A true visionary, Poe was the first well-known American writer to attempt to irk out a living through writing alone, leading him down a path of financially instability and uncertainty. His gruesome stories reflected his inner turmoil. Haunted by the death of his mother, Poe wrestled with fears of abandonment throughout his life. He was drawn to, yet repelled by women, suffering from the inescapable notion that they, like his mother, would eventually abandon him. A morbid and melancholy romantic, Poe’s female characters are all either dead or dying, and he declared in his Philosophy of Composition, “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.”
He died penniless, jobless, loveless and destitute on October 7, 1849, but his dark tales of madness, murder and doomed love continue to influence writers, artists and filmmakers to this day. Countless titles have been adapted for cinema throughout the years, some more loosely than others. My own particular favourites are those adapted by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. While they took massive liberties with Poe’s feverish narratives, they perfectly captured the doomful atmosphere of hopelessness which permeates Poe’s best work. The ‘Poe Cycle’ included titles such as Pit and the Pendulum, Masque of the Red Death, Tomb of Ligeia, The Premature Burial and The Fall of the House of Usher.
|Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.'|
Happy Birthday Mr Poe, thank you for dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream.
|'All that we see or seem|
Is but a dream within a dream.'
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 loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every 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 rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed 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.
Edgar Allan Poe