To what extent did Edgar Allan Poe's tragic life affect his work and Dark Romantic style?

Best Essays
Dark Romanticism is a literary subgenre which, unlike Transcendentalism, emphasises the shortcomings and weaknesses of humans and their human nature and places a large emphasis upon sinful behaviours and mankind's capacity for evil. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most widely recognised authors of the modern generation and one of the seminal writers of the Dark Romantic style; indeed his catalogue of works have become ubiquitous in collections of literature used for teaching the subgenre and his stories and poems have influenced a plethora of popular culture, including: episodes of ‘The Simpsons’, the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and music such as Bob Dylan's song “Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues” which references “Rue Morgue Avenue”. Poe led an exceptionally tragic life, experiencing the tragic deaths of his loved ones a number of times in his youth and Poe’s work had a constant theme of death and grotesque details, resulting in number of critics, such as Scott Peeples, who refers to Poe as “a tortured romantic artist” (Meyers, 1993), attributing Poe’s Dark Romantic style to his tragic life. Killis Campbell has even gone as far as to suggest that in all of “Poe’s tales[…]the central figure there, however disguised, is always the image of the romancer himself” suggesting that Poe was unable to distance himself from his work (Campbell, 1933). Poe, however, is also credited with inventing the ‘detective’ and ‘science fiction’ genres and did not solely write morbid and grotesque works. There are a number of other factors which might be considered when questioning why Edgar Allan Poe favoured Dark Romantic literature, such as public literary preferences in the nineteenth century and Poe’s desire to prove himself....

... middle of paper ...

... His Works: The Bicentennial. (Bern: Peter Lang).
Ostrom, J. W (1948), The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press).
Parks, E. W (1964), Edgar Allan Poe As Literary Critic (Georgia: University of Georgia Press).
Person, L. S (2001), Poe and Nineteenth-Century Gender Constructions. In J. G. Kennedy, A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe (pp. 129-165). (New York: Oxford University Press).
Poe, E. A. (1966). The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe. (J. Ward, Ed.) New York: Gordian Press.
Poe, E. A. (1839) Letter to Washington Irving
Rans, G (1965), Writers and Critics: Edgar Allan Poe (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd Ltd).
Regan, R (1967), Poe (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc).
Wagennecht, E (1963), Edgar Allan Poe: The Man Behind the Legend (New York: Oxford University Press).
Walker, I. M. (1986). Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage. (London: Routledge).
Get Access