost and listed it at $350 a year), so the students were the children of the state”s wealthy families. On admission, Edgar Poe chose two courses of study (out of a possible three): classical philology (Latin and Greek) and modern languages (French, Italian, Spanish). The seventeen-year-old poet, who had left his parents” home, was left to himself for the first time for a long time.

Edgar Poe”s school day ended at 9:30, and the rest of the day was supposed to be spent reading and preparing homework, but the offspring of wealthy parents, brought up in the “true spirit” of gentlemanhood, could not resist the temptation of the “ever fashionable” in high society card games and wine. Edgar Poe, educated in London and brought up in a respectable family, undoubtedly considered himself a gentleman. The desire to confirm this status, and later the need for a livelihood, led him to the card table. It was also at this time that Edgar Poe first began to drink.

By the end of the school year, Poe”s total debts totaled $2,500 (about $2,000 of them card debts). Upon receiving letters demanding payment, John Allan immediately went to Charlottesville, where a stormy explanation with his stepson ensued. As a result, Allan paid only a tenth of the total amount (fees for books and services), refusing to acknowledge Edgar”s card debts. In spite of Poe”s obvious academic successes and his successful examinations, he could no longer remain at the university and left Charlottesville after the end of the school year, on December 21, 1826.

Back home in Richmond, Edgar Poe had no idea of his future prospects. The relationship with John Allan was severely damaged; he would not put up with a “negligent” stepson. In the meantime, Poe was busily engaged in creative work. It was probably in the Allans” house that many of the poems that would later appear in the aspiring poet”s first collection were written. Poe also tried to find work, but his stepfather not only failed to cooperate with this, but as an educational measure, strongly discouraged him from employment. In March 1827, the “silent” conflict escalated into a serious quarrel, and Allan kicked his adopted son out of the house. Poe took up residence at the Court-House Tavern, from where he wrote letters to Allan accusing him of injustice and making excuses, continuing to clarify relations in epistolary form. These letters were later replaced by others with requests for money, which the foster father ignored. After staying in the tavern room for several days, Poe left for Norfolk and then Boston on March 23.

In his hometown Edgar Poe met by chance a young publisher and printer, Calvin Thomas, who agreed to print his first collection of poems. “Tamerlane and Other Poems, written under the pseudonym “Bostonian,” was published in June 1827. Fifty copies, consisting of 40 pages, were printed and sold for 12.5 cents apiece. In 2009, an unknown collector at auction acquired one of the surviving copies of Edgar Poe”s debut collection, paying for it a record for American literature – 662,500 dollars.

In his first poetry collection Edgar Poe included the poem “Tamerlane” (which he would later edit and revise several times), poems “To ***”, “Dreams”, “Spirits of Death”, “Evening Star”, “Imitation”, “Stanzas”, “Dream”, “The Happiest Day”, “The Lake”. In the preface to the edition, the author apologized for the possibly poor quality of the poetry, justifying it by saying that most of the poems were written in 1820-1821, when he “was not yet fourteen.” This is most likely an exaggeration – Poe certainly began writing early, but he really turned to poetry during his university studies and later. As might be expected, the collection failed to attract the attention of readers and critics. Only two publications wrote about its publication, without giving it any critical appraisal.

Military career

On May 26, 1827, Edgar Allan Poe, in dire need of money, signed a five-year army contract and became a private in the First Artillery Regiment of the United States Army. In his papers, eighteen-year-old Poe gave an assumed name – “Edgar A. Perry” – and changed his age, “aging” himself by four years. Initially the regiment was stationed at Fort Independence, a suburb of Boston, but in November the order to relocate was received. Poe”s duty station was Fort Moultrie on Sullivan Island at the entrance to Charleston Bay, the same fort that, 50 years earlier, had proved impregnable to the British army. The nature of the island, where the writer spent a year, was later reflected in the story “The Golden Beetle.

Edgar Poe served on the staff and was engaged in drawing up papers, which is not surprising for a man who was literate (a rather rare phenomenon for the army at that time) and had a neat handwriting. His “gentlemanly” background, good upbringing, and diligence ensured sympathy among the officers. On January 1, 1829, Edgar A. Perry was promoted to the rank of general sergeant of the regiment, the highest rank of a non-commissioned officer.

In December 1828 the regiment was again transferred, this time to Fort Monroe, located in Hampton, near Norfolk. The soldier at headquarters had plenty of time to spare, and Edgar Allan Poe spent it reading and writing. He not only wrote new poems, but also finalized the old, nurturing a plan to publish the next, more qualitative on the material collection. At the same time, service began to weigh on Poe, he realized that he was losing time, and, having enlisted the support of an officer-colleague, he decided to make an attempt to demobilize early. Edgar Poe wrote several letters to his adoptive father expressing his desire to enroll at West Point Academy, but John Allan did not respond to any of them.

At the end of February 1829, Frances Allan”s condition worsened. The illness, which had already made itself felt in England, only progressed. On the night of February 28, as his wife”s condition became critical, John Allan wrote a short letter asking his adopted son to come immediately. Frances Allan died on the morning of the same day. Edgar Poe was not able to arrive in Richmond until March 2, not even in time for the funeral of his adopted mother, whom he loved dearly.

After staying home for the remainder of his discharge, Poe again approached Allan, and this time they reached an understanding. After obtaining the necessary papers from his adoptive father, Poe returned to the army, where the process of his discharge immediately began. The order was signed and he was discharged from the army on April 15, 1829.

There is a legend that in his youth Edgar Poe visited the Russian capital, St. Petersburg. The author of it was himself. In his autobiography, written in 1839, Poe claims that after studying for a year at the University of Virginia, he ran away from home to fight for the freedom of the Greeks, like Byron:

“Having failed to reach Greece, I found myself in Russia, in St. Petersburg. From the predicament in which I found myself there I was able to get out thanks to the kindness of G. Middleton, the American consul in Petersburg, and in 1829 I returned home…”

The story about his visit to Russia then appeared in an obituary published the day after the writer”s death in the New York Tribune, from where it found its way into newspapers and magazines, including Russian ones. It was not until the 20th century that American biographers determined with documentary precision that the writer had never been to Russia, and that he served in the U.S. Army as Edgar A. Perry during the years described in his biography. Nor does Henry Middleton”s archives in Moscow confirm the version of the writer”s visit to Russia. Among Middleton”s many requests to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for passports for Americans who found themselves in Petersburg in the late 1920s, Poe”s name is not mentioned, unless, of course, we assume that he received a passport under a different name.

After returning from Washington, D.C., where he had gone to deliver the necessary papers and references for admission to West Point, Edgar Poe went to Baltimore, where his relatives lived: his brother Henry Leonard, his aunt Mary Clemm, her children Henry and Virginia, and Elizabeth Poe, the aged widow of David Poe Sr. Not having enough money to rent his own place, the poet, with Mary Clemm”s permission, took up residence in their house. Time passed while waiting for a response from Washington, D.C., to care for his consumption-stricken brother (who was aggravated by alcoholism) and to prepare for the publication of a second poetry collection. Poe edited the available material, corresponded extensively with magazines and publishers. And the efforts were not in vain – at the end of December 1829 the collection saw the light. 250 copies of “Al-Aaraaf”, “Tamerlane” and minor poems were printed by the Baltimore publisher Hatch and Dunning. At the center of the collection are two poems, the second of which Edgar Poe substantially revised and abridged. “Al-Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Small Poems did not resonate widely; only a few Baltimore publications wrote about its release, giving it a subdued review.

On Christmas Day Edgar Poe returned home to Richmond, where he received confirmation of his enrollment at West Point in May 1830. That same month a fatal quarrel broke out between him and his foster father. The occasion was a letter that was not intended for John Allan and should not have ended up in his hands. In it, Edgar Allan Poe criticized his guardian, unequivocally accusing him of drunkenness. The irascible Allan could not stand it and kicked Edgar Poe out of the house for the second and final time. They still corresponded after this breakup, but never saw each other again. Soon John Allan married for the second time.

At the end of June 1830, Edgar Poe became a cadet in the United States Army Military Academy. The training was not easy (especially the first two months of camp life), but the army experience helped the poet to quickly get the hang of it. In spite of a rigid daily routine and practically full daily employment, Edgar Poe found time for creativity. Among the cadets especially popular were pamphlets and satirical parodies on the mentor-officials and life in the walls of the academy. The third collection of poems was being prepared for publication. The study went well, Cadet Poe was on good terms and had no censure from the officers, but in January he wrote a letter to John Allan, asking for his assistance in leaving West Point. The reason for this abrupt decision was probably the news of his guardian”s marriage, which deprived Edgar Poe of the slimmest chance of being formally adopted and inheriting anything. Still waiting for no answer, Edgar Poe decided to act on his own. In January 1831, he ignored inspections and classes, did not go on guard duty, and sabotaged constructions. The result was his arrest and subsequent trial, where he was charged with “gross dereliction of duty” and “disregarding orders.” On February 8, 1831, Edgar Poe was discharged from the service of the United States, and on February 18 he left West Point.

Beginning of literary activity

Edgar Poe went to New York, where in April 1831 the poet”s third book was published, a collection of Poems, which, besides the reissued Tamerlane and Al-Aaraaf, included new works: Israfel, Paean, The Condemned City, To Helen, and Sleeping. Also in the pages of the collection, Poe addressed literary theory for the first time with “Letter to…”  – an essay in which the author speculated on the principles of poetry and the problems of national literature. “Poems” contained a dedication to “the Cadet Corps of the United States Army.” 1,000 copies of the book were printed with funds from West Point cadets who subscribed to the collection in anticipation of the usual parodies and satirical poems with which they had once been entertained by a fellow student.

With no means of subsistence, Edgar Poe moved in with relatives in Baltimore, where he made futile attempts to find work. Desperate lack of money prompted the poet to turn to prose – he decided to take part in a contest for the best short story by an American author with a prize of $100. Edgar Poe took a thorough approach to the matter: he studied magazines and various publications of the time to determine the principles (stylistic, plot, composition) of writing short prose that were popular with readers. The result of the research was “Metzengerstein,” “The Duke de L”Olette,” “On the Walls of Jerusalem,” “A Significant Loss,” and “An Unfinished Deal,” the stories that the aspiring novelist sent to the contest. Unsatisfactory for their author, the results were announced on December 31, 1831 – Edgar Poe did not win. During the next year, these stories without attribution (these were the conditions) were published in the newspaper that organized the contest. The failure did not force Edgar Poe to abandon the form of short prose in his work. On the contrary, he continued to hone his skills, to write short stories, of which at the end of 1832 he formed a collection that never went to print, Folio Club Stories.

In June 1833 another literary contest was held, with prizes of $50 for the best short story and $25 for the best poem. It was known that the jury was composed of men of competence – the famous writers of the day, John Pendleton Kennedy and John Lathrobe. Edgar Poe participated in both nominations, sending to the contest 6 stories and the poem “Colosseum”. On October 12, the results were announced: “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” by Edgar Poe, was declared best short story, and “A Song of the Winds,” by Henry Wilton (the pseudonym of the organizing newspaper), was named best poem. John Lathrobe later confirmed that Edgar Poe was also the author of the really best poem. The jury was very appreciative of the young writer”s work, noting that it was extremely difficult for them to choose one best story out of his six. In fact, it was the first authoritative recognition of Edgar Poe”s talent.

Despite winning the contest, Poe”s financial situation in 1833-1835 remained extremely difficult. There were no regular cash receipts, and the writer continued his unsuccessful attempts to find work connected with literature. The only source of income in the family was the pension of David Poe Sr.”s paralyzed widow, $240 a year, which was paid irregularly. On March 27, 1834, John Allan died without mentioning Edgar Poe in his will.

After winning the contest, Edgar Poe became close to John P. Kennedy, who became his friend and literary patron. Kennedy not only helped the writer with money in times of need, but also tried in every way to draw the attention of publishers and periodicals to the new talent of American literature.

