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Monday, February 8, 2016


Ever wonder what inspired Edgar Allan Poe?

Edgar Allan Poe's heart was in poetry. 

He expressed his feelings in his poetry.  But then, as now, there was little money in poetry.

 He is remembered as a short story writer, a poet, an essayist, and a critic,

 but he earned much of his income as an editor. 

He filled up pages of the magazines he edited with his own writings, 

and he was so intelligent and so gifted that the magazines he edited prospered. 

He would have had no serious financial problems if he hadn't had a drinking problem.

If you check the first paragraph of  "The Cask of Amontillado," 

you will find that each sentence is constructed so that the most important word comes at the end. 

The last words are: "revenge," "threat," "risk," and "impunity."

 Poe's life had many hardships that inspired his work. 

 Readers can clearly see the connection to Poe and the other people in his life 

to the characters in his poems and stories.

 Many of Poe's works may seem normal at first, but almost always end in tragedy, just as his life did.


 The inspiration to Poe's darkest and most well known poem, written in 1845, 

was a real raven that was the beloved pet of the writer Charles Dickens who named it Grip. 

 Dickens was fascinated by the behaviors of his pet and kept it in his stables to study it.

 Dickens had been impressed by how intelligent and aggressive the bird was. 

Dickens also taught his raven to speak, just like a parrot, 

which is also what interested Poe the most and acted as a direct influence for his story "The Raven."


One of the major inspirations of Poe's career was his wife Virginia, as well as her death. 

 Coming from her death came some of his most well known poems.


Edgar Allan Poe is Victor Standish's rival for the affection of the ghoul, Alice Wentworth, 

as the two lovers find themselves trapped in 1834 New Orleans.


Poe emulated Coleridge in musicality and vision, also writing about him, and also tried to analyze and advance a theory of poetics and practice in short essays.


 When Poe was a small child, his mother died from consumption. (Tuberculosis.) 

The symptoms of TB include a lot of coughing up of blood. 

Imagine how traumatic that would be for a small child to witness. 

After the death of his mother, he was adopted into another family. 

Years later, his beloved foster mother contracted and died from the SAME disease.

Edgar later fell in love and married his 13 year old first cousin, Virginia Clemm. 

As illegal as that would be today, 

by ALL accounts they were deeply in love and very happily married. 

She was all the world to him. 

When she was about 18 years old, she was giving a performance on the piano and singing, 

when she coughed and a drop of blood came out of her mouth.

 Edgar realized to his horror that she had contracted the same disease 

 that every woman he had ever cared about had suffered and died from. 

Virginia suffered terribly from the disease for seven years, before finally succumbing and dying. 

Edgar could hardly bear her loss. 

In 1849, Edgar wrote "To My Mother":

 Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother," 

Therefore by that dear name I long have called you--

You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,
In setting my Virginia's spirit free. 

My mother--my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; 

but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew

 By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.



  1. I'm inspired by the thought that each of us should leave some record of our life, whether in writing, art, music or poetry. It may be of use to someone, sometime. If man hadn't recorded his thoughts and art for centuries, how would we know what came before?

    1. Louis L'Amour had the thought of how little Man has recorded all through history -- and what we know as history is but scattered fragments of the whole. If we had the entire picture, our concept of past eras would be vastly different.

      He knew of journals detailing the countryside that Louis and Clark said they "discovered."

      Great explorers of the seas who knew navigation but not writing found new lands long before the Vikings. It is a thought to ponder as we write, right? :-)

      A Carington Event; a seismic catastrophe; a shifting in the Tetonic plates -- and our history would be wiped as if by an angry God, wanting to clean the chalkboard to start all over again.

      Thanks for visiting and chatting awhile. How are things?

  2. Replies
    1. I pray that the up's outnumber the down's. Always your friend, Roland

  3. Poe really did have a tragic life, didn't he? TB was a terrible disease and very widespread--most people today have no idea how lucky we are with all the vaccines and treatments we have for diseases.

    I'm going to look up The Cask short story--thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Helena, because you're a friend:

      the opening paragraph of his famous story "The Cask of Amontillado":

      The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled--but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.

      Spooky, right?

  4. Wow, great post as usual! I love Poe's stories and poems - they're so haunting.

    Many things inspire me, including travel, but the spookiest of all to me are the ideas that come out of the ether. Those freak me out a little.

    1. Beware the muse, right?

      Poe's tales and poems still hold up even so long after his tragic death (which might have been murder, did you know that?)

      Imagine what things murmur from Stephen King's muse? Brrr.

  5. What an amazing idea and wonderful post. If we were but the fly on the wall watching and taking notes while our favorite poets jotted their immortal lines.

    1. It would be an education, wouldn't it? :-) Thanks for enjoying my little post. Brave the shadows and read my latest post: THE MARDI GRAS MURDERS