English 103 Essay

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The cult of solitary genius
The mysterious death and the mysterious visitor

Poe’s Early Life:
born in 1809
raised by foster family, the Allans
in 1826, began (but never graduated) from University of Virginia served in the army
admitted to West point but discharged in 1831
1827 published book of poetry and also in 1829
paid to have previous books published
married to 13 year old cousin, Virginia Clemm on May 16, 1836. Virginia died in 1847

Poe’s Editorial Career:
1835, Assistant Editor of The Southern Literary Messenger, worked for 2 years 1839, Assistant Editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine
1840, assistant at Graham’s Magazine
1844, editor of The Broadway Journal

Poe’s Literary Career:
Loved to trick his audiences, and to provoke controversy
Important and often rude book reviewer
Played hoaxes on his public -- 1844 Balloon Hoax in New York Sun Engineered cryptographs in print, and made himself look like a genius when he solved them Was fascinated by all forms of print, reading widely and deeply Dedicated to the possibility he could make a living as a writer Fascinated by how one could manipulate an audience

Poe’s Publication History:
Published volumes of poetry, individual poems, short stories in gothic genre Fascinated by fads and trends, esp. when organized around radical dissociation of consciousness from the body Interested in mesmerism (hypnotism)

Gothic Genre:
- Texts that are account of cultural and psychic dislocation What is the interior of a person really like?
Gothic texts work by doubling
Use exterior world as a double of the interior world, and project human emotions and feelings on exterior world

What does a double do?:
Exteriorizes the inward self, creating another body and set of intentions for an inner conflict Embodies the disorder and imbalance of a character
Reveals that the self as a coherent, knowable, balanced personality, is a fiction.
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