In August 1834, the Richmond printer Thomas White began publishing a new monthly magazine, the Southern Literary Messenger, for which he recruited prominent writers of the time, including John Kennedy. Kennedy, in turn, recommended to White Edgar Allan Poe as a promising and talented writer, initiating their collaboration. Already in March 1835, Berenice appeared in the pages of the monthly, and in June Poe”s first mystification, The Unusual Adventure of a Hans Pfaal, was published. In the months that followed, White and the writer began an active correspondence in which they discussed not only the publication of the author”s works, but also the problems of the magazine: how to attract more subscribers, what headings and sections should be opened. The head of the publication soon invited Edgar Poe to move to Richmond and take his assistant”s chair, which had become vacant. On July 7, 1834, the writer”s grandmother, virtually the sole breadwinner in the family, died, so White”s offer was most apropos, and Poe went to Richmond.

During his first period as assistant editor, Edgar Poe successfully managed his tasks and responsibilities: editing and proofreading texts, selecting material for publication, and maintaining extensive correspondence with authors. His salary was $15 a week. White had no reason to be unhappy with the new employee, but a sudden bout of deep depression and a severe binge that followed led to the inevitable consequences – Edgar Poe was fired. In a clouded state of mind, he wrote a long, emotional letter to Mary Clemm asking for the hand of her daughter Virginia, fearing to lose her forever. In utter despair, he turned for support to his patron John F. Kennedy, who was concerned about his condition and tried to find the necessary words of encouragement. Soon the illness, which had plagued Poe for months, receded. In September he returned to Baltimore, where he was engaged to be married to Virginia Clemm and a marriage license was issued authorizing the marriage.

Having regained his composure, Edgar Poe attempted to return to the Southern Literary Messenger. Thomas White agreed to let him go back to work on the condition that he quit drinking. During this period in the pages of the magazine, Edgar Poe turned to literary criticism, not unreasonably believing that he had the necessary competence. Poe the critic had no authority; in his articles he uncompromisingly but argumentatively criticized those works in which he found faults. Theodore S. Fay, W. H. Longfellow, and C. F. Hoffman were all victims of his crushing reviews. In the words of the poet James Russell Lowell, Poe was “perhaps the only fearless American critic. Poe made many enemies in literary circles, but at the same time the magazine grew in popularity: new subscribers appeared, the publication was talked about.

On May 16, 1836, Edgar Poe married Virginia Clemm. She was his cousin, and at the time of her marriage she was only 13 years old. The couple spent their honeymoon in Petersberg, Virginia. It was around this time that Edgar Poe began writing his greatest prose text, A Tale of the Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym. The decision to write a lengthy work was dictated by reader preferences: many publishers refused to print his stories, citing that the small prose format was not popular.

Nothing foreboded trouble, but at the end of December Poe left the Southern Literary Messenger again. The cause of the quarrel between White and Poe remains unclear; it may have been a broken promise, the publisher”s dissatisfaction with his excessive independence as editor, or harsh criticism of high-profile literary names. In any event, in early 1837 Poe left Richmond for New York with his wife and mother-in-law.

New York and Philadelphia: 1837-1844

In May 1837, an economic crisis broke out in the United States. It also affected the publishing industry: newspapers and magazines were closing, and there were massive layoffs. Edgar Poe found himself in a difficult situation, being out of work for a long period. But enforced idleness did not go in vain – he was finally able to concentrate on creativity. In the New York period from the pen of the writer came out the stories Ligeia, Devil in the Bell Tower, The Fall of the House of Usher, William Wilson, continued work on Arthur Gordon Pym. The rights to the novel were sold to the reputable Harper and Brothers of New York, where it was published on July 30, 1838. Poe”s first voluminous prose work, however, was not a commercial success.

Edgar Poe and his family moved to Philadelphia in the midsummer of 1838. There, with the help of an old acquaintance, he managed to arrange a collaboration with the newly created monthly American Museum. Throughout the year Poe”s works appeared in it: stories, poems, criticism, and reviews of book novelties. It was a meager, but the writer”s only source of income. Nor did the freshly published Narrative sell. Desperate lack of money forced the writer to take a job, the result of which was the writer”s most commercially successful book, ironically, nonfiction: Edgar Poe was asked to write a book about conchology – the science of shells, based on the sources provided and the advice of a customer – an expert in the field. He successfully completed the task and earned $50. This book (with Edgar Poe”s name on the cover) was later republished many times, and the author was accused of plagiarism, for which he had to apologize long afterward. He later claimed that he had written only the introduction, introduction, and illustrations, and that his name had been added to make the book more marketable.

The American Museum did not last long, and Poe might have been in an already difficult position again, but in May 1839 he managed to get a job as editor of Burton”s Gentleman”s Magazine, with a salary of ten dollars a week. The relationship between Poe and the magazine”s owner, William Burton, was not going well, which, besides personal conflicts, was due to their differing views on the publication”s policies. In the summer a publisher was found who agreed to print the collection of short stories, Grotesques and Arabesques, on which Poe had been working lately. Having improved financially, the writer”s family moved into more comfortable and spacious housing.

In early December 1839 Lea & Blanchard published Grotesques and Arabesques, a two-volume collection of 25 stories written by Poe by that time. This event did not go unnoticed in literary circles: dozens of publications across the country not only covered the collection”s release, but devoted full reviews to it as well. It was Poe”s first widespread recognition as a writer. Although Grotesques and Arabesques received mostly positive reviews, the book sold poorly. In the summer of 1840 he left Burton”s Gentleman”s Magazine, which at the end of the year was sold to publisher George Graham because of worsening disagreements with the owner.

Edgar Poe, who knew all the “kitchen” of the publishing business from within, having worked as an editor in several magazines, saw all their shortcomings. He also lacked freedom of action, which was limited by the policy of management. In 1840 he turned to the idea of creating his own magazine and began searching for potential journalists, authors, printers and subscribers. The first prospectus of the future publication, which Edgar Poe called The Penn, soon appeared. The original publication date was January 1, 1841. Later the issue was moved to March, but even then it did not happen.

George Graham, who bought Burton”s Magazine, was a young businessman. Soon after the purchase, he merged his small magazine and Burton”s Gentleman”s Magazine into a new publication, Graham”s Magazine, with Edgar Poe as editor. In addition to the standard duties of the position, he was to publish one story each month in the magazine. Graham also expressed a desire to help Poe with the publication of The Penn and even to become a part-owner. In April 1841 Graham”s Magazine published the story that later brought Poe worldwide fame as a pioneer of the detective genre, Murder in the Rue Morgue. There, also in May, was published The Descent into Malstrom. During Edgar Poe”s tenure as editor, Graham”s Magazine went national: by mid-1842 it had 40,000 subscribers (with an initial 3,500), while The Penn”s prospects grew dimmer. The period with George Graham was Poe”s most successful financially and one of his most fruitful creatively.

In January 1842, Edgar Poe”s young wife suffered her first severe attack of tuberculosis, accompanied by a throat bleed. Virginia was confined to bed for a long period of time, and the writer again lost his composure and ability to work. The depressed state was accompanied by frequent and prolonged binges. During “periods of dreadful enlightenment,” when Poe managed to pull himself together, he continued to perform official duties for the magazine and even published a short story, In Death is Life, which clearly shows the effect of Virginia”s illness on his condition. The story was later republished as The Oval Portrait. Graham could not long tolerate his editor”s frequent drunkenness, his absences from the workplace, and his dereliction of duty. In May 1842 Poe left Graham”s Magazine and Rufus Griswold took his place. The last story published in an issue of Graham”s Magazine in which Edgar Poe was involved was The Mask of the Red Death (May 1842).

All the time that followed, Edgar Poe”s wife”s condition had a profound effect on his mental health, which was extremely susceptible to the slightest deterioration in the situation. A recurrence of Virginia”s illness occurred in the summer of that year, and again the writer”s deep distress and mental anguish were reflected in his writing – the stories The Well and the Pendulum and The Tell-Tale Heart, written soon after the incident, are imbued with it. Poe found salvation in composing. In November 1842 the story of Auguste Dupin”s investigations continued. Snowden”s Ladies” Companion magazine published a story, The Mystery of Marie Rogers, based on a real murder that took place in New York in 1841. Using all the available investigative material, he conducted his own investigation in the pages of the story (moving the action to Paris and changing the names) and pinpointed the murderer. Soon after, the case was solved, confirming the accuracy of the writer”s conclusions.

During a difficult period in 1842, Edgar Poe was able to meet personally with Charles Dickens, whose work he greatly appreciated. They discussed literary matters and exchanged views during the latter”s brief visit to Philadelphia. Dickens promised to assist with the publication of Poe”s works in England. Although nothing came of it, Dickens noted that Edgar Poe was “the only writer he wanted to help publish.

Finding himself without a job, and thus without a livelihood, Edgar Poe, through a mutual acquaintance, asked President Tyler”s son to help get him a job at the Philadelphia Customs Office. The need was great, since the writer began looking for a job other than a literary one that brought in a precarious income. Poe did not get the position because he did not show up for the meeting, explaining it by his illness, although there is a theory that the reason for not showing up was drinking. The family, which was in dire straits, had to change their place of residence several times, as money was catastrophically lacking, debts were growing. A case was brought against the writer, and on January 13, 1843, the district court of Philadelphia declared Edgar Poe bankrupt, but prison time was avoided.

In January 1843 Poe found a partner who agreed to help publish his magazine. It was the head of the weekly Saturday Museum, Thomas Clark. The name of the future publication was changed to The Stylus. Clarke undertook the financial side of the project, while Poe was busy preparing the prospectus and looking for subscribers. Especially for the first issue of the magazine, Poe wrote the short story “The Golden Beetle,” from which he expected a tremendous effect on readers. Within a month the news of The Stylus was printed in dozens of publications across the country, and it seemed that Poe”s dream of his own “perfect” magazine was about to come true, but he again became hostage to the morbid predilection that haunted him and began to drink. Poe”s reputation as an unreliable drunkard had reached Clark. Their arrangement, however, was still in force until May 1843, when Clark announced in the pages of his journal his refusal to participate in Edgar Poe”s enterprise for “economic reasons.

Despite his dire financial situation and the decline in spirits associated with his wife”s illness, Edgar Poe”s literary fame grew steadily. His works were published in many publications across the country and were the subject of critical reviews, many of which noted the author”s exceptional talent and power of imagination. Even literary enemies wrote praise, making them even more valuable. Having devoted himself entirely to prose, Poe did not turn to poetry for three years (his last published poem was “Silence” published in 1840). “The “poetic silence” was broken in 1843 with the publication of one of the writer”s darkest poems, The Conquering Worm, which seemed to concentrate all the mental anguish and despair of the last years, the collapse of hopes and illusions.

In February 1843 the New York edition of The Pioneer published the famous “Linor. Poe returned to poetry, but the main form of his work continued to be short prose. His last years, spent in Philadelphia, were marked by the publication of works, many of which are among the best in the creative legacy of the author: were published “Black Cat” (August 1843), “Glasses” (March 1844), “A Tale of Steep Mountains” (April 1844), “Premature Burial” (July 1844), “Mesmeric Revelation” (August 1844), “Angel of the Inexplicable” (October 1844) and other stories. In July 1844 the Dollar Newspaper of New York organized a short story contest, with a prize of $100 for first place. The winner was Edgar Poe”s “The Golden Beetle.” The work, in which the author revealed his talent as a cryptographer, became the property of the Dollar Newspaper and was subsequently reprinted many times.

Peak Glory

On April 6, 1844, Edgar and Virginia Poe moved to New York City. A month later they were joined by Maria Klemm. It is difficult to overestimate the role of his mother-in-law in Edgar Poe”s life. Her economic, industriousness and endless care with which she surrounded her son-in-law and daughter was noted by many contemporaries who knew the family personally. Edgar loved his “Muddy” (probably short for “mummy” and “daddy”), as he often called her in letters, for when she came into his life she really became like a mother to him. In 1849 he dedicated to her a poem full of tenderness and appreciation, “To My Mother.

