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Monday, January 19, 2009

Edgar Allen Poe: The Bicentennial


Much like the fabled "Poe Toaster", The Vault of Horror raises a glass of fine cognac to the memory of Edgar Allen Poe, father of the short story, founder of the mystery genre, and the greatest writer of horror literature in history.

Poe was born 200 years ago this day in Boston Massachusetts. In honor of this momentous occasion for literature and horror--two areas of great interest to me--I'd like to provide a bunch of very solid resources for looking further into the life and work of Edgar Allen Poe. There's no better way I can think of to while away this evening than wandering through Mr. Poe's gothic imagination...




10 comments:

Howard said...

I find the collection of works at The Edgar Allen Poe Society of Baltimore to be the most browsable and the easiest to read online. And they make it easy to compare the various versions of the stories published in Poe's lifetime.

And they have some obscure favorites that aren't as widely anthologized, like one of my favorites, "The Angel of the Odd."

B-Sol said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Howard!

L. Clarke said...

I loved Mr Poes work, my friends and I travelled around Australia in a car and the collective works of Edgar went the rounds. Some are very funny.
I like writing sci-fi horror thrillers myself and have a novel called Doom Of The Shem. This novel is a science fiction story that uses a military theme to bring out a gritty futuristic war chronicle, it is easy to read. I have created a small mini environment and it grows on readers as the situation deepens. I think any person who likes science fiction writing and the whole alien species who clash will enjoy this book. It is an in depth view of war with many hand to tentacle fight scenes and various comical twists here and there through the plot which help to develop the characters and their personalities. doomoftheshem.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

RayRay - Last weekend I saw a wonderful documentary about Poe on a Sussex County Community College TV station while I was up in Jersey. I have always enjoyed Poe - he was probably the first horror writer I ever tried to delve into as a kid, and I found him to be, with a little work, rather accessible.

While watching this program I was struck at the acid Poe poured on his contemporaries when he critiqued their work, which was his central vocation according to the show. To those poets and writers we now hold high, like Longfellow, he had no regard.

I was also impressed at how similar he was to one of my other favorites writers, H.P. Lovecraft. Both were weird, anachronistic men, who detested the times they lived, and who, with their florid writing styles, recast literature for the future. Both delved into the darkest recesses of the human mind, and sought purest evil in their writings, and most especially they dealt with madness. And, of course, both died penniless and unappreciated.

B-Sol said...

Ray, would you happen to know what Lovecraft's attitude/opinion toward Poe was? Obviously, he was an influence, but did Lovecraft recognize him as one?
Poe was a scathing critic, but like Twain, he was usually on the money with the literary sacred cows he chose to skewer. In literary circles, for example, Longfellow has really fallen off in recent decades.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - B-Sol, I didn't know the answer to your question. But a little googling lead me to the essay found at this link [which is part of a wonderful site with a comprehensive HPL collection]: http://terror.snm-hgkz.ch/lovecraft/html/super.htm. This is a essay entitled Supernatural Horror in Literature, and HPL essentially says Poe started it all.

An excerpt: "Certain of Poe's tales possess an almost absolute perfection of artistic form which makes them veritable beacon-lights in the province of the short story. Poe could, when he wished, give to his prose a richly poetic cast; employing that archaic and Orientalised style with jeweled phrase, quasi-Biblical repetition, and recurrent burthen so successfully used by later writers like Oscar Wilde and Lord Dunsany; and in the cases where he has done this we have an effect of lyrical phantasy almost narcotic in essence -- an opium pageant of dream in the language of dream, with every unnatural colour and grotesque image bodied forth in a symphony of corresponding sound."

B-Sol said...

Terrific passage! Lovecraft definitely hits on something when he talks about the "narcotic" quality of Poe's prose.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - That passage was also pure Lovecraft, flowery, poetic, yet forboding. You should really check out this collection, the home site is:

http://terror.snm-hgkz.ch/lovecraft/html/

This has just about everything Lovecraft ever published, from his stories, poetry and essays.

Rob Velella said...

Great post - unfortunately, your appreciation for Poe is undermined by the misspelling of his name! His name is and always has been "Edgar Allan Poe." Nonetheless, a great tribute.

B-Sol said...

Hey, thanks! Hopefully none of my old professors are reading, or my degree might be revoked!

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