Edgar Allan Poe?s ?The Philosophy of Composition?
Length: 347 words (1 double-spaced pages)
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Poe used a method to appeal to both popular and critical tastes by hitting upon the most melancholic of all subjects: the death of a beautiful woman. "The death…of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetic topic in the world – and equally is it beyond the doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover". Of all the themes, he chose death, because it was an emotion that everyone can relate to. Poe believed that the most poetic use of the theme death was the death of a beautiful woman. Having the theme and subject planned out, he composed his poem backwards, adding uses of the word “nevermore”. The alliteration of “nevermore” builds tension, stanza by stanza. Poe wanted to create poetry of feeling, to be able to relate the reader with the narrator.
However, it has been suggested that “The Philosophy of Composition” was a hoax, and it is unlikely that it is an account of his poem, “The Raven”. Scholars are skeptical because he enjoys revealing his secrets a little too much in that he loved to explain and analyze his writing skills.
He was likely to have come up with the idea of this essay when he was writing “The Raven”. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant, because the importance of the essay is the fact that it presents a theory of composition and a new perception of Edgar Allan Poe.