A week after the move, Edgar Poe becomes the hero of a sensation: a huge stir in reading circles was caused by The Balloon Story, which was published as a special issue of the New York Sun. Originally conceived as a hoax, the story was stylized as a news article. The idea for the story was unknowingly suggested by Poe to the then-famous balloonist John Wise, who announced in a Philadelphia newspaper that he was going to make a transatlantic flight. The writer managed to achieve the desired effect – the morning after the publication, the publishing house was literally “stormed” by people. Edgar Poe”s hoaxes, in which great attention was paid to details based on technical innovations of the time, gave impetus to the subsequent development of the science fiction genre in literature.

Some time after the reunion with Maria Klemm, the family moved to a new home: the Brennan family rented them part of their mansion outside the city. Poe continued to cooperate with many publications, offering them his articles and critical reviews. During this period he had no trouble getting published, but his income was still modest. At the Brennan mansion, Poe wrote the poem “Dreamland,” which reflected the beauty of the nature around him. There he began work on what would become the writer”s poetic magnum opus, the poem The Raven.

It is not known whether Poe wrote The Raven for the purpose of gaining final and unconditional recognition, encouraged by the success of The Golden Bug and The Balloon Story, but there is no doubt that he was meticulous and thorough in the process of creating this work. The writer detailed this process in an essay titled “The Philosophy of Creativity,” which came out on the heels of the success of The Raven. Poe noted that the poem was an experiment on the road to a work that critics and the general public alike would appreciate, one that both sophisticated literary scholars and ordinary readers could understand. Nor is there any answer to the question of how long it took Poe to write The Raven. Researchers have offered various guesses: from one week to several years. The only certainty is that the first mention of The Raven in Poe”s personal correspondence dates back to 1844.

After finishing the manuscript, Poe went to Philadelphia, where he offered it to George Graham. His former employer refused to purchase the poem, but paid Poe $15 as a kind gesture. It was not until the second attempt that “The Raven” was purchased by George Hooker Colton with the intention of having it printed in the second (February) issue of his American Review magazine. The poem was published under the pseudonym “Quarles,” which was probably a reference to the 17th-century English poet Francis Quarles. By hiding his name, Poe most likely wanted to warm up interest in the poem and achieve an even greater effect on the reader in the event of the success of The Raven, while at the same time securing himself in the event of failure. However, the poem premiered earlier and not in the American Review: with Colton”s permission, as a “preliminary reprint” (a familiar phenomenon at the time) “The Raven” was published in the weekly Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.

It was an immediate and resounding success: publications across the country reprinted the poem, it was talked about in literary circles and beyond, and numerous parodies were written about it. Poe became a national celebrity and a frequent guest at social events, where he was asked to recite his famous poem. In the words of the writer”s biographer Arthur Quinn, “The Raven made an impression that perhaps no poetic work in American literature has surpassed.” Despite its enormous success with readers and widespread public acclaim, the poem did little to improve the writer”s financial situation.

On February 21, 1845, Poe became co-owner of the Broadway Journal, whose head believed to increase the publication”s sales by engaging the cooperation of a new celebrity. Under the terms of the contract, Poe received one-third of the magazine”s sales, a partnership that promised to be mutually beneficial. At the same time, Poe began lecturing, which would become an important source of income for him. His first speaking topics in New York and Philadelphia were “Poets and the Poetry of America.

In July 1845 Poe published a short story entitled “The Imp of Contradiction. The discourse on human nature contained in its preamble offers a good insight into the nature of the author”s own contradictory nature. Tortured by his own “demon,” he repeatedly during his life committed rash and illogical acts, which inevitably led him to ruin. Such was the case at the height of his fame, when it seemed that nothing foretold trouble.

Edgar Poe did not publish any of his new works in the journal of which he became co-owner, only reprinted old ones (which were edited and revised each time). The lion”s share of his work at the time was literary articles, reviews, and criticism. It is not known what caused this, but Poe became more ruthless than ever in his criticism: not only authors he personally disliked, with whom he clashed, but also those who regarded him favorably, suffered. As a result, within a short time the Broadway Journal began to lose subscribers and authors, and the publication became unprofitable. Both of Poe”s associates soon left him, leaving him sole owner of the struggling magazine. Poe tried desperately to save it, sending many letters to his friends and relatives asking for financial help. Most of these were not granted, and the money he did receive was inadequate. On January 3, 1846, the last issue was published, and Edgar Poe closed the Broadway Journal.

In April 1846 Poe became drunk again. Aware of the destructive role alcohol played in his life, he still took the fatal step. A time of clouded consciousness set in again: lectures were disrupted, public conflicts arose, and his reputation suffered severely. The situation was further complicated by the publication in May 1846 of Edgar Poe”s first essays in his series The Writers of New York. In them, Poe gave a personal and creative description of famous authors – his contemporaries – which, for the most part, was extremely negative. The reaction was immediate: the newspapers, at the instigation of the “victims,” launched a war against Poe – besmirching his reputation, accusing him of immorality and godlessness. The press dominated the image of Poe as an insane alcoholic who had no control over his actions. His literary affair with the poet Frances Osgood, which ended in scandal, was also recalled. Among Poe”s critics, Thomas English was particularly notable. A former friend of the writer, he published in a newspaper a “reply to Mr. Poe,” in which, in addition to the image of a poor, godless alcoholic, he accused him of forgery. The publication with which Poe cooperated advised him to take legal action, which he did. On February 17, 1846, Poe won a libel case against the Mirror magazine, which had published “The Answer,” and received $225 in compensation.

Recent years

In May 1846 Edgar Poe moved to a small cottage in Fordham, a suburb of New York. Once again the family was poor, money was desperately scarce – Poe wrote nothing in the summer and fall. In one of his letters he refers to his illness – the literary “wars” and scandals had not gone away. The condition of the bedridden Virginia only worsened.

This is how the poet Mary Gove recalled her visit to Poe”s house:

Autumn came. Mrs. Poe was fading fast from tuberculosis. I saw her in her bedroom. Everything around her was so clean and spotless and so miserable and squalid that the sight of the poor sufferer made me feel the kind of pity that only poor people feel for the poor <…> The weather was cold and the patient was shivering with the chills that usually accompany consumption. She was lying on a straw mat, wrapped in her husband”s coat, and on her chest lay a huge motley cat. The lovely creature seemed to know that it was of great use to her. The coat and the cat were the only things that kept the poor sufferer warm, except that her husband warmed her hands and her mother warmed her feet.

Mary Gove, perturbed by the family”s poor condition, turned to Mary Louise Shue, a woman who was a philanthropist who helped people in need. From late November to December 1846 she was a frequent visitor to Poe”s home, caring for the sick, raising funds, and hiring a doctor to relieve Virginia”s suffering. Edgar Poe, struck by Mrs. Shue”s generosity and unselfishness, dedicated several poems to her, one of which is entitled “To M. L. Shue.

Virginia”s condition seriously deteriorated in January 1847: her fever and pains increased, and her coughing became more frequent. On January 29, Edgar Poe wrote a letter to Mary Shue, full of despair, asking her to come and say good-bye to Virginia, who had become so fond of her. Mrs. Shue arrived the next day and managed to catch her alive. On January 30, 1847, near nightfall, Virginia Poe passed away.

After the funeral of his wife, Edgar Poe himself found himself confined to bed – too great a loss for his delicate, experiencing nature. It was another serious mental breakdown, which had happened to the writer more than once before. Mary Louise Shue did not leave Edgar Poe in trouble either: she nursed him back to health until he finally recovered. During this time they became very close, and Poe visited Mrs. Chew at her home on many occasions. According to some sources, it was she who gave Poe the idea for the poem The Bells.

During the previous year, 1846, Edgar Poe had published a collection of essays, The Marginalia, the short stories The Sphinx, and The Cask of Amontillado (a literary answer to Thomas English). After a forced hiatus he returned to literary activity, which was no longer as active as before. In 1847 there were only four new publications: one review, one article, a poem, “To M. L. Sh.” and a ballad, “Ulalum.” The latter work appeared anonymously in the American Review. Poe sought to achieve the same effect as the publication of “The Raven,” but unfortunately the public did not understand the complex and imaginative poetics that the author demonstrated. Ulyalume was talked about, but the success of The Raven could not be repeated.

The central work of the last years of Edgar Poe”s life was Eureka. “A poem in prose” (as Poe defined it), which dealt with subjects “physical, metaphysical, mathematical,” the author was convinced would overturn people”s conception of the nature of the universe. He began working on Eureka as soon as he recovered from Virginia”s death. In early 1848 Poe began lecturing again. “On the Origin of the Universe,” was its theme. Unfortunately, the lectures were not very popular, probably because the subject matter proved too difficult to grasp, so in the course of the lecture tour Poe had to turn to the more popular subject of poets and poetry. “Eureka” was published in June 1848. It was the last new book published during the writer”s lifetime.

In January 1848 Edgar Poe returned to the idea of publishing his own magazine and with renewed vigor began to prepare for its publication. The same prospectus as before was taken as the basis, the same ideas were set forth in it, and the name, The Stylus, remained the same. In the first issues he intended to include his Literary America articles, on which he had been working for the past two years. Poe intended to recruit subscribers on his lecture tour, which began in July. After abandoning the subject matter revealed in “Eureka,” he returned to the familiar audience of “Poets and Poetry of America.” The generally highly successful tour was interrupted in Richmond, where, according to eyewitness accounts, Poe turned again to alcohol. He was often observed drunkenly wandering the streets of the city, and the writer”s plans were once again jeopardized. Still, Poe managed to pull himself together and soon returned to Fordham.

Edgar Poe had been acquainted with Sarah Helen Whitman in absentia since 1845, when everyone in literary circles was quoting The Raven. A poetic romance, which began with an anonymous valentine written by Mrs. Whitman, broke out in the spring of 1848. They exchanged letters until the fall of that year, when a much-anticipated face-to-face meeting took place in Providence in September. They spent several days together, a confession of feelings, which Whitman graciously accepted. At the next meeting, which took place on September 23, Edgar Poe proposed to her. Whitman was hesitant – she had heard from her own friends about his “unreliability” and addiction to alcohol. Despite this, the correspondence continued, and in December the marriage proposal was accepted, with the condition that Poe quit drinking. On December 22, the necessary papers were signed at Whitman”s home, and the engagement took place. A few days before the appointed wedding day, however, Sarah Whitman received an anonymous letter warning her against marrying Poe, citing that he had been seen intoxicated. An explanation took place immediately, and the wedding was cancelled.

Over the past few years, Edgar Allan Poe”s creativity has declined markedly. Very few new works of fiction were written (especially compared with the “best” years). Poe decided to change the situation for the better and took up his pen more actively. During the first half of 1849 he wrote the short stories “Jump-Scock,” “How One Note Was Typed,” “Landor”s House,” the poems “Eldorado,” “To Annie,” and the sonnet “To Mother.” In June the famous “Annabel Lee” was finished, the publication of which the author no longer saw the light of day. Of course, he hoped to improve his financial situation at the expense of these works, but the “gold rush” that began in America in 1849 disrupted his plans. People were leaving en masse for California, many publications closed or stopped paying royalties. Once again in desperate destitution, Poe turned to the only source of income available to him: lectures.

In April 1849 Edgar Poe received a letter from a wealthy Kentucky admirer named Edward Patterson, who invited him to establish a national magazine. He would take care of the financial side of the project, and put the literary side entirely in the writer”s hands. Poe responded with great enthusiasm, and correspondence ensued, during which the parties agreed to meet in St. Louis to discuss immediate plans, and then to travel together to New York. Poe hit the road: on a short lecture tour and to meet a future companion.

