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Blog criado por Bruno Coriolano de Almeida Costa, professor de Língua Inglesa desde 2002. Esse espaço surgiu em 2007 com o objetivo de unir alguns estudiosos e professores desse idioma. Abordamos, de forma rápida e simples, vários aspectos da Língua Inglesa e suas culturas. Agradeço a sua visita.

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segunda-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2015

A Strange (but pleasant) Journey Into The Wor(l)d Of Edgar Allan Poe, One Of The Most Creative Minds In Literature.


Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”



Almost every student of literature or simply every book lover has, at some point of his or her life, read or heard of Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar A. Poe was born on January 19, 1809, and died on October 7, 1849 (the cause of his death is still a mystery). Poe had what we can really consider a hard life, which included a marriage to his own 13-year-old cousin, problems with other writers, and drinking and gambling issues.

He lived in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston (USA) and in the UK. He was an editor, a poet, the first theorist of the short story as literary form, a critic, a lecturer, and obviously, a short story writer. He introduced the British Gothic genre, the detective story, science fiction, and literary criticism into American literature. Needless to say, Poe became a very important figure in the nineteenth-century North American literature and worldwide.

Although Poe had a reputation in Europe – in France, mostly –, only by the end of the twentieth century he has been viewed as an important contributor to the American literature.



Among many bad things that happened to Poe, seeing his mother, Elizabeth Poe, die of tuberculosis has certainly influenced him. His parents had separated when Poe was only one year old (Poe and his older brother remained with Elizabeth until her death). He was then taken in by John and Frances Allan, a childless couple who has actually never adopted him officially. In 1815, Poe went to Scotland with the Allans. He also attended school in London before they’ve come back to America.

Having lost (a lot of) money and started drinking a lot, Poe enlisted in the US army, where he spent eight months. When he got tired of it all, he left it and tried to contact John Allan, but John refused to see him. Poe then had a breakdown. That was the moment when he started writing his poems and short stories in order to make money.   

Having said some facts about Poe’s life, let me now talk about my first contact with him. It was a long time ago when I first heard about this incredible short story writer. Well, I didn’t know much about him, but it was love at first sight.

Many years ago, something around the early 2000s, I started saving some money in order to buy good books to read. I really loved reading and I was determined to read only the greatest writers. At that time, I had no job (I was still a student) and, as you may imagine, no money either. I started doing some translation-related work in order to save some money. I expected to buy some books with the profit I would make with the translations.

Although I haven’t made a lot of money, I decided that I had to invest what I had in something useful; therefore, I started buying classic novels. The first idea was dead simple: find some books that could help me improve my reading and understanding skills and give me a better repertoire in English.

One day, as I was entering a newsstand nearby, I saw that black-covered book that was on the verge of changing my entire life as a reader.


The book I am talking about is known as Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, a collection of previously published short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The first short story that I read – The Black Cat – was insanely incredible and at that right moment, I realized that Poe had been waiting for me for a long time. It was weird, but I had the feeling that I had seen (or read) that story before. Well, maybe because of Poe’s influence on other writers, I don’t know!

The Black Cat is Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known and most often dramatized story in the world. I have no doubt about that. It is an “eerie short story of guilt, revenge, psychological horror”. I dare to say it was the tale that helped spreading Poe’s (good) reputation overseas (it was quite successful in Europe, for example).   

One thing I do love about this tale is the fact that Poe uses its character, who we never get to know his name, to try to convince the reader that he (the character) is not crazy:


“Yet, mad am I not - and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events.”    





We may say that, in fact, not only in The Black Cat, but also in other stories his characters seem to be trying to convince the readers that they are not mad and most of Poe’s killers are “more talkers than murderers”. As it is possible to see, on his Tell Tale Heart, a short story that is told by an unnamed narrator who pushes himself really hard to convince us of his sanity:


“TRUE!—nervous—very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses—not destroyed—not dulled them.  Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell.  How, then, am I mad? Hearken! And observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.”  





His writing is incredibly good, and he makes you get so involved that sometimes you forget the main purpose of the entire talking.
  
Reading Edgar Allan Poe is an engaging and disturbing experience – I do not believe that any other writer “has explored and illuminated the human soul more brilliantly!” You can actually find all elements in Poe’s works. I started to understand the real meaning of fear in literature after reading (usually at midnight) his works (horror and detective stories, science fiction, and – believe it or not – comedy). Poe’s is not only gothic, but also a fun reading.


Don’t you know where to start when you decide to read Edgar Allan Poe? How about the Black Cat? How about the Fall of the House of Usher?


“During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, ... through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.”






I do hope that you readers have enjoyed this short text about our great short story writer E. A. Poe. In some instances, I have been unable to trace the owners of the pictures used here; therefore, I would appreciate any information that would enable me to do so. Thank you very much.




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What do you think about getting to know a little bit more about Poe’s short stories?

The Cask of Amontillado:
How far would you go to get revenge on somebody who insulted you? Another of Poe’s tales told from the point of view of the murderer, this 1846 story is the last thing you want to read if you frighten easily at the thought of buried alive.

  



The Pit and the Pendulum:

Poe’s best work of historical fiction uses the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition as inspiration for an 1842 tale that, unlike many of his other works, doesn’t rely on the supernatural.





The Masque of the Red Death:
Prince Prospero and his wealthy friends try to avoid the plague by throwing a masquerade ball. But, as we learn in this 1842 short story, death doesn’t spare revelers.





Morella:

Death, family, and the grief: these three things are at the heart of this 1835 short story.


"The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world." - Edgar Allan Poe


Is something important missing? Report an error or suggest an improvement. Please, I strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact me!



2 comentários:

Antonio Ricardo disse...

hello there... i stumbled upon ur blog and found it very interesting. i have a blog about english myself... and would love it if we could stay in touch to exchange new ideas. my blog is inglesfavorito.blogspot.com

we could help each other with the advertisement thing. it would be fun. im lookin forward to ur answer. cya

Bruno Coriolano disse...

Hi there!

It's great to know you found my blog interesting!

Of course we could keep in touch... Would ya like to be interviewed by me? If you say so, please lemme know about it...
Cheers!