Essay Big Heads and Short Tempers: Edgar Allan Poe in Context

Essay Big Heads and Short Tempers: Edgar Allan Poe in Context

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Edgar Allan Poe was the epitome of a tormented genius. He possessed uncontrollable and self-inflicted internal problems. In addition, Poe was plagued by external difficulties—some preventable, some not. Most doctors today would pronounce Poe to be bipolar, chronically depressed, and perhaps even OCD. Most people today, and any day, would declare Poe to be self-obsessed and arrogant, or—at the least—snobbish. His personal life would also be considered less than ideal, though how much he was personally responsible for is still unknown (Hutchisson 19). Art, however, often springs from controversy and instability. In fact, Jacqueline Langwith, editor of Perspective on Disease & Disorders: Mood Disorders, notes that “creativity appears to be associated with mental illness” (Langwith 8). Furthermore, remarkably few artists had anything short of incredible—especially incredibly difficult—lives. Poe suffered from internal “handicaps” and an interesting life, both of which showed up in his unique writing. Edgar Allan Poe's mental disorders, pride, and negative relationships within his family are reflected in “The Cask Of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale heart,” and gave them their characteristic qualities.
Poe's mental disorders helped to give “The Cask of Amontillado” its unique atmosphere. Poe was depressed when he wrote “The Cask of Amontillado.” The Complete Idiot's Guide to Psychology lists “thoughts of death, loss of interest in things [one] used to enjoy, and feeling down in the dumps” as symptoms of depression (Johnston 339). Poe fell into every category (Hutchisson 10, 18, 26, 188). In fact, his depression reached extremely far back into his youth. Even in early years he was noted for being “miserable, surly & ill-tempered” (Hut...

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...." Scientific American Presents (n.d.): 44-49. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 May 2012.
Johnston, Joni E. Psy.D. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Psychology Fourth Edition. New York: Alpha Books, 2009. Print.
Kachur, Robert M. “Buried in the bedroom: bearing witness to incest in Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart'.” Mosaic [Winnipeg] 41.1 (2008): 43+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 May 2012.
Langwith, Jacqueline. Perspectives on Diseases and Disorders: Mood Disorders. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Print.
Pennebaker, James W. “Your Use of Pronouns Reveals Your Personality” Harvard Business Review. Harvard University, n.d. Web. 10 May 2012. .
Pritchard, Hollie. "Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart." The Explicator 61.3 (2003): 144+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 May 2012.

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