On June 29, Poe left Fordham for Richmond. The intermediate destination was Philadelphia, a city in which Poe became drunk on arrival. He also lost his briefcase of lectures and all the travel money he had. After spending some time in Philadelphia, Poe, with the help of friends, made his way to Richmond. The writer managed to cope with a difficult situation, and he stopped drinking, resumed lecturing, and began to speak successfully with his literary work, The Poetic Principle. In Richmond, Poe renewed his acquaintance with his childhood sweetheart Sarah Elmira Royster (who had the surname Shelton after her marriage) and began to court her, which eventually culminated in a proposal of marriage. Elmira was by then a widow with a decent fortune inherited from her deceased husband. As always, the only obstacle to the marriage was Poe”s addiction to alcohol. He settled the matter by joining the Sons of Moderation temperance society and taking an oath to abstain from alcohol. The wedding was set for October 17. At this time Poe cooled to Patterson”s proposal, probably realizing that after the wedding he would become the owner of a large fortune and be able to run the magazine himself. A meeting with his future companion was rescheduled, but after a while Poe stopped responding to his letters altogether.

After finishing his lectures in Richmond, Poe hit the road. Business had to be completed in Philadelphia and New York and preparations had to be made for the wedding. On September 27, 1849, Edgar Poe left Richmond for Baltimore by steamer. According to his own plan, from Baltimore he was to travel by train to Philadelphia and then, also by train, to New York.

On the evening of October 3, 1849, in Baltimore, Dr. Joseph Snodgrass, owner of a local newspaper and a longtime friend of Poe, received the following note:

Dear Sir! There is some rather shabby gentleman, known as Edgar A. Poe, near the 4th District polling place in Ryan”s Tavern, and seems to be in extreme distress, and he says he knows you, and I assure you he needs immediate help. I am writing in a hurry.

Snodgrass, who knew the writer well, went after him immediately. The polling station was located directly in the tavern (which was quite common at the time), where Poe was found. He was in a severely semi-conscious state and was unable to move or speak consciously. He was wearing dirty and shabby clothes that did not belong to him. Snodgrass transported Poe to nearby Washington College Hospital around 5 p.m. that evening. The writer was in the care of Dr. John Moran. Edgar Poe was in an emotionless (near-comatose) state until 3 a.m. the next morning, after which he began convulsions and delirium. As his condition began to improve on October 5, Poe told Dr. Moran that he had a wife in Richmond, but could not remember what had happened to him, where his belongings had gone, or how he was in Baltimore. The writer”s condition worsened again on the evening of Saturday, October 6. He fell into a rampage and began calling incessantly for a certain “Reynolds.” At five o”clock in the morning of October 7, 1849, Edgar Poe died. According to Dr. Moran, just before his death he uttered his last words:

Edgar Allan Poe”s modest funeral was held at 4 o”clock in the afternoon of October 8, 1849, in Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, now part of the University of Maryland Law School campus. The ceremony, attended by only a few people, was presided over by Reverend W. T. D. Clemm, Virginia Poe”s uncle. It lasted only three minutes because of the cold and dank weather. The Psalmist George W. Spence wrote, “It was a gloomy and overcast day, no rain, but it was damp and a thunderstorm was coming.” Poe was buried in the far corner of the cemetery, next to the grave of his grandfather, David Poe Sr., in a cheap coffin with no handles, no nameplate, a coverlet, and a pillow under his head.

On October 1, 1875, Edgar Poe”s remains were reburied in a new place near the front of the church. The new monument was made and erected at the expense of Baltimore residents and admirers of the writer from other U.S. cities. The total cost of the monument was just over $1,500. A celebratory service was held on November 17, 1875. On the 76th anniversary of Edgar Poe”s birth, January 19, 1885, Virginia Poe”s remains were reburied next to those of her husband.

Circumstances and cause of death

The circumstances leading up to Edgar Poe”s death, as well as its immediate cause, remain unclear to this day. All medical records and documents, including the death certificate, if they existed at all, have been lost. There are several different theories about the cause of Poe”s death, of varying degrees of plausibility: from hypoglycemia to conspiracy to murder.

One of the main versions was popularized by Dr. Joseph Snodgrass, who insisted that alcohol was the cause of Poe”s death. As early as his memoirs he wrote that he found Poe “brutally intoxicated,” and he used his own theory to disseminate it to the sobriety society of which he was a member. It was for this reason that the validity of Snodgrass”s theory was questioned. In 1885 Dr. Moran, in his series of lectures “in defense of Poe,” challenged Snodgrass” position and argued that he had not died under the influence of any intoxication. Moran argued that “there was not the slightest whiff of alcohol coming from Poe. However, Moran”s words are not entirely credible either. Yet Poe”s bouts of alcoholism, when they did occur, were not so deep and prolonged as to provoke cirrhosis of the liver. The image of Poe as an alcoholic has been largely maintained by his literary enemies (among whom Rufus Griswold stood out in particular) and is, to say the least, controversial.

Among a large number of other causes of death in subsequent years were various types of illnesses: brain tumors, diabetes, various forms of enzyme failure, syphilis, apoplectic stroke, alcoholic delirium, epilepsy and meningitis. In 2006, a study of Edgar and Virginia Poe”s hair samples was conducted, the results of which refuted the possibility of poisoning by lead, mercury, and other toxic heavy metal vapors. Cholera, whose epidemic broke out in Philadelphia in 1849, was also cited as a cause.

There is another theory, highlighted by many biographers of the writer. On October 3 in Baltimore, elections were scheduled for Congress and the Maryland State Legislature. At that time there were no electoral rolls, which the opposing candidates and parties took advantage of by forming special groups of voters. People under the influence of alcohol were gathered in special places and then forced to vote several times. It is likely that Poe, a victim of a criminal scheme similar to a “carousel of elections,” became useless because of his condition and was abandoned near the 4th District polling place, where he was found by Joseph Walker. However, this theory also has its detractors, who argue that Poe, as a man very well known in the city, would have found it difficult to participate in such a scheme.

“Grizwold”s Memoirs.

On the day Poe was buried, a voluminous obituary written by “Ludwig” appeared in the New York Tribune. It was soon reprinted by many publications across the country. It began, “Edgar Poe is dead. He died the day before yesterday in Baltimore. This news will astonish many, but few will be saddened. It later emerged that the pseudonym “Ludwig” was Rufus Wilmot Griswold, the editor, critic, and anthology writer who had disliked Poe since 1842, when he succeeded him as editor of Graham”s Magazine. During Poe”s lifetime their conflict was epistolary, limited to mutual attacks in literary articles. After his death, Griswold began to methodically destroy his reputation, shaping an extremely negative public image of the writer.

Griswold wrote Memoirs of an Author, a biographical article on Poe in which he presented him as an incorrigible drunkard, drug addict, madman, and godless man, including the writer”s letters as evidence. Many of his statements were half-truths, most were outright lies. In particular, it is safe to say that Poe was not an addict. Although people who knew Poe well (especially N. Willis, S. H. Whitman, F. Osgood, and J. Graham) made repeated attempts in his defense and sharply condemned The Memoirs, the image created by Griswold became generally accepted for many years. In 1941 it was proved that Poe”s letters, which Griswold used as evidence in his work, had been forged.

Grizwold claimed that shortly before his death Poe had appointed him as his literary executor. It has not been ascertained whether this was in fact the case, or whether he obtained the position through some scam or mistake by Maria Klemm, the writer”s mother-in-law. Literary scholar Yu.  V. Kovalev considered the fact of Poe”s own participation in the appointment of Griswold as his executor to be acknowledged. In any event, in later years Griswold, who administered Poe”s literary legacy, made enormous profits from the sale of a four-volume collection of his works that became a success among readers, leaving Mary Clemma not a penny.

Secret admirer

Every year since 1949, an unknown person has visited Edgar Poe”s grave, paying tribute to the writer”s talent. Early on the morning of January 19, a man dressed in black would go to Poe”s grave, make a toast, and leave a bottle of cognac and three roses on the tombstone. Sometimes notes of various contents were found on the tombstone. One of them, left in 1999, said that the first secret admirer had died the previous year and that his “heir” was responsible for continuing the tradition. The tradition continued for 60 years until 2009, when the secret admirer was last seen at the grave.

On August 15, 2007, Sam Porpora, 92, historian at Westminster Church, where Poe is buried, announced that he had started the tradition of an annual visit to the writer”s grave on his birthday. The purpose of his action, he said, was to raise funds for the church and raise interest in it. However, his story was not corroborated – some of the details he expressed did not connect with the facts. In 2012, Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Poe House Museum, who had earlier denied rumors that he was the worshipper, proclaimed the end of the tradition.

Appearance and Character

Early descriptions of appearance were dominated by the image of an attractive and athletic young man with a tendency toward thinness. “Thin as a razor,” was how John Allan described his fifteen-year-old stepson. According to his childhood friends, young Poe was a “windbag” and an informal leader of the company. He was a hardy, agile, and well-built teenager. Poe was also an excellent swimmer – at the age of fifteen he swam seven and a half miles up the James River in front of his buddies.

The first most reliable description of Poe”s appearance is the one he himself gave for enlistment: “gray eyes, brown hair, pale complexion, 5 feet 8 inches tall. Common to Poe”s descriptions as a young man are his chiseled features and lean physique, and his lack of a mustache. Instead he wore sideburns, which can be seen in the first portraits of the writer. A contemporary of Poe, who lived in Baltimore in the early 1930s, described the appearance of the twenty-three-year-old writer in this way:

Mr. Poe had dark, almost black hair, which he wore long, combed back, as is customary with students. His hair was thin and silky. He never let go of his mustache or beard. His nose was long and straight, his facial features regular and thin, and his lips were beautifully drawn. He was pale and his cheeks were never stained with blush: his skin was distinguished by a beautiful and pure olive hue. His expression was melancholy. Thin, but splendidly built, he kept a military straightness and walked at a brisk pace. … > Poe was always dressed in a black button-down clerical coat with a stand-up collar… > He did not follow the fashions, but had his own style, which was marked by a certain carelessness, as if he cared little for clothes. You could tell by his appearance that he was not at all like other young men.

Many recollections of the writer mention that he was extremely responsive to kind treatment and was extremely sensitive to injustice and any reproaches or taunts directed at him. Evidence from the early period of Edgar Poe”s life does not note a trait that became characteristic in the mature period and took root until the end of his life – frequent mood swings and psychological vulnerability in the face of problems that knocked him out of his equilibrium. The turning point probably occurred during his time at university and especially after he was expelled from West Point when he left his paternal home. Poe was often observed in a gloomy mood and in a state of emotional strain, the reason for which can be found in the many difficulties that followed him through life. But even during particularly difficult periods he found the strength to write extensively. Throughout his writing career, Poe carefully and methodically edited previously written works, bringing them to perfection. Publisher Lambert Wilmer, a contemporary of Poe”s, noted his enormous capacity for work: “In my mind he was one of the hardest working men on earth. I came to see him on different days at different times of the day, and I always took him away from his work – he was working.” The illustrator Felix Darley described the writer thus:

Poe gave me the impression of a refined man, very reserved and extremely careful; always interested, which was the consequence of his inquisitive but sad mind. He spoke quietly and reservedly, rarely smiling. I remember him reading his stories “The Golden Beetle” and “The Black Cat,” even before they were published. The manuscript had a peculiar shape: he wrote on sheets of sheet music cut in half, gluing them together along the short edge. The result was a long roll, which he rolled up tightly <…> The text was written in a clear neat handwriting, apparently without any blots at all.

The last years of his life, full of turmoil and problems with alcohol, brought with them a deterioration of health, which was also reflected in Poe”s appearance. It is hard to believe that the man in S. Osgood”s portrait and the June 1849 daguerreotype are the same person. In 1846 one of the writer”s acquaintances said: “…apparently Poe himself is killing his own body.” The image with the mustache and asymmetrical face is the most common, because the only reliable source of information about the appearance of that time – daguerreotype photographs – were obtained in the last 2-3 years of his life – the time when the writer began wearing a mustache, and the difficulties of life had already affected his health and appearance.

