The Edgar Poe You Never Knew: a Mere Writer…

What say of it? what say CONSCIENCE grim, That spectre in my path? -Chamberlayne’s Pharonnida The purpose of this paper is to debunk the myth surrounding Poe; that he was just a mere writer of horror and that he had an unhealthy obsession with the mad and the morbid…since isn’t that all he ever wrote about? Not only is Poe associated with the mad but many think he must have been mad himself, since in order to portray madness with such depth of understanding, it is commonly thought that one must partake in that very thing. Further claims conclude that Poe was an alcoholic and gambler, thus sharing in the qualities of many of the characters he chose to write about. Therefore, the narrative has been that while Poe was a gifted and intelligent writer, he was also deeply disturbed, and that his stories reflected the inner turmoil and conflict he suffered within himself against the demons that he was so evidently battling. Thus, reading his stories of horror are entertaining displays and insights into madness, but at best, are an interesting study of psychology into the criminally insane. Otherwise, there is no other worth or value to be found in them, and for the majority of his readership, Poe’s short stories are rather likened to a dark dessert that is to be voraciously consumed.

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