My Thoughts on Edgar Allan Poe

on

Poe.

A writer. A poet. A madman.

Many critics consider his works, and his mind, to consist purely of darkness. While he used the tool skillfully, anyone who has read even a small part of his philosophy would understand this is simply untrue.

I am a great admirer of Edgar Allen Poe and his works. Do I agree with his lifestyle and choices? No. He was a gambler and a drunk. But his human flaws in no way take away from the fact that he was brilliant and unquestionably talented.

One thing unique about this writer is the stipulation he gave himself to create something novel. He preached originality. The reason his stories can come off as unnerving is because they are not just the same old plot line in a new dress. He basically created the modern detective story, as well as science fiction. He believed in pushing boundaries.

Furthermore, he never cared so much about the story, as he did the effect it would have on the reader. His essay “The Philosophy of Composition” goes into this in detail. My favorite part is when he defines beauty as an “elevation of the soul”.

His work centered on speaking to peoples deepest hidden parts. The life he lived, followed everywhere by death, allowed him a window into the heart and the soul. He developed a perfect understanding of the way a person feels. And he used that to weave together words in a way few writers can.

Was he crazy? Well of course. The mind must function on a different frequency to truly process all the energies and forces constantly surrounding us. To be able to look at another person and know their thoughts, their fears, and then manipulate those things into a few lines of verse. It is a gift, not an ailment.

But was he a frenzied maniac? I don’t believe so, no. He spoke of and discussed his creative process very articulately, and was a friend to many other artists of the era. He was as “normal” as anyone else, if a bit odd, morbid, confused at times, and possessed of a mind filled with fantastic ideas.

I don’t know why society fears the insane. Perhaps because their secrets aren’t safe from one who can read their thoughts. I wish the world would spend less time trying to “fix” the crazed, forcing them into a mould with medications and treatments. I wish they’d spend more time listening to them, allowing them to share the world they see. I live under the assumption that they must know something we don’t. Or else it wouldn’t affect them with such debilitating force. The thoughts in their head must hold truth, or else they wouldn’t be banging against the inside to get out, causing so much pain.

Unfortunately, so few of us hold the patience it would require to unravel their binds. And thus it is the mad who are forced to suffer in silence.

Still, some psychopaths have managed to shine through. That is why we have art. Poe is one of the many.

Alone
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
Edgar Allan Poe
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