Worldview

A unambiguous definition of Edgar Poe”s worldview and type of consciousness is a difficult task. His social, philosophical, and aesthetic ideas are complex, contradictory, and unstable. Elements of materialism fit into a general idealistic picture of the world, the rationalistic approach coexists without conflict with the intuitionistic, ahead of its time scientific insights are combined with a zealous adherence to conservative views, etc. However, despite all the complexity and contradictions, Poe”s worldview has a certain unity and general direction: his view of the world is pessimistic and his consciousness is tragic. The origins of Poe”s worldview lie in the circumstances in which his personality was formed. He did not accept and categorically rejected the ideals of the “new” bourgeois America, which had replaced the lifestyle and values of the “aristocratic” South, including Poe”s native Virginia.

Edgar Poe”s philosophy in the vast majority of its main points was opposed to the ideology of the transcendentalists, with whom the writer waged a long and irreconcilable struggle. The ideological disagreement with them took the form of barbed invectives and caustic parodies in the pages of his articles, short stories and personal letters. The main target of Poe”s scathing criticism was Ralph Waldo Emerson and writers who shared his ideas about social progress, personal perfection, and the possibility of man”s coming closer to God. At a certain point in the new stage of the historical development of American social, philosophical, and literary life, two lines were drawn: the figure of Edgar Poe symbolized one, the figure of Emerson the other.

Poe saw perfectly well where the trends of his modern industrial civilization were heading. Of his attitude toward technical progress and industrialization are lines from The Conversation of Monos and Una: “Giant cities have sprung up, smoking many chimneys. The green leaves shriveled with the hot breath of the furnaces. The beautiful face of the Earth was disfigured, as if some hideous disease had left its mark. One might say that Edgar Poe had an environmental mindset. At the same time, it cannot be said that he categorically rejected technological progress. Poe refused to see it as the ultimate goal of human striving for happiness. But while he acknowledged scientific and technological progress, he did not believe in moral progress, in the capacity of man and society to improve. He was skeptical of the views of the Romanticist and Transcendentalist writers, who were convinced that humanity was heading toward a good goal in its development. “Improvement does not befit the progress of our civilization,” was how Poe expressed his attitude toward the ideas of Meliorism. But the writer only named the trends in social life that troubled him. They will receive artistic reflection and development much later – in the dystopias of the XX century.

Edgar Poe also believed that the idea of social equality, imposed by transcendentalists, was absurd and harmful. Naturally, this view also determined his attitude toward democracy and social reform. He did not believe in the government of the people because he believed it brought with it the danger of a loss of freedom, when individuality is suppressed and politicians establish domination over the “crowd” by manipulating it. Poe was convinced that the effort to restructure society on the basis of social justice would cause far more trouble than the existence of a natural hierarchy. In Poe”s understanding, equality is not equality before the law, but universal averaging, the pernicious dissolution of the individual into the mass, a soulless conformism. The writer”s thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, on the role of demagogues in a democratic society and the importance of freedom are reflected in such stories as “The Thousand Second Tale of Scheherazade,” “Conversation with a Mummy,” “Mellonta Tauta” and others.

Po and Alcohol

Even during his lifetime, a morbid addiction to alcohol was attributed to Edgar Poe. Literary enemies used the image of Poe the alcoholic as a defense against his harsh critical attacks, as a means of discrediting him. This image dominated for a long time and after his death. The author of the first most complete biography of the writer, Rufus Griswold, played a huge role in establishing and strengthening it. To establish the true picture of Poe”s relationship with alcohol, it is hardly fair to rely on the opinions of people who openly feuded with him. There is no question that he drank, and drank a lot, but his drinking was intermittent: a few bouts of drinking alternated with months or even years without alcohol.

Poe first began drinking alcohol during his undergraduate years. The peach and honey, a strong and sweet cocktail of fruit and alcohol (e.g., brandy) with honey and ice, was particularly popular with students. Poe did not have a morbid predilection for liquor during his college year; he drank for company and because it was customary, rather than to satisfy a need. Poe continued to drink at West Point for essentially the same reasons he did at university. Although alcohol was strictly forbidden within the academy walls, this did not stop cadets from getting it at the tavern nearby. In turn, the absence of “drunkenness” in the academy”s Military Court charges suggests that Edgar Poe”s passion for alcohol was still moderate at the time.

Serious bouts of alcoholism began in the Boston period of the 1930s, when the writer found himself without the financial support of his stepfather. The moment life”s problems accumulated to a certain point, a psychological breakdown ensued, which inevitably ended in a turn to alcohol. This, in turn, only exacerbated the difficult situation, attracting bad luck in business and spoiling one”s reputation. Edgar Poe understood the destructive effect of alcohol on his life and career and would abstain from it for months and even years (usually during relatively prosperous periods), but the weight of his problems would inevitably cause him to break down. Everything was also complicated by his particular susceptibility to alcohol. People who knew the writer personally noted that he needed a very small amount of it to get heavily intoxicated. The famous writer Thomas Maine Reid wrote: “A single glass of champagne had such a powerful effect on him that he could hardly control his own actions. Maria Klemm, the writer”s mother-in-law, warned, “Don”t pour him wine … when he has had a glass or two … he is not responsible for his words or his own actions.”

John Daniel, editor of the Richmond Examiner, claimed that “his craving for alcohol was a disease-neither a source of pleasure nor a source of joy. The cause of Poe”s alcoholism was not bad heredity, a morbid psychological addiction, or a lack of willpower to resist it. It was not drunkenness that was the source of the clouded state, but sickness and severe distress of mind that provoked a turn to alcohol. Charles Baudelaire attributed the morbid addiction to “incompatibility with the social environment and the inner creative need.

Н.  V. Shelgunov, in a preface to one of Edgar Poe”s publications in Russia, wrote:

It is quite natural that a withdrawn and deeply unhappy man, abandoned as a child to the mercy of fate, a man with a head busy with constant brainwork, sometimes sought pleasure and oblivion in wine. Poe fled into the gloom of drunkenness from literary failure, from family grief, from the insults of poverty; Poe drank, not with pleasure, but like a barbarian, hastily saving time, quite American, as if he were committing some murder, as if he needed something to stifle in himself.

Mary Clemm attributed Poe”s alcoholism to his love for Virginia, believing that his wife”s illness and deterioration could not be borne on his own, without alcohol. In one of his letters to a friend in 1848, Edgar Poe wrote:

With each new period of aggravation I loved my wife more and more tenderly and held on desperately to her life. But being by nature a sensitive and unusually nervous man, I at times lapsed into madness, which was followed by long periods of terrible enlightenment. In states of perfect unconsciousness I drank God only knows how much and how often. Of course, my enemies attribute insanity to the abuse of wine, but not vice versa.

At the end of August 1849, Edgar Poe joined the Sons of Moderation temperance society, vowing never again to drink alcohol. It is not known whether Poe succeeded in keeping his promise; there is much speculation on the subject. It is also impossible to prove that alcohol poisoning was the cause of the writer”s death.

Analysis. Features of style and subject matter

Edgar Poe”s first serious poetic experience, Tamerlane and Other Poems, is clearly influenced by the English Romantics: Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and in particular Byron, whose personality and work he was so strongly attracted to. The poems were imitative, which, according to literary scholar Yu.V. Kovalev, “was the norm in the poetry of the American South. The motifs of Poe”s early poetry were also typical of European romantic lyricism: longing, loneliness, disillusionment, decline, death.

From 1830, the beginning of the mature stage of his work, the central motifs of Poe”s lyrics became love and death. Together they merged into a subject which the poet considered the most poetic in the world – the death of a beautiful woman. Statistics confirm this: of the thirty canonical poems that have been published since 1831, eleven deal with death, eight with love, two with love and death, and nine with other themes, with eight of the eleven “death” poems dealing with the death of a beautiful woman. Poe saw the main aim of poetry in achieving an effect, the meaning of which was reduced to the emotional and psychological impact on the reader, to cause him mental excitement, awe. That is why the center of his lyrics is love and death, two events which, according to the unanimous opinion of the Romantics, had a powerful emotional charge.

The foundation of Poe”s entire poetic theory is “Supreme Beauty,” a concept that exists objectively, but is completely unknowable. The poet, however, is a guide to the world of beauty, and his work is the link through which the reader can come into contact with this world. Poe finds the sources of beauty in three main spheres of reality: nature, art, and the world of human feelings, among which love and the grief of the loss of the beloved have a special place. Strict order, proportionality and harmony are Poe”s pillars of beauty. Any disproportion, any lack of a sense of proportion, including pathos and moralizing, Poe firmly and emphatically rejected.

The images in Poe”s poetry are vague and indefinite, their ultimate purpose being to stimulate the reader”s imagination with emotional overtones. Thus the critic W. W. Brooks noted, “Believing that ”in indeterminacy is the soul of poetry,” he sought to embrace ”the unknown, the obscure, the incomprehensible.” The images of his lyrics did not evoke images of reality, but awakened associations vague, distant, ominous or melancholic, majestic and sad. The vivid and profound imagery of his poetry is a consequence of his attitude of indeterminacy. At the same time, his system of images has two features that should be taken into account: first, his metaphors are gathered around a group of symbols, which for the reader are landmarks in the overall canvas of the poem; second, the metaphors themselves are internally drawn towards symbolism and often work as symbols, making the work multilayered.

Х. Auden, in his essay on the life and works of Edgar Poe, states that none of Edgar Poe”s contemporaries “had expended so much energy and talent in knowing the laws of prosody and avoiding errors in the sound structure of the poem. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of Poe”s poetry is its musicality, by which the poet himself understood the entire aural organization of verse (including stanzas, rhythm, metrics, rhyme, rhyming systems, strophics, refrain, etc.) in organic unity with figurative and semantic content. Poe consciously sought to find new means in poetry – he experimented with the size and stanzas, meticulously, up to a mathematical approach, calculating the internal rhyme, alliteration, achieving rhythmic and musicality, which Bryusov called undying. All these elements, interrelated with each other, serve as an indispensable element for Poe to achieve the main goal – the emotional and psychological impact on the reader. All of the particular principles and means of organizing the poem are subordinated to this effect, which the author himself called the “totality effect. In an article devoted to the analysis of N. Hawthorne”s work, Edgar Poe developed one of the aesthetic principles which he steadfastly adhered to:

If the very first phrase does not contribute to a single effect, then the writer has failed from the beginning. There should not be a single word in the entire work that does not directly or indirectly lead to a single intended goal. This is how, carefully and skillfully, a picture is finally created that gives those who contemplate it a sense of the most complete satisfaction.

Poe”s early stories are predominantly parodic and experimental. Parody in them is a form of repulsion from the literary canons of traditional Romanticism, a step on the way to understanding the laws of the genre and developing his own style. In “Metzengerstein,” originally titled “In Imitation of the German,” the horror of the German Romantics, in “The Date” the English romanticism of the Byronic kind, in the stories “The Duc de l”Oelette” and “Bon-Bon” the bombast and liveliness of French romanticism. Despite the apprentice nature of Poe”s early short stories, already in it begin to be traced stylistic techniques, which in the future he will bring to perfection – the interweaving of the terrible and the comic, close attention to detail and vivid poetic imagery. Already in his first experiments, parodic and satirical, the genre that became one of Poe”s calling cards – the psychological novel – was taking shape.

Literary scholar VM Fritsche wrote: “Gloomy fiction, which is gradually disappearing from European literature, burst out again originally and brightly in the “terrible stories” by Poe – it was an epilogue to romanticism. Poe”s so-called psychological or “horror” stories are characterized by a plot depicting grim events and catastrophe, the tragic changes in human consciousness, gripped by fear and losing control over itself. They are typified by an ominous, depressing setting, a general atmosphere of hopelessness and despair. The mystical nature of these stories is due to the author”s desire to unravel the metamorphosis of the human psyche and learn its secret properties and pathologies, exposed in “abnormal” conditions. Of all psychological states of man, Poe was particularly interested in fear: fear of death, life, loneliness, insanity, people and the future. The pinnacle of Poe”s psychological short stories is widely recognized as The Fall of the House of Usher, a story depicting no longer the fear of life or death, but the fear of life and death, causing mental stupefaction and provoking the destruction of personality. The origins of Poe”s interest in such motifs and themes can be found not only in the system of views of this artistic movement, but also in his own worldview, which in adulthood was formed in an atmosphere of fading, futility, and aimlessness. Growing up in Virginia, Poe “mourned” the ideals of the intellectual aristocratic South, to be replaced by the oppressive ideals of Philadelphia and New York, the centers of bourgeois and commercial America.

