Edgar Allan poe (1809-1849)

Life:
-born in Boston in 1809 in a poor family of actors;
-went to university but because of his interest for playing cards he had to leave his studies;
-wrote for newspapers and magazines;
-married his little cousin Virginia with whom he lived a difficult and poor marriage;
-when she died he fell into a depressive condition;
-died at the age of 40 for the abuse of alcohol;

Poe’s human vision:
-thought that art was the only method to penetrate the shapeless empirical word;
-thought that human self is divided into: intellect (concerned with truth), conscience (with duty) and soul (with beauty);

Works:
-His literary production may be divided into four parts (poetry, essays and articles, tales of imagination, tales of ratiocination);
-Tale of Ratiocination: where, knowledge, based on the deductive method, rather than the plot, is at the centre of the detective novel;

-Tale of Imagination: where, went beyond the Gothic tradition of writing stories where the horror comes from within himself and not from without;
-His most famous and successful book was Tale of the Grotesque and of the Arabesque (1839). Poe is the father of that school of exotic literature of Wild, Boudlaire and Rimbaud;

Style:
-Poe liked the model of the short tale because he hated length in literature;
-most of that tale is taken by the description of the settings, the place and the time;
-his purpose was to create an atmosphere to involve the reader and estrange him from his reality;
-the geniality of Poe is his ability to have the control of the reader by neutralizing the barrier of his reason and arriving directly at his unconscious;
-the characters are showed at some revealing moments of crisis rather than while developing and maturing;
-the setting is simple and finite;

Themes:
-the double (in the fusion of beauty and death, and of creation and destruction);
-the death (thought that the fear of man to die was mainly linked to the fate of the body after it stops living)
-the self-investigation (into the unconscious);
-self-destruction (carried out through voluntary actions);
-cruelty and perverseness (they are the primitive impulses of the human heart which give directions to the character of Man);

Interior monolougue:
-Poe’s tales are often told in the first person singular, thus becoming long interior monologues;


The presentation of the woman:
-there are few women in Poe’s tales but all share the same features, since they are relatives of the hero (wives, sisters, cousins), they are intelligent and beautiful, they die quite young of consumption and they are modelled on Poe’s mother;

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