It seems to me that imagination and reasoning have reached magnificent heights with some writers, especially poets. Among them, I strongly believe, the highest ever was Edgar Allan Poe. With Baudelaire I state that "le poete est souverainement intelligent, qu'il est l'intelligence par excellence, -et que l'imagination est la plus scientifique des facultes, parce que seule elle comprend l'analogie universelle...". One of those poets was Edgar Allan Poe. I reproduce here "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe" as a gesture against what Baudelaire called "la ferocite de l'hypocrisie bourgeoise", and what I personally call mediocrity, imbecility, and comprehensive intellectual dishonesty, all of which is presented as "realistic thinking". And, as we know, contemporary development studies are full of  "realistic thinking". So, let us learn something from Edgar Allan Poe!.  (Róbinson Rojas - 1996)
The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe V. 1
Volume 1 of the Raven Edition  #6 in our series by Edgar Allan Poe

VOLUME I  Contents
Edgar Allan Poe, An Appreciation
Life of Poe, by James Russell Lowell
Death of Poe, by N. P. Willis
The Unparalled Adventures of One Hans Pfall
The Gold Bug
Four Beasts in One
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Mystery of Marie Rogęt
The Balloon Hoax
MS. Found in a Bottle
The Oval Portrait                          BACK TO MAIN INDEX

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- 
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 
      Of "never--never more!" 
THIS stanza from "The Raven" was recommended by James Russell Lowell 
as an inscription upon the Baltimore monument which marks the resting 
place of Edgar Allan Poe, the most interesting and original figure in 
American letters. And, to signify that peculiar musical quality of 
Poe's genius which inthralls every reader, Mr. Lowell suggested this 
additional verse, from the "Haunted Palace": 
And all with pearl and ruby glowing 
 Was the fair palace door, 
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, 
 And sparkling ever more, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 
 Was but to sing, 
In voices of surpassing beauty, 
 The wit and wisdom of their king. 
Born in poverty at Boston, January 19 1809, dying under painful 
circumstances at Baltimore, October 7, 1849, his whole literary 
career of scarcely fifteen years a pitiful struggle for mere 
subsistence, his memory malignantly misrepresented by his earliest 
biographer, Griswold, how completely has truth at last routed 
falsehood and how magnificently has Poe come into his own, For "The 
Raven," first published in 1845, and, within a few months, read, 
recited and parodied wherever the English language was spoken, the 
half-starved poet received $10! Less than a year later his brother 
poet, N. P. Willis, issued this touching appeal to the admirers of 
genius on behalf of the neglected author, his dying wife and her 
devoted mother, then living under very straitened circumstances in a 
little cottage at Fordham, N. Y.: 
"Here is one of the finest scholars, one of the most original men of 
genius, and one of the most industrious of the literary profession of 
our country, whose temporary suspension of labor, from bodily 
illness, drops him immediately to a level with the common objects of 
public charity. There is no intermediate stopping-place, no 
respectful shelter, where, with the delicacy due to genius and 
culture, be might secure aid, till, with returning health, he would 
resume his labors, and his unmortified sense of independence." 
And this was the tribute paid by the American public to the master 
who had given to it such tales of conjuring charm, of witchery and 
mystery as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "Ligea; such 
fascinating hoaxes as "The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall," 
"MSS. Found in a Bottle," "A Descent Into a Maelstrom" and "The 
Balloon Hoax"; such tales of conscience as "William Wilson," "The 
Black Cat" and "The Tell-tale Heart," wherein the retributions of 
remorse are portrayed with an awful fidelity; such tales of natural 
beauty as "The Island of the Fay" and "The Domain of Arnheim"; such 
marvellous studies in ratiocination as the "Gold-bug," "The Murders 
in the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter" and "The Mystery of Marie 
Roget," the latter, a recital of fact, demonstrating the author's 
wonderful capability of correctly analyzing the mysteries of the 
human mind; such tales of illusion and banter as "The Premature 
Burial" and "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether"; such bits 
of extravaganza as "The Devil in the Belfry" and "The Angel of the 
Odd"; such tales of adventure as "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon 
Pym"; such papers of keen criticism and review as won for Poe the 
enthusiastic admiration of Charles Dickens, although they made him 
many enemies among the over-puffed minor American writers so 
mercilessly exposed by him; such poems of beauty and melody as "The 
Bells," "The Haunted Palace," "Tamerlane," "The City in the Sea" and 
"The Raven." What delight for the jaded senses of the reader is this 
enchanted domain of wonder-pieces! What an atmosphere of beauty, 
music, color! What resources of imagination, construction, analysis 
and absolute art! One might almost sympathize with Sarah Helen 
Whitman, who, confessing to a half faith in the old superstition of 
the significance of anagrams, found, in the transposed letters of 
Edgar Poe's name, the words "a God-peer." His mind, she says, was 
indeed a "Haunted Palace," echoing to the footfalls of angels and 
"No man," Poe himself wrote, "has recorded, no man has dared to 
record, the wonders of his inner life." 