One of the psychological mysteries of particular interest to Edgar Poe was the innate human tendency to violate prohibition, a phenomenon he called the “imp of perverse. It was most vividly embodied in the stories “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart. In these, as in several other works, the inner motivation of the characters committing forbidden acts – from harmless innocence to murder – cannot be explained rationally. Poe attributes this destructive desire for self-destruction, balancing on the edge of an abyss, to human nature as such, but also considers it an anomaly, an aberration from the mental norm. Wishing to systematize and formalize his ideas, in 1845 he wrote the short story “The Uncontradiction,” in the preamble to which he described the properties of this phenomenon:

“It is mobile (from Fr., ”motive reason”) without motive, motive not motivirt (distorted German motivated). At its prompting, we act without any comprehensible purpose… We do so precisely because we should not do so. Theoretically, no reason could be more unreasonable; but in fact, no reason is stronger. With some minds and under some conditions it becomes absolutely irresistible. I am as certain of what I breathe as I am that the consciousness of the harm or wrongness of a given action is often the only invincible force that–and nothing else–causes us to take that action. And this overwhelming tendency to do harm to oneself for the sake of harm does not lend itself to analysis or to finding hidden elements in it.

The categories of space and time occupy a crucial place in the artistic structure of Poe”s psychological short stories. In such stories as The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, Berenice, Ligeia, Morella, The Well and the Pendulum, space is confined and limited, the man in it cut off from the world, and as a consequence he himself and his consciousness become the object and subject of close analysis. In other short stories, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” and “The Man of the Crowd,” the confined space, that is, the physical space, is replaced by the psychological space. The hero”s consciousness is still cut off from the world and concentrated on himself, and his very existence is perceived as a prologue to disaster, to death. The category of time in Poe”s psychological stories often has no reference to a specific chronological or historical moment. What is portrayed is a moment of existence, realized on the eve of catastrophe or death, which is both compact and limitless. It accommodates not only the agony of the perishing consciousness of the hero, but also his entire history: the flow of emotions and memories experienced.

For Edgar Poe, the activity of the human intellect was of no less interest than his psychology. It is most clearly seen in the so-called detective or, as the author himself defined them, logical stories (tales of ratiocination). He included Murder in the Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Rogers and The Stolen Letter. Poe”s fame as the ancestor of the detective lies not in the fact that he wrote the first detective story in the history of literature, but in the fact that he developed and applied the principles of the future genre, introduced its basic elements, created its form and structure. From his logical stories to the modern genre has moved a stable pair of protagonists: the hero – the narrator, to which the third element is added a hero with mediocre abilities, lacking originality of mind. In Poe it is the prefect G., who embodies the indirect traditionalism of police detective work and serves as the background for the most vivid disclosure of the hero”s talents, making them already surprising. There are also some differences between Poe”s first stories and contemporary instances of the genre. Thus, the subsequent development of the detective has changed the image of the narrator. In Poe”s he is clever rather than stupid, only his mind is mediocre and devoid of the hero”s intellectual abilities, flexibility and intuition. The structure of Poe”s logical stories, however, has been “canonized” in the genre of detective literature almost without change. It includes: information about the crime reported to the reader; a description of the futile efforts of the police; an appeal to the hero for help; and the startling uncovering of the mystery. It necessarily concludes with a detailed explanation that allows us to trace the hero”s train of thought, with details and details of the intellectual process leading to the solution.

One of the most important features of Poe”s logical stories is that the main subject at the center of the author”s attention is not the investigation, but the person conducting it. The character is at the center of the narrative, while everything else is subordinated in one way or another to the task of uncovering him. The structure of the plot in these stories is to a certain extent typical and has two layers: surface and deep. On the surface – the actions of the main character, in the depth – his thought process. The paucity of the external layer, the sluggish development of the plot are compensated for by intense internal processes. Edgar Poe is not satisfied with a simple description of the intellectual activity of the hero, he “dissects” it, demonstrating in detail the work of thought, its logical principles. The magnificent solution of the riddle is designed to show the beauty and inexhaustible possibilities of the mind, contrasted with the chaotic world of the mysterious and unsolved. In the detective novels, Poe tried to model a mind in which intellectual activity is not subject to the rigid control of logic and relies in its freedom on imagination and fantasy. Therefore, it is not entirely accurate to judge that Auguste Dupin uses exclusively the inductive-deductive method in his search for clues. It remains at the core, with Poe giving primacy to intuition, a special property of thinking that complements induction and deduction. The characters in Poe”s logical stories possess a nontrivial, creative type of intellect, capable of sudden insights, which he steadily runs through logical analysis. Poe”s detective stories are an ode to the intellect, whose problem of activity is one of the most significant in the writer”s entire oeuvre.

Edgar Poe”s science fiction stories can be roughly divided into several categories: popular science, “technological,” and satirical. The fictionality of Poe”s popular science stories is rather conventional. The stories belonging to this category, “Three Sundays in One Week” and “The Sphinx”, display a characteristic feature of all of Poe”s fiction: the “scientific phenomenon” in them is merely a means, a device used to achieve the artistic aim in view. At the same time, this phenomenon appears as a specific scientific fact or observation, with the fiction seeming “imaginary.” However, most of Poe”s science fiction stories are based on a different scheme: the scientific fact in them is often simply absent. There is only an assumption that is not directly related to it, and the fiction is, in the words of Y. V. Kovalyov, the most “fantastic.

In Edgar Poe”s science fiction satire (The Conversation with the Mummy, Mellonta Tauta, and The Thousand Second Tales of Scheherazade) science is an object of ridicule, an auxiliary means for constructing the situation necessary for the development of the satirical plot. Science fiction in these stories is, as a rule, conventional and pseudoscientific, so the situations themselves have a grotesque and farcical character. All of Edgar Poe”s satire, including fantasy, is directed against 19th century American bourgeois civilization. He vehemently denied American democracy as a social and political system and republicanism as a state principle. In Poe”s works, not only satirical and not only science fiction, the words “crowd,” “mob,” “mob” and “mass” are often used, bearing an exclusively negative connotation.

Poe first turned to technological fiction in The Unusual Adventure of a Hans Pfaal. In this story, one of the main features of Poe”s fiction as such – its verisimilitude – was evident. Although the author called his work a “game of the mind” (fr. jeu d”esprit), the purpose of this game was to make the reader believe in something unbelievable. The desire for verisimilitude was also behind the choice of the structure of this short story, a “story within a story”. In working on it, Poe developed techniques that later became firmly embedded in the aesthetics of the science fiction genre and are still used today. In the preface to the edition of Adventures in Grotesques et Arabesques, Poe unknowingly formalized one of the most important principles of science fiction literature that has not lost relevance to this day: “The peculiarity of Hans Pfaal lies in the attempt to achieve plausibility, using scientific principles to the extent that the fantastic nature of the subject itself allows for it.”

Guy de Maupassant, noting a certain affinity of Poe with E. T. A. Hoffmann, who also had a predilection for fantastic plots, wrote in 1883 that the stunning impression of their stories is explained by “…the unsurpassed skill of these writers, their special ability to come into contact with fiction and scare the reader with those natural facts, in which, however, there is a share of unattainable and even impossible”. Emile Zola, also calling Edgar Poe and Hoffmann among the “greatest masters” of the fantasy genre, wrote: “The American storyteller, telling of hallucinations and miracles, shows yet in the reasoning of a rare rigorous logic and with mathematical precision uses the method of deduction.

Assessing Creativity and Personality

Edgar Poe”s early work was extremely sparsely represented in thematic and review publications and, as a consequence, was hardly criticized. In isolated instances, the difficulty of perceiving poetry and the richness of the author”s imagination have been noted, and the possible success of contemporary readers in the future has been read. After the first serious recognition associated with winning the short story competition, and the further increase in popularity until his death, the attention of professional criticism to Poe”s work steadily increased. During his lifetime Poe received predominantly positive reviews, which repeatedly noted the power of his imagination and potential intellect, his fine verse, and his sense of style. The praise was occasionally diluted by retaliatory attacks from those affected by Poe”s harsh criticism and who felt a personal grudge against him. Even these, however, often gave Poe”s work high marks.

John Lathrobe, in his memoirs, described his impressions of the Folio Club”s Stories, which he read in 1833 to J. Kennedy and J. Miller, the other jurors of the Baltimore Saturday Visitor:

Everything they heard was stamped with the stamp of genius. There was not the slightest sign of uncertainty in the construction of a sentence, not a single unfortunate turn, not a single misplaced comma, not trite maxims or lengthy arguments that took away the power of deep thought. There was a rare harmony of logic and imagination…

In 1845 the poet and essayist James Russell Lowell, with whom Poe was repeatedly published in Graham”s Magazine, also noted his genius, adding that among contemporary writers he “knows no one who has displayed a talent more varied and surprising. Edgar Allan Tennyson, A. Conan Doyle, H. F. Lovecraft, H. L. Borges, and S. King, writers who were influenced by the author of The Raven, spoke very highly of Edgar Allan Poe. Tennyson called Poe “the most Original American Genius,” and Borges wrote that he “sacrificed his life to work, his human destiny to immortality.” The modern master of horror literature, Stephen King, noted that “Poe was not just a writer in the genre of detective or mysticism, he was the first.” Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Arthur Conan Doyle gave Poe”s merits figuratively:

Poe”s fame has had its ups and downs, and today it is fashionable among “advanced intellectuals” to belittle his importance both as a master of the word and as an influential author; but any mature and thoughtful critic would find it difficult to deny the enormous value of his work and the compelling power of his intelligence to break new ground in the arts. <…> Some of Poe”s stories possess an almost absolute perfection of artistic form that makes them veritable beacons in the field of short prose.

Edgar Allan Poe, who scattered, with his ingenious carelessness, the seeds from which so many modern literary forms sprouted, was the father of the detective story and delineated its borders with such completeness that I do not see how his followers can find new territory that they dare call their own… Writers have to walk a narrow path, constantly discerning the traces of Edgar Poe who passed before them…

For a certain period (especially since the 1870s) after Edgar Poe”s death, criticism tended to view the writer”s work and personality negatively. This was partly due to the fact that for a long time the only source of information about the writer”s life was the biography written by Griswold, and Poe”s work was viewed and evaluated through the prism of the image it presented. Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson said he saw “nothing” in The Raven, and its author was disparagingly called a “jingle man,” probably referring to Poe”s “excessive” love of sound and refrain. William Butler Yates repeatedly spoke negatively of Poe, calling him “vulgar and mediocre” in a letter from 1899. Nevertheless, in the same letter he noted that he “greatly admired a few poems and a few pages of Poe”s prose, mostly critical. The poet Richard Henry Stoddard wrote in an 1853 article that “as a poet Poe ranks high, though much of his poetry is unreadable.” Aldous Huxley, in “Vulgarity in Literature,” wrote that Poe”s lyrics were “excessively poetic”: “The most sensitive and exalted man in the world should be hard for us to forgive if he had a diamond ring on every finger. Poe does such a thing in his poetry.”

Often the main complaints in assessments of Poe”s work have been about the quality of his criticism, which is known to have been harsh and uncompromising. At the same time, Henry James, who regarded the exorbitant admiration for Edgar Poe as “evidence of a primitive stage in the development of mental faculties,” notes its positive sides: “Poe”s judgments are haughty, wry and vulgar, but they also contain a fair measure of wit and insight, and in places, sometimes with enviable frequency, we find a successful, penetrating sentence hidden under a passage of empty literalism. Ernest Hemingway gave a contradictory assessment of Edgar Poe”s work: “We had brilliant masters in America. Edgar Poe is a brilliant master. His stories are brilliant, beautifully constructed – and dead.

