Poe: Gothic Genius or Raven Lunatic? 11th Grade
His name is the subject of countless English teacher puns. His face can be seen on everything from nerdy coffee mugs to hipster tote bags. His work is on every list of great American poetry, not to mention countless summer reading lists. But does anyone truly know the real Edgar Allan Poe?
For a man whose stories are shrouded in mystery and deception, perhaps the greatest story of mystery and deception is his own life. The first biography written about him was written posthumously by his arch nemesis, so it was full of error and slander (“Poe’s Life” 1). Not to mention Poe was a rather private man, so the real Poe is difficult to discern from the drunken wretch he is made out to be. He certainly has his fans as well as his critics, and for good reason. His works are hailed as the prime examples of gothic literature in a day where literacy was first becoming available to the masses. Poe’s central themes of loss, especially young death caused by disease, were all too relatable. Though the modern premature mortality rate has vastly decreased, the theme of death has not vanished from literature, and as a result, the profound motifs of loss and despair are as relevant to the twenty-first century reader as they were when Poe was...
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