In the beginning, there was Adam. Adam felt incomplete in the Garden of Eden and needed a companion. Eve was created and Adam had his woman. Edgar Allen Poe experimented with man's eternal necessity and drew his final conclusion near the end of his literary career. With the publication of Eureka, Poe made his final realization that tied every one of his love driven short stories together and triumphantly proclaimed: "I have no desire to live since I have done Eureka. I could accomplish nothing more" (n. pag.). Kenneth Graham puts it best: "For Poe, the most notable glimpse of eternity available to man is in the beauty of woman, always ephemeral, always melancholic" (2760). With this idea in mind, Poe shows the consequences of losing the love of one's life through his short stories and his poetry, and also tries to bring reason to his own troubled life. In the works of Poe, a man without his love becomes a man without the most vital part of his spirit and collapses in a horrifying manner.
"For Poe, the most notable glimpse of eternity available to man is in the beauty of woman, always ephemeral, always melancholic" (Graham 2760).
Poe's obsession with dying women stems from his own life. His mother died when he was only three. His first love, Elmira Royster was forbidden from associating with him by her father. His child-wife, Virginia, who was also his cousin, died at the age of 24. Just when he found Elmira once again, who was by this time a widow, he died of his own health problems. These stinging losses, especially that of his mother, left a subconscious scar in his already convoluted psyche. Poe's personal history compelled him...
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Huxley, Aldous. "Vulgarity in Literature" Music at Night and Other Essays. New York: Harper & Row, 1930. Rpt. in Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967.
James, Henry. Dustjacket. Regan, Robert ed. Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967.
Lawrence, D.H. " 'Ligeia': Analyzing Poe's Love Stories." Studies in Classic American Literature. New York: Seltzer, 1923. Rpt. in Literary Companion. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998.
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