One of the first Russian writers to pay attention to Edgar Poe was F. M. Dostoevsky. After a long period during which occasional and scattered translations of Poe of unknown authorship appeared in periodicals, the first critical review came out in 1861 and immediately from the acknowledged master of Russian literature (prepared by 01.12.1861). In the introductory article to Three Stories by Edgar Poe, Dostoevsky on two pages analyzed in detail the writer”s works presented to him. Recognizing Poe”s great talent, he saw in him “the product of his country,” which was more of a claim than a compliment. But he also noted the striking power of his imagination, which had a trait unique in distinguishing him from other writers–the power of detail. Even the generally positive assessment of Dostoevsky in his note did not generate the proper interest in the work of the American writer. For another 25 years he remained an incidental figure in Russian literary life.

A more detailed study of the biography and analysis of Edgar Poe”s works is carried out by November 1861 in a 29-page scholarly publication by E.  A. Lopushinsky”s “Edgar Poe (American Poet)” in the monthly magazine Russian Word.

The peak of Edgar Poe”s fame in Russia came during the Silver Age. An important role was played by the successful correspondence of his aesthetics to the mood and tastes of the public, which at the end of the nineteenth century was seized by a sense of misery and disillusionment. In the conditions of “the dominance of realism,” the gloom and mystery of the new writer was extremely enthusiastic readers, eager to experiment. Poe”s work had a significant impact on the “older” generation of Russian symbolists, among whom K. Balmont and V. Bryusov occupy a special place. Both poets at different times published collections of translations of Poe”s works, accompanying them with life sketches, commentaries and critical articles in which they assessed his works and personality. Balmont noted the innovation in the work of the American writer, especially emphasizing his achievements in the field of English-language poetry. Poe”s lyrics were highly appreciated by Briusov, who called it “the most remarkable phenomenon in world poetry” and the source of many currents in his contemporary literature. Edgar Poe”s poetry evoked one of the strongest feelings of “blood ties” with the past and nostalgia for the early period of Alexander Blok, who described it succinctly and figuratively: “Edgar Poe is an embodied ecstasy, “a planet without orbit” in the emerald glow of Lucifer, who carried in his heart immeasurable sharpness and complexity, who suffered deeply and died tragically.

For a long time Poe himself mystified the American and Russian public, as well as literary critics, with his “recollections” of his stay in St. Petersburg in 1829, but he had never actually been in Russia. The Soviet writer V. P. Kataev also succumbed to Poe”s hoax by including a reference to Poe”s alleged meeting with Alexander Pushkin in St. Petersburg in his novel Time, Forward!

Literature

During his lifetime Edgar Poe was recognized mainly as a literary critic. James Russell Lowell called him America”s most fearless critic, metaphorically suggesting that he often “wrote not with ink but with hydrocyanic acid. A favorite target of Poe”s criticism was the Boston poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose poetry he called moralistic, secondary and unoriginal. The fight against plagiarism and imitation was one of the hallmarks of Poe”s critical work, which was essentially aimed at improving the quality of American literature, bringing it up to the level of European literature. Unlike many of his contemporary critics, Poe devoted much attention specifically to the problem of artistic excellence. His judgments were based on his own concept and principles of the creative process, set forth in the articles Philosophy of Creation, The Poetic Principle, The Theory of Verse, and others that have become paradigmatic.

Poe was one of the first American writers to become much more popular in Europe than in his homeland. He was an indisputable authority among the Symbolists, who saw in his poems and ideas the origins of their own aesthetics, and almost unanimously evaluated his work as the forerunner of European Symbolism. The predominant right to discover this phenomenon belongs to the French poets of the second half of the nineteenth century, among whom Charles Baudelaire – the author of the first translations of Poe into French, who introduced him to Europe – holds a special place.

In the six-volume Complete Works of Charles Baudelaire, three volumes comprise his remarkable translations from Edgar Poe, who became “cause célèbre” for his own war with the philistine spirit of French mass culture, became his alter ego, his “literary brother-double”. At the very beginning of his many years of work on translations of Edgar”s short stories, Baudelaire wrote in an article: “Do you know why I am so passionate about translating E. Poe? Because we are alike.” Baudelaire saw, or wanted to see, in the biography of the American genius a reflection of his own destiny. Jean-Paul Sartre emphasized the typological similarity of creative individuals who lived in different cultural traditions but shared the same sense of their destiny: “The definitions of ”poet” and ”martyr” beg for language, his existence is transformed into destiny, and adversity begins to look like the result of predestination. This is where the coincidences take on their meaning: “Poe becomes, as it were, a picture of Baudelaire himself.

А.  Zverev wrote: “From Poe”s legacy Symbolism drew especially much – both for its artistic theories, for its poetic principles, and for the entire spiritual orientation expressed in it. The work of the French predecessors of Symbolism (Charles Baudelaire, T. Gautier, Ch. M. Leconte de Lisle) and the Symbolists themselves (their experience was adopted primarily by the Decadents: D. Merezhkovsky, Z. Hippius, F. Sologub, as well as K. Balmont and V. Bryusov. The talent of Edgar Poe, the first translations of whose works appeared in Russia in the middle of the nineteenth century, was appreciated only half a century later, largely thanks to the latter two poets. In addition to the fact that Balmont and Bryusov are the authors of many canonical translations of his lyrics and prose, the influence of the American author”s aesthetics can also be seen in their own work.

In 1928, M. Maeterlinck (close to Symbolism) admitted: “Edgar Poe had on me, as in the end on my entire generation, the most significant, unceasing and profound influence. I owe it to him to awaken in me a sense of the mysterious and a passion for the otherworldly.

The central and central place in Edgar Poe”s prose legacy is occupied by his short stories. Following the experiments of Irving, Hawthorne, and other pioneers of the short story genre, Poe completed its formation, giving it features without which the American romantic novel is no longer imaginable. But Poe found his practical achievements in this field insufficient, so in the 1940s he published a series of articles on Nathaniel Hawthorne in which, based on his own and others” experiences, he laid out the theoretical foundations of the genre.

Poe”s important contribution to the development of American and world short stories is the practical development of some of their genre subtypes. He is not without reason considered the founder of the logical (detective), science fiction and psychological stories. In this sense, A. Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, J. Verne, H. Wells, S. Crane, A. Beers, R. L. Stevenson, G. James and many others should be considered Poe”s literary heirs and followers. All of them, with the exception of Henry James, recognized this “kinship. Conan Doyle”s assessment of Edgar Poe”s contribution to the detective genre, given by him on March 1, 1909, in London at a memorial dinner to mark the centennial of the poet”s birth, at which the English writer presided, is remarkable. Noting Poe”s contribution to the development of literature for French, and, to the same extent, for English writers, Doyle said, among other things: “Poe”s original inventive mind was always the first to discover new roads for others to follow to the end. Where was the detective story at all until Poe breathed life into it?” The American writer”s undeniable influence on detective literature even allowed A. I. Kuprin to remark that “…Conan Doyle, who flooded the entire globe with detective stories, still fits, together with his Sherlock Holmes, like a case, into a small work of genius by E. Poe – Crime in the Morgue.

Edgar Poe influenced the works of H.F. Lovecraft, H. Evers, S. King, and Edogawa Rampo, whose pseudonym is the Japanese pronunciation of “Edgar Allan Poe. Jules Verne and Herbert Wells, from whose works modern fiction grew, unanimously recognized themselves as pupils and continuators of Poe. Verne dedicated to him the novel The Ice Sphinx, conceived as a sequel to The Adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym. Arthur Conan Doyle, the popularizer of the genre of detective literature, wrote: “If every author of any work in which he borrowed something from Poe invested a tenth of the royalties he received for it with a monument to his teacher, a pyramid as high as Cheops could be built.

Edgar Poe had a great influence on Latin American literature of the twentieth century and, in particular, on such of its directions as “magic realism”, for example, represented by such representatives as Horacio Quiroga, Borges, Julio Cortázar. Thus, the Uruguayan writer Quiroga was even called “the South American Edgar Poe,” and Cortázar in one interview said: “Edgar Poe undoubtedly influenced me… As a child I discovered Edgar Poe and expressed my admiration for him by writing a poem, which I called, well, of course, The Raven. Literary references and reminiscences from the works of Edgar Poe are “scattered” in many short stories of the Argentine writer.

In addition, in 1956, Cortázar published a two-volume work by a North American writer in his Spanish translations, and it was a great pleasure for him to translate it, as he himself said a few years later.

Edgar Poe has been called the “father of modern psychological prose. In his psychological stories he achieved a remarkable truthfulness in depicting the dark sides of human nature, which is akin to F.M. Dostoyevsky. The Russian classic, of course, much deeper into the human heart than Poe, but he recognized the American writer”s striking fidelity in showing the human soul, marveled at the power of his insight. His interest in the psychological analysis of Poe culminated in the publication of three of his stories in the magazine Vremya, which Dostoevsky provided with a short accompanying article. In 1924 Valery Bryusov called Poe “a direct predecessor and in many respects a teacher of Dostoevsky. Alexander Nikolyukin, a scholar of American literature, agrees with the Russian critic: “In Poe we meet for the first time the psychological analysis of the ”irrational,” from the point of view of common sense, acts of heroes which were so subtly developed by Dostoevsky in The Double and Notes from the Underground.

Edgar Poe also had an undeniable influence on Vladimir Nabokov, who in 1963 said in an interview that between his tenth and fifteenth years in St. Petersburg he read in English, among other works, the works of Edgar Poe. And in 1966, answering Alfred Appel”s question, “Which of the great American writers do you appreciate the most?” he said: “When I was young, I liked Poe.

Cosmology

In 1848, Edgar Poe wrote Eureka, a prose poem in which he speculated on questions of the origin of the universe. The author did not consider his work to be a scientific work, but a work of art, since in working on it he did not use induction and deduction as standard for scientific discoveries, but relied solely on intuition, supported by the basic ideas and concepts of modern astronomy. The daughter of the French poet Theophile Gautier, Judith Gautier, wrote in 1864: “It would be a mistake to think that Edgar Poe, in creating Eureka, intended only to write a poem; he was absolutely convinced that he had discovered the great secret of the universe, and he used the full power of his talent to develop his idea.

“The Eureka was not actually accepted by the writer”s contemporaries; it was forgotten for many years. Critics regarded it very unfavorably: it was considered absurd, the author was accused of heresy and blasphemy. Poe foresaw this, believing that the modern generation was incapable of understanding it, but he was convinced that one day, albeit in the distant future, it would be appreciated. Poe regarded Eureka as the major work of his life and believed that the correctness of his ideas would be proved and his name would be immortalized.

In spite of the fact that “Eureka”, in the modern view, contains many scientific errors, the ideas outlined in it preceded the Big Bang theory by 80 years, in its pages the photometric paradox was solved for the first time. Edgar Poe anticipated some discoveries of the XX century in astronomy and cosmogony: the concepts of divergent and eccentric galaxies, the pulsating universe, some principles of non-Euclidean geometry. In his work one can trace a vague conjecture about the existence of the noosphere, the theory of which was not formed by Vernadsky until the 1940s. Valery Bryusov, the first researcher of “Eureka” in Russia, wrote that its author “with his flair of an artist guessed many things that modern science refused to accept. According to the English astrophysicist Arthur Eddington, Poe “destroyed infinity,” that is, he recognized the finiteness of the universe with the infinity of space. Albert Einstein, in one of his letters in 1934, noted that “”Eureka” is a very beautiful achievement of a remarkably independent mind.” In 1994, the Italian astronomer Alberto Cappi wrote a paper exploring the scientific component of the poem in prose.

