Edgar Allan Poe Influences

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On January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts, a young woman lay screaming in bed. Her name was Eliza Poe, and she was in the throes of childbirth. Unbeknownst to her, the son she bore that day would go on to become one of America’s most prolific and beloved poets, as well as a household name: Edgar Allan Poe. Unfortunately, in life, Poe struggled financially, physically, and mentally; he died drunk and alone, and his body was found in the street. However, Edgar Allan Poe’s work not only posthumously generated an enormous amount of fame for him, but also greatly influenced the literary movement known as romanticism. Poe’s focus on heightened emotion, the line between reality and fantasy, and his incorporation of supernatural and mythological elements lead his work to become the quintessential example of literary romanticism throughout the ages. Romanticism as a …show more content…

In his book, The Rhetoric of Romanticism, Paul de Man defines romanticism in one fell swoop, stating, “An abundant imagery coinciding with an equally abundant quantity of natural objects, the theme of imagination linked closely to the theme of nature, such is the fundamental ambiguity that characterized the poetics of romanticism.” It is this very ambiguity between real and imaginary that set Poe’s works so far apart from the other poets of his time. In the second stanza of one of his most famous poems, “Annabel Lee,” Poe writes, “I was a child and she was a child, In this 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,” (618). In this passage, Poe discusses the passionate love he feels for Annabel Lee, a love so intense that even the angels are jealous. Here, Poe blurs the line between reality and idealism. Literally, Poe and his lover exist in the kingdom by the sea.

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