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Evermore – Edgar Allen Poe – Part 2

Now writing full time as part of a literary outlet, Poe was virtually living the life he had imagined, though without the funds. After marrying Virginia Clemm who was actually his 13-year-old first cousin, Poe who was now confident in his writings aspired to improve the writers of the generation and indeed the intellectual world as a whole. With the writings that followed, Poe expanded his popular reviews into further poetry and short stories, instructional guides on how to write and even imagined theories about the universe itself (which turned out to be incredibly accurate as Poe essentially outlined the Big Bang Theory almost a century before it was officially published scientifically). Though as the pattern of his life insisted, another death was right around the corner and his young wife was stricken with tuberculosis. Succumbing to the disease at only 24 this death hit Poe hard and had him turn aggressively to alcohol, which he already had issues with, in order to deal with the pain. A mere two years later Poe would be found uncontrollable on the streets of Baltimore, four days later he died in hospital, his cause of death remaining unclear.

Young women dying consequently became a running theme in Poe’s work, evident in his most famous poem ‘The Raven’, the emotions of sadness and the shadow of death are part of what make Poe so iconic. From great tragedy comes great art, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe showcase this entirely. For a dedicated writer, one who helped bring rise to the romanticism of the era, it was no doubt inevitable that the death of his Mother, foster Mother, Brother and Wife would find a way into his work whether literally or metaphorically. Fatalities befall many of the characters in his tales and his signature brooding and gory descriptions clearly show how much time and thought he had spent focusing on the reality of death. Notably in his essay ‘The Philosophy Of Composition’ which served as a guide and a look behind the curtain on what he believed was excellent writing, on the subject of content and emotion he wrote

“The death… of a beautiful woman” is “unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world”.

Poe is often noted as the Father of the gothic genre and indeed was a master of horror, suspense and dark fantasy in which many of his fictional short stories tackled. Poe spent great amounts of time on fantastical themes too, likely in an escape from the real world. In Fairy-land he vividly describes the creatures and textures of the moonlit gardens of a whimsical, if not some what disturbing fantasy. In Sonnet-To Science he clearly wants to experience more unreality as he cries out at the state of rising intellectualism, which sought to over explain the world and take away the magic within. This magic is what Poe helped develop as he is inspired innovation in science fiction, detective fiction, short stories and of course a new wave of horror.

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