<…> Poe, based on metaphysical assumptions, constructed a cosmological model extremely important for the history of ideas, because he was the first and only one to grasp Newton”s idea of an evolving universe even before relativity and relativistic models emerged. In fact, the theory of an expanding universe is often considered a consequence of the general theory of relativity, whereas it could also be arrived at using Newtonian physics, which was proved mathematically only after the advent of relativity, and after Hubble proved that the universe is expanding. Before Einstein and Hubble, no one had disproved the theory of a static universe. No one except Edgar Allan Poe.

Cryptography

Edgar Poe”s genuine interest in cryptography finally took shape in 1839, when in the pages of Alexander”s Weekly Messenger he revealed his talent as a cryptographer by successfully deciphering messages sent to his editorial office. In July 1841, in Graham”s Magazine, Poe published an essay entitled “A Few Words on Secrecy,” in which he gave his views on the subject of this science. Throughout his association with Alexander”s Weekly Messenger he solved more than a hundred readers” ciphers. Poe owed his success in cryptography not so much to his in-depth knowledge of the field (his primary method of decryption was frequency analysis) as to his knowledge of the newspaper and magazine market conditions. He understood that most readers had no clue about the methods of solving substitution ciphers and used this as his advantage. The sensation that Poe created by easily and successfully solving the problems sent to him was instrumental in popularizing cryptography in print.

In later years, special interest was aroused in two ciphers, the solution of which Poe never published. Tyler”s ciphers were the name of the reader who sent them to the editors. The first was solved in 1992; it encoded a passage from the tragedy Cato by the English playwright Joseph Addison. The second cipher was solved in 2000 using a computer. Behind it there was a fragment of an unknown author”s text. There is an assumption that the author of both ciphers is Edgar Poe himself, hiding under a pseudonym. He is also attributed the possible authorship of “Bale”s cryptograms”, the full content of which has not yet been solved.

Poe”s influence on cryptography had a lasting effect and was not limited to the increased public interest in it during his lifetime.He had a strong influence on the prominent American cryptologist William Friedman, whose interest in the field first emerged as a child, after reading The Golden Bug. In 1940, Friedman and a team of cryptanalysts cracked the Japanese Purple cipher used during World War II

Monuments

In 1921, a sculpture by Moses Ezekiel was erected in Baltimore on the initiative of the Edgar Poe Memorial Society. It was intended to be erected in 1909 to mark the centenary of his birth, but due to a lack of funds, several accidents, and the outbreak of World War I, it wasn”t erected until 12 years later. In 1986 it was moved from Wyman Park to the square across from the University of Baltimore Law School, where it remains today.

A monument by Charles Rudy, personally funded by Poe”s admirer, Dr. George Edward Barksdale, was donated to the “people of Virginia” and erected in 1959. A bronze statue of the writer on a pedestal of pink granite stands in Virginia”s Capitol Square in Richmond.

To commemorate the 165th anniversary of the writer”s death, on October 5, 2014, a monument, “Poe Returning to Boston,” was unveiled in Boston. The full-length bronze statue, by Stephanie Rocknack, depicts Poe with a suitcase in his hand, walking toward the house where the writer”s parents lived in his early years; a crow flies beside him. The monument is made and installed with funds from Boston organizations: The Edgar Poe Foundation and the city”s Art Commission, as well as a donation from writer Stephen King.

Museums and Sites of Memory

In the United States there are several organizations dedicated to the memory of Edgar Allan Poe, which are located in places connected in one way or another with the writer”s life. None of the houses where Poe lived as a child have survived to this day. The oldest surviving building is the house in Richmond, which has housed the Edgar Allan Poe Museum since 1922. In the past, the Southern Literary Messenger, his place of work from 1835 to 1837, was located not far from the house. Poe, however, never lived in the house. The museum exhibits many documents: original manuscripts, letters, first editions of his works, and personal belongings.

The Baltimore House Museum, where Poe lived with his family from 1833 to 1835, is located in Baltimore. The museum displays some of John Allan and Edgar Poe”s personal belongings, but the main exhibit is the house itself. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city and is also the residence of the Edgar Poe Society of Baltimore.

Of the houses that Poe and Virginia and Mary Clemm rented in Philadelphia, only the latter has survived. In it the writer lived from 1843 to 1844. Today it is the National History Museum, overseen by the U.S. National Park Service. The house that was the last in the life of the writer and his wife has also survived. It is a cottage in the Bronx, New York, located at the north end of a city park that also bears the writer”s name. These days the house, the interior of which has been authentically restored by the Bronx County Historical Society, functions as a museum.

On January 19, 1989, a plaque was placed on the facade of a building on Boylston Street in Boston, marking the approximate place where Edgar Poe was born. The actual house, at 62 Carver Street, has not survived. In 2009, a square in Boston at Charles and Boylston Street was named after the writer. A monument, “Poe Returning to Boston,” has been erected there.

Philately

In 1948 the Hungarian Post Office issued a series of commemorative stamps dedicated to famous writers of the world, including Edgar Allan Poe. The stamp commemorating the American writer shows his portrait and a fragment of the plot of The Raven. On October 7, 1949, the centenary of Poe”s death, the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative stamp featuring him. In 1973, on the 50th anniversary of Interpol, Nicaragua Post issued 12 commemorative stamps dedicated to the most famous detective heroes of works of fiction. One of them features Auguste Dupin, the hero of Edgar Allan Poe”s detective stories. There is also a San Marino stamp issued in 2009 dedicated to Dupin. Commemorative stamps were issued in Bulgaria and Sao Tome and Principe in honor of the bicentennial of Edgar Poe”s birth.

Numismatics

Several commemorative medals were issued in honor of Edgar Poe. In 1948 in France was made medal, timed to the centennial anniversary of the writer”s death. Its obverse depicts a portrait of Edgar Poe, on the reverse – the subjects of his poetry. In 1962, a series of commemorative medals depicting members of the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, among whom was included in it in 1910 Edgar Allan Poe. The medal was available in two sizes and materials: 76 mm in bronze and 44 mm in bronze and silver. At an exhibition organized by the American Numismatic Association, which was held in Baltimore in 2008, was presented a new commemorative medal dedicated to Poe. On the obverse was a portrait of the writer, on the reverse – three roses and a glass of cognac, as a tribute to his secret admirer.

“Poe has much more in common with the writers and artists of the twenty-first century than with his contemporaries,” was how Professor Paul Lewis of Boston College explained the American writer”s lasting influence on popular culture. But Poe was not a writer “detached” from his time – striving not only for popularity, but also for commercial success, he wrote with the public”s tastes in mind. Time has shown that interest in his person and works, undergoing multiple adaptations, has not faded even after many years. There are special illustrated editions of his books, including for children, comic books, souvenirs. Movie studios around the world continue to refer to the works of the American writer, his work has been a source of inspiration for many musicians and performers of various genres. The Baltimore Ravens NFL team was named after the poem “The Raven”, and the Detective Writers of America annually presents the Edgar Allan Poe Award in literature, film and theater.

The image of the writer

Not only his works, but also the figure of the writer himself, the legends and speculation surrounding it, and his mysterious death as a result, have attracted the attention of the public for many years. In popular culture, Edgar Allan Poe is often presented as a “mad genius,” the basis of which was the widely known ordeal, the inner struggle of the writer and, undoubtedly, his works themselves. Another reason for this portrayal of Poe was the widespread assumption that the writer, who often used first-person narrative, portrayed himself as a character in many of his works, blurring the line between the literary hero and the author. In film, the role of the American writer has been played at various times by Henry Wohlthall, Joseph Cotten, Ben Chaplin, John Cusack, and other actors (unavailable link).

Screenplays of works

Edgar Allan Poe”s work has had a considerable influence on cinema. Alfred Hitchcock, on whom the writer”s life and work made a profound impression, wrote: “I involuntarily compare what I have tried to express in the movies with what Edgar Allan Poe expressed in his stories. The first adaptations of his works appeared in the early twentieth century, and since then not a decade has passed without a new film based on any of his work. Associated Press journalist Ben Nachols noted that “Edgar Poe”s profile on IMDb would put even the most productive screenwriter to shame.”

In 1914, American director David Griffith”s The Avenging Conscience, based on three works by the writer: The Well and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, and Annabelle Lee, was released. In this work, Griffith”s torment of the protagonist”s conscience over the murder of his uncle ultimately turns out to be a bad dream. In 1928 Jean Epstein, a representative of the French film avant-garde, created the film The Fall of the House of Usher based on the short story of the same name and the writer”s short story The Oval Portrait. After several pictures of the silent era, a series of films based on Poe”s works, starring horror stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, were released in the 1930s. In the 1960s Roger Corman, the “king of B-movies,” directed a series of films based on Poe”s works, most of them starring Vincent Price. Corman said that while working on these films Price “became practically an alter ego of Poe himself.” He also noted that “despite the fact that the main character in the films often was not the writer himself, these characters were the embodiment of some secret elements of his subconscious. In 1968 the film Three Steps in Delirium was released, three episodes of which were based on Poe”s short stories Metzengerstein, William Wilson, and Don”t Lay Your Head on the Devil.

In 1954, Eric Romer made an experimental short film “Berenice” in which the actors do not say a word, and the voice-over, reading a slightly revised text of the novel of the same name in Baudelaire”s translation.

In 2007, one episode of Stuart Gordon”s “Masters of Horror” series was dedicated to Poe”s “Black Cat.

Although the plot of the 2009 film The Accuser does not directly replicate the plot of the story with a similar title, director Michael Cuesta admitted that his work is ideologically related to Poe”s work. In 2012, James McTigue”s detective thriller The Raven, about the last days of the writer”s life, was released. In 2014, Brad Anderson directed “Resident of the Damned,” his interpretation of the story “The System of Dr. Smol and Professor Perrault,” continuing the life of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the big screen.

In 2013 the cartoon “Unusual Tales” was released by director Raoul Garcia and artist Stéphane Lecoq. The cartoon is an adaptation of five stories by Edgar Allan Poe: “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Well and the Pendulum,” “The Mask of the Red Death,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Truth About What Happened to Mr. Valdemar.

Music

Edgar Poe considered music to be the highest of the arts, which is why his poems are uniquely musical. One critic has said that “the pleasure one derives from reading Edgar Poe”s poetry does not depend on one”s knowledge of the English language. The emotional effect of his poems on the reader is similar in effect to that of music. Composers who sensed the affinity of Poe”s poetry with this art form have turned to it in their work. Poe”s work has been adapted and formed the basis of symphonic poems, oratorios, operas, romances, etc. In 1968, the book Poe and Music was published, which collected numerous musical works to the words of the American poet. The famous French composer Claude Debussy and admirer of E. Poe”s work worked on his operas on the subject, The Devil in the Bell Tower (1902?-1912) and The Fall of the House of Usher (1908-1917), which also remained unfinished and was completed by Robert Orlage in 2007. In 1909, referring to his painstaking work on these subjects, the French composer wrote: “I fall asleep with them, and on awakening I find again the gloomy melancholy of one or the mockery of another.” Debussy”s younger contemporary, the composer Maurice Ravel, whose work is largely of literary origin, called the American poet his teacher: “His remarkable treatise The Philosophy of Creativity had the greatest influence on me.”

Н.  Я.  Myaskovsky wrote the symphonic poem Silence op. 9 (1909-1910) based on the American writer”s prose parable of the same name (1837), which is considered the composer”s first mature work. The score is preceded by a quotation in Balmont”s translation. Working on this poem, the composer wrote to Sergei Prokofiev: “There will not be a single note of light in the entire piece – Darkness and Terror.” Sergei Rachmaninoff”s symphonic poem The Bells (1913).

Many artists of all genres have taken inspiration from the works of Edgar Allan Poe, set his poems to music, or written independent works based on his works. The concept albums Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) and The Raven (2003) by The Alan Parsons Project and Lou Reed, respectively, are the vivid examples of contemporary musicians turning to the work and life of Poe. Iron Maiden, Joan Baez, Frankie Lane and many other artists have songs inspired by the works of the American writer.

Sources

  1. По, Эдгар Аллан
  2. Edgar Allan Poe