In these twentieth century days -of lavish recognition-artistic, 
popular and material-of genius, what rewards might not a Poe claim! 
Edgar's father, a son of General David Poe, the American 
revolutionary patriot and friend of Lafayette, had married Mrs. 
Hopkins, an English actress, and, the match meeting with parental 
disapproval, had himself taken to the stage as a profession. 
Notwithstanding Mrs. Poe's beauty and talent the young couple had a 
sorry struggle for existence. When Edgar, at the age of two years, 
was orphaned, the family was in the utmost destitution. Apparently 
the future poet was to be cast upon the world homeless and 
friendless. But fate decreed that a few glimmers of sunshine were to 
illumine his life, for the little fellow was adopted by John Allan, a 
wealthy merchant of Richmond, Va. A brother and sister, the remaining 
children, were cared for by others. 
In his new home Edgar found all the luxury and advantages money could 
provide. He was petted, spoiled and shown off to strangers. In Mrs. 
Allan he found all the affection a childless wife could bestow. Mr. 
Allan took much pride in the captivating, precocious lad. At the age 
of five the boy recited, with fine effect, passages of English poetry 
to the visitors at the Allan house. 
From his eighth to his thirteenth year he attended the Manor House 
school, at Stoke-Newington, a suburb of London. It was the Rev. Dr. 
Bransby, head of the school, whom Poe so quaintly portrayed in 
"William Wilson." Returning to Richmond in 1820 Edgar was sent to the 
school of Professor Joseph H. Clarke. He proved an apt pupil. Years 
afterward Professor Clarke thus wrote: 
"While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine 
poetry; the boy was a born poet. As a scholar he was ambitious to 
excel. He was remarkable for self-respect, without haughtiness. He 
had a sensitive and tender heart and would do anything for a friend. 
His nature was entirely free from selfishness." 
At the age of seventeen Poe entered the University of Virginia at 
Charlottesville. He left that institution after one session. Official 
records prove that he was not expelled. On the contrary, he gained a 
creditable record as a student, although it is admitted that he 
contracted debts and had "an ungovernable passion for card-playing." 
These debts may have led to his quarrel with Mr. Allan which 
eventually compelled him to make his own way in the world. 
Early in 1827 Poe made his first literary venture. He induced Calvin 
Thomas, a poor and youthful printer, to publish a small volume of his 
verses under the title "Tamerlane and Other Poems." In 1829 we find 
Poe in Baltimore with another manuscript volume of verses, which was 
soon published. Its title was "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Other Poems." 
Neither of these ventures seems to have attracted much attention. 
Soon after Mrs. Allan's death, which occurred in 1829, Poe, through 
the aid of Mr. Allan, secured admission to the United States Military 
Academy at West Point. Any glamour which may have attached to cadet 
life in Poe's eyes was speedily lost, for discipline at West Point 
was never so severe nor were the accommodations ever so poor. Poe's 
bent was more and more toward literature. Life at the academy daily 
became increasingly distasteful. Soon he began to purposely neglect 
his studies and to disregard his duties, his aim being to secure his 
dismissal from the United States service. In this he succeeded. On 
March 7, 1831, Poe found himself free. Mr. Allan's second marriage 
had thrown the lad on his own resources. His literary career was to 
Poe's first genuine victory was won in 1833, when he was the 
successful competitor for a prize of $100 offered by a Baltimore 
periodical for the best prose story. "A MSS. Found in a Bottle" was 
the winning tale. Poe had submitted six stories in a volume. "Our 
only difficulty," says Mr. Latrobe, one of the judges, "was in 
selecting from the rich contents of the volume." 
