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Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

Quotations

  • ''This wild star—it is now three centuries since, with clasped hands, and with streaming eyes,... I spoke it ... into birth.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. The angel Agathos, in "The Power of Words," Democratic Review (1845). Expressing Poe's longing for telekinetic powers.
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  • ''There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. The Black Cat (1854).
  • ''Think ... before the words—the vows are spoken, which put yet another terrible bar between us.... I call upon you in the name of God ... to be sincere with me—Can you, my Annie, bear to think I am another's?''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, letter, November 16, 1848, to Annie Richmond, ed. John Ward Ostrom (1966). To Annie Richmond on the eve of his planned marriage to Elmira Shelton.
  • ''In writing these Tales ... at long intervals, I have kept the book-unity always in mind ... with reference to its effect as part of a whole.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, letter, August 9, 1846, to Philip P. Cooke, ed. John Ward Ostrom (1966). Unity of self and art: Poe's overriding goal.
  • ''Imperceptibly the love of these dischords grew upon me as my love of music grew stronger.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, letter, December 1, 1835, to Beverly Tucker, ed. John Ward Ostrom (1966). The poetics of atonality.
  • ''You need not attempt to shake off or to banter off Romance. It is an evil you will never get rid of to the end of your days. It is a part of yourself ... of your soul. Age will only mellow it a little, and give it a holier tone.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, letter, September 21, 1839, to Philip P. Cooke, ed. John Ward Ostrom (1966). Romance, embraced and transfigured.
  • ''Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors ... on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. Published simultaneously in The Casket. "The Man of the Crowd," Gentleman's Magazine (1840). Aborted confessions, the main theme in Poe's fiction and poetry.
  • ''The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure ...: buffoons,... improvisatori,... ballet-dancers,... musicians,... Beauty,... wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. "The Masque of the Red Death," Graham's Magazine (1842). Illusions mobilized to oppose the death instinct.
  • ''As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841).
  • ''It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic.''
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841).

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To M.L.S.

Of all who hail thy presence as the morning-
Of all to whom thine absence is the night-
The blotting utterly from out high heaven
The sacred sun- of all who, weeping, bless thee
Hourly for hope- for life- ah! above all,
For the resurrection of deep-buried faith
In Truth- in Virtue- in Humanity-
Of all who, on Despair's unhallowed bed
Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen

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