Share Your Favorite Literary Pieces Of And Biographical Facts On These Major American Writers
Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 and died in October 1849---160 years ago this month. He is credited with creating the detective story, introducing what he called "ratiocination" in detective stories such as "Murders In the Rue Morgue".
His poem "The Raven" caused fame to come to him quickly after years of impoverished struggling as a professional writer. His alcoholism and drug addiction obstructed the full expression of his deep and unique talents, and finally fore-shortened his life. He had a tremendous intellect, and also knew it.
Near the end of his life he composed a treatise he called EUREKA in which he attempted to explain the Cosmos. A portion of that manuscript anticipated one of the fundamental concepts of Special Relativity.
Personal favorites from Poe: The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Alone, Helen, The Conqueror Worm, Israfel, and certain of his polemic literature reviews. He hated Walt Whitman's style of poetic expression and bashed it with flair.
When I began writing as a teen, Poe's work was my first infatuation.
He's become an international Halloween and Horror Story tradition.
I don't know who she is...if she's a student or what, but she can write...and so reminiscent of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart:
whoa....her writing is amazing. WOW.
p.s. i love all three writers...especially emily dickinson.
"A sombre yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things ... the shade of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness."
- Edgar Allan Poe (from "The Island of the Fay")
"The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
- Emily Dickinson ("The Pedigree of Honey")
Mark Twain made real a life completely unknown to me - life on the Mississippi. he also wrote about other things, and i liked them too. like this:
"The Creator sat upon the throne, thinking. Behind him stretched the illimitable continent of heaven, steeped in a glory of light and color; before him rose the black night of Space, like a wall. His mighty bulk towered rugged and mountain-like into the zenith, and His divine head blazed there like a distant sun. At His feet stood three colossal figures, diminished to extinction, almost, by contrast -- archangels -- their heads level with His ankle-bone.
When the Creator had finished thinking, He said, "I have thought. Behold!"
He lifted His hand, and from it burst a fountain-spray of fire, a million stupendous suns, which clove the blackness and soared, away and away and away, diminishing in magnitude and intensity as they pierced the far frontiers of Space, until at last they were but as diamond nailheads sparkling under the domed vast roof of the universe.
At the end of an hour the Grand Council was dismissed."
-Mark Twain (from "Letters From The Earth")
Yeah---I see what you mean, the word choice, tone, rhythms. Thanks.
Not sure I ever heard of Emily, but the other two are quite readable
You have never heard of Emily Dickinson? You poor deprived Russian!
Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets,--
Prodigal of blue,
Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover's words.
It dropped so low in my regard
I heard it hit the ground,
And go to pieces on the stones
At the bottom of my mind;
Yet blamed the fate that fractured, less
Than I reviled myself
For entertaining plated wares
Upon my silver shelf.
-- Emily Dickinson
Good quote Aya Katz---though Poe was my first literary idol, I have to give it to Emily when it comes to originality and depth of expression. In my sincere estimate, this plain, quiet little women out on the east coast was THE greatest published American poet ever.
She's also one of the WORLD'S greatest poets. Thanks for that quote
Mark Twain's a super wit. I liked "Roughing It", Sawyer, Prince and the Pauper.
Anybody here read Pud'dnhead Wilson?
Poe's lasting influence is felt in the literary world in the form of Symbolism. The French Symbolists, such as Baudelaire, were enamoured of Poe and his obsessions with dark imagery, the supernatural, insanity, religion, and death. Their works prefigure the Surrealists in the 20th c., and the Surrealist movement influenced almost everything in 20th c. art till the 1950s.
As for Mark Twain, I think my favorite book by him is "Innocents Abroad," a sort of twisted travelogue he wrote while on a world tour in the 1860s -- he pays attention to and reports about things everyone notices on a trip to "important places" but never writes down for publication; his commentary is a running sarcastic attack on the usual travelogue that makes places and events that are commonplace and, well, boring, take on mythological proportions for the folks back home.
At one point he even half-slyly mentions that the poor of Italy, and there were myriads at that time, might think about robbing the priests and the gold encrusted churches which were pretty gawdy anyway, in his opinion.
It's a vey funny, and biting, book.
I have his collected essays, as well, and they are amazing and, by and large, very serious. If that man had said those things in contemporary America, he'd have been denounced as being everything from unpatriotic to anti-religious. Worth looking up.
If you can read in Russian, you know them. If not, it usually loses quite a bit in translation.
Poe, hands down
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
Misha, who is your favorite Russian poet? Quote a verse or two in the original. Then translate!
OK, here is one of my favorites when I actually enjoyed the poetry. I think I found a translation that is not too bad, so I am just putting it here. The source is http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/52448-Vladim … Could-You-
I promptly smeared the map of daily
With splashing paint in one quick motion
I have displayed on a tray of jelly
The slanted cheekbones of the ocean
Upon the fish scales’ tinsel pattern
I’ve read unknown lips’ salute
could you have played
On a waterspout for a flute?
I had an English teacher in high school who so disliked Emily Dickinson's poetry, she sang it to us to the tune of Yellow Rose of Texas.
It fits remarkably well, particularly
"Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings a tune without the words
and never stops at all"
I only remember that because of "Yellow Rose of Texas".
I know, I am a philistine.
I wrote about this on my first hub and on my blog...
Many great poems can be put to music. This is not a mark against it -- It shows that it scans!
On of the things I quite enjoy about Dickinson is the effortless rhythm, that makes her poems such a pleasure to read aloud.
INDIAN SUMMER -- Emily Dickinson
These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, -
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!
How about some John Keats or is it too off the subject...
Bright Star by John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
Didn't Poe marry his little cousin? He was the Jerry-Lee Lewis of the writing world.
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn, wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On distant seas long wont to roam
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, thy Naid airs
Have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window niche
How statuelike I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions
Which are Holy Land!
TO HELEN, by Edgar Allan Poe
My favorite Twain story is "A Dog's Tale."
My favorite Poe story is probably "Berenice."
Did you know that now they think Poe died of rabies? He was so immensely talented yet had such a tragic life. He and Coleridge are very similar, in my opinion - same sort of creative genious, same fascination with the "dark side," and same tortured lives.
Thanks Misha for the quotation.
Thank you all for Emily Dickinson,
whom I didn't know at all, Twain and Poe being universal.
When Mark Twain was born, Haley's comet was in the sky.
On the day he died, Haley's comet was in the sky.
And today's the 160th anniversary of Poe's death.
Forgot to add another of personal favorite from his works--the poem ANNABEL LEE.
That is a very interesting bit of trivia. There are so many of the older authors that I adore. Mark Twain, Poe, O'Henry, Harold Bell Write, Gene Stratton-Porter... It is hard to pick a favorite piece.
Yes---the old authors were the best! Wish I had caught up with your comment right away; we'd be able to chat about that.
Thanks for this post, Ron Montgomery. I had forgotten about Poe's mortal enemy Griswold and his dastardly deeds against Poe.
If anyone here wants to get more fun out of their favorite literature, here's how:
find a time when you're alone or when your place is dead quiet, get comfortable, light a candle or two, and read your story. The atmosphere this simple act produces creates intensified imagination and magnifies the mood. This works great with horror (fiction or nonfiction), love stories (especially old ones from classic literature), and other fave writings.
"Never seraph spread his pinion over fabric half so fair"
From "Israfel", by Edgar Allan Poe
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you -- Nobody -- Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!
I always liked how Emily started this one
An entertaining Mark Twain work---'ROUGHING IT'
Contains lots of his super sharp wit.
The three listed - Poe, Twain, and Dickinson - are each incredible in their own rights. However, they seem a slightly odd collection when viewed together. Dickinson's poetry is highly original and visionary, seeming to concentrate on her connection to the spiritual and disaffection with the world. Poe explores the darkness; searching for things that go bump in the night - and in the human psyche. Twain, to me, is the greatest of the three because he dealt with the human condition as a whole; his breadth of expression, humor, and ability to communicate to every strata of society, make him a giant. Not listed herein, but second only to Twain in my humble opinion, is Sydney Porter - aka O.Henry - who accomplished much the same as Twain (and de Maupassant) in short story form.
Not sure that I am in the right spot with this but interested to know that Poe had an influence on the French Symbolists. Baudelaire is one of my favourites. And love Dickensonand Twain, and Doestoevsky, and Tolstoy As well as all the british novelists and poets from D.H. Lawrence to Woolf. Neruda is probably my favourite but that is always changing.
YES, Poe did influence the French Symbolists, including Baudelaire.
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