Edgar Alan Poe and the various impacts of his works.
Edgar Allan Poe: Βorn in Boston – U.S.A. in 1809, a child of two actors who was left an orphan at the age of two. He was adopted by the merchant John Allan and in 1815 his new family left Richmond Virginia to settle in foggy Scotland and England. Five years later they went back to America. In 1826 he started attending the University of Virginia, but abandoned his studies a year later, while his debts from gambling led his relationship with his stepfather to a permanent rift. He left home and enlisted in the Army voluntarily at the age of 18. The same year, 1827, his first poetic collection ‘Tamerlane and Other Poems’ was published, thus starting his publishing career from such a young age…
The impact of Poe’s works in literature.
There are many bibliographical references for this distinguished American author. A number of them though, which concern his personality or refer to some important facts, are vague or contradictory. Even the cause of his death at 40, in 1849, is not accurate. As if the mist that hovered over the landscapes of his works covered many aspects of his life and death for ever. Nevertheless, it is an unquestionable truth that his work as an author had worldwide impact and influence, while as a pioneer he opened new horizons in the literary world, setting solid foundations for new literary kinds.
The influence of Poe’s works on his readers.
For those who seek information about Poe and his works, there are many reliable articles, essays, dissertations and other sources, as well as critiques of his books and the novelties of his literary work mainly in his homeland. For those who want to discover Poe as a man though, they must delve in his works themselves to find traces of the writer’s work unprocessed by third parties interpositions. Poe revealed many aspects of himself in his works, but what each one of us sees and discovers in them is completely personal.
Millions of his readers kept their impressions, the questioning or the impact the world of the American writer had on them secret. However, apart from the philologists or philosophers and researchers, there were many others, mainly in the literary or artistic world, who revealed what they gained from their contact with Poe in various ways.
Poe’s works in the world of art.
The dark, foggy, sentimental, strange, solitary, mysterious, different, sad, even sometimes scary world of the writer was and still is a great source of inspiration for all sorts of artists. As early as his days, distinguished painters such as Edward Manet (1832- 1883) were fascinated by Poe’s world.
Gustave Dore ( 1832- 1883), who was also a French artist, printmaker, illustrator and sculptor, created several hauntingly steel-plate engravings for a special edition of “The Raven” published in English in 1883. But Manet and Dore were only the beggining of the artists who have artistically painted Poe’s books in many countries, such as the English Arthur Rackham (1867 – 1939) and Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872 – 1898), the Irish Harry Clarke (1889 – 1931) the French – English Edmud Dulac ( 1882- 1953)… Since those artists many other illustrators and painters until today have portrayed the American writer or his heroes and painted landscapes or scenes from his gothic world.
Apart from the artists who made lithographs and illustrations for publishing houses, there was, and still is, an equal interest in Poe’s works in the domain of Comics and Graphic Novels. In the 20th and the 21th century,where other means of artistic expression were created either via the computer, graffiti or any other artistic technique, Poe continued to inspire many artists.
Poe’s works in the world of entertainment.
Besides the world of painting with its various styles, the author’s work also had a great impact on the world of entertainment. The first film that was filmed because of Poe, was a 1909 American silent short drama dedicated to the author himself, directed by David Wark GriffithD. After this first “primitive” film, there were many other movies with assumptions from Poe’s works, with the latter up until now, titled The Raven which was directed by James McTeigue (2012). It is noteworthy that a number of films inspired by Poe’s books have been made in various countries of the world such as Italy, Germany, France and other countries as well. The films were always accompanied by relevant posters hanging over the cinema’s entrance or published in newspapers and magazines combined with the title and the summary of the film were an artistic note that offered the viewers a sample taste. In addition to the films that had /have scripts based on Poe’s life or his works, theatrical performances or T.V. serials also gave /give life to Poe’s heroes.
The uniqueness of the personalized approach.
The knight and the pilgrim shadow by Olga Kotsirea inspired by Poe’s poem El Dorado
A whole world composed of various writers, artists, directors, screenwriters…, as well as ordinary readers have something to testify from their contact with the American writer’s works that always bear his personal mark and soul. The approach and the rendering of the emotion coming from a face, a landscape, a celebration, an essay, whatever it is that inspires a person, is unique. As an artist myself, I was enchanted by Poe’s world and being inspired by some of his poems I portrayed the sensation they left me on the leaves I paint.
Annabel Lee, Fairy land ,The couriers, The lake, The Valley of Unrest, The haunted palace were some of them. However, the poem “Alone” moved me deeply as an artist and writer and the words like the colours of a paintbrush became a means of expression. Even though I keep to myself many things that I gained from this great writer, I felt the need to share with others not only the painting inspired by this specific poem but also some of the thoughts that were born inside me by Poe’s words :
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were–I have not seen
As others saw–I could not bring
My passions from a common spring–
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow–I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone–
And all I lov’d–I lov’d alone–
Then–in my childhood–in the dawn
Of a most stormy life–was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still–
From the torrent, or the fountain–
From the red cliff of the mountain–
From the sun that ‘round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold–
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by–
From the thunder, and the storm–
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view–
…. Why did Poe consider himself, since his early childhood, different from other people? Where did the sense that his loneliness had nothing in common with the loneliness that all people have experienced painfully and tormentingly some time in their lives, derive from? How different was he even from strange, solitary, or eccentric people, who were also unfamiliar and indifferent to the pace and the joys of life of their fellow people? Or was he naive enough to think that he was the only one to see and feel everything in a different way?
Arrogance is an inferior motive, while naivety a silly joke when such a man is concerned. Besides, the impact of his works denotes that a number of his peers were fascinated and some possibly mentally tuned with Poe. This may, strange as it sounds, have made the taste of his solitude even more bitter, eliminating any satisfaction he got from his readers’ response. Like the audience of an ancient tragedy who, even if they were shaken by his works, still remained viewers of the world he lived in and revealed to them.
Dostoevsky had once expressed a truth that all writers have more or less experienced. It is impossible for a writer not to live in his mythopoetic world, in which he walks alone. His heroes are real people for him. He identifies with them – his own voice is in their words, he walks along with them, their passion and yearning “ haunt” him day and night. The solitude of creation is the writer’s permanent companion.
Poe could not escape this fate, and from an early age he was bitterly aware that what he experienced and sensed was not mythopoetism. No matter how he may had lived his life, he would always carried the sadness of relentless loneliness inside him. His innate charisma as an author thrust him all the deeper into foggy and dark roads since the dawn of his childhood years.
Joy and sorrows, whatever he loved did not come out of the world of humans and his orgiastic imagination led him to other lands. With this poem, at the early age of 21, reveals what he experienced with blunt sincerity. His words echo at times like sharp cries and other times like suffocation caused by a silent lament. His last verse, the toughest of all is a strong blow of his truth on other people’s faces. The magical colours of the world and the blue sky vanished completely around him and only a demon remained endlessly floating opposite him reflecting in his glance.