During the fifteen years of his literary life Poe was connected with 
various newspapers and magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia and New 
York. He was faithful, punctual, industrious, thorough. N. P. Willis, 
who for some time employed Poe as critic and sub-editor on the 
"Evening Mirror," wrote thus: 
"With the highest admiration for Poe's genius, and a willingness to 
let it alone for more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by 
common report to expect a very capricious attention to his duties, 
and occasionally a scene of violence and difficulty. Time went on, 
however, and he was invariably punctual and industrious. We saw but 
one presentiment of the man-a quiet, patient, industrious and most 
gentlemanly person; 
"We heard, from one who knew him well (what should be stated in all 
mention of his lamentable irregularities), that with a single glass 
of wine his whole nature was reversed, the demon became uppermost, 
and, though none of the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his 
will was palpably insane. In this reversed character, we repeat, it 
was never our chance to meet him." 
On September 22, 1835, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, in 
Baltimore. She had barely turned thirteen years, Poe himself was but 
twentysix. He then was a resident of Richmond and a regular 
contributor to the "Southern Literary Messenger." It was not until a 
year later that the bride and her widowed mother followed him thither. 
Poe's devotion to his cbild-wife was one of the most beautiful 
features of his life. Many of his famous poetic productions were 
inspired by her beauty and charm. Consumption had marked her for its 
victim, and the constant efforts of husband and mother were to secure 
for her all the comfort and happiness their slender means permitted. 
Virginia died January 30, 1847, when but twenty-five years of age. A 
friend of the family pictures the death-bed scene-mother and husband 
trying to impart warmth to her by chafing her hands and her feet, 
while her pet cat was suffered to nestle upon her bosom for the sake 
of added warmth. 
These verses from "Annabel Lee," written by Poe in 1849, the last 
year of his life, tell of his sorrow at the loss of his child-wife: 
I was a child and _she_ was a child, 
 In a kingdom by the sea; 
But we loved with _a _love that was more than love- 
  I and my Annabel Lee; 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven 
 Coveted her and me. 
And this was the reason that, long ago; 
 In this kingdom by the sea. 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 
 My beautiful Annabel Lee; 
So that her high-born kinsmen came 
 And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 
 In this kingdom by the sea, 
Poe was connected at various times and in various capacities with the 
"Southern Literary Messenger" in Richmond, Va.; "Graham's Magazine" 
and the "Gentleman's Magazine" in Philadelphia.; the "Evening 
Mirror," the "Broadway journal," and "Godey's Lady's Book" in New 
York. Everywhere Poe's life was one of unremitting toil. No tales and 
poems were ever produced at a greater cost of brain and spirit. 
Poe's initial salary with the "Southern Literary Messenger," to which 
he contributed the first drafts of a number of his best-known tales, 
was $10 a week! Two years later his salary was but $600 a year. Even 
in 1844, when his literary reputation was established securely, he 
wrote to a friend expressing his pleasure because a magazine to which 
he was to contribute had agreed to pay him $20 monthly for two pages 
of criticism. 
Those were discouraging times in American literature, but Poe never 
lost faith. He was finally to triumph wherever pre-eminent talents 
win admirers. His genius has had no better description than in this 
stanza from William Winter's poem, read at the dedication exercises 
of the Actors' Monument to Poe, May 4, 1885, in New York: 
He was the voice of beauty and of woe, 
Passion and mystery and the dread unknown; 
Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow,  
Cold as the icy winds that round them moan,  
Dark as the eaves wherein earth's thunders groan,  
Wild as the tempests of the upper sky,  
Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of angel 
    whispers, fluttering from on high,  
And tender as love's tear when youth and beauty die. 
In the two and a half score years that have elapsed since Poe's death 
he has come fully into his own. For a while Griswold's malignant 
misrepresentations colored the public estimate of Poe as man and as 
writer. But, thanks to J. H. Ingram, W. F. Gill, Eugene Didier, Sarah 
Helen Whitman and others these scandals have been dispelled and Poe 
is seen as he actually was-not as a man without failings, it is true, 
but as the finest and most original genius in American letters. As 
the years go on his fame increases. His works have been translated 
into many foreign languages. His is a household name in France and 
England-in fact, the latter nation has often uttered the reproach 
that Poe's own country has been slow to appreciate him. But that 
reproach, if it ever was warranted, certainly is untrue. 
                                     W. H. R. 
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