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The Words of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) the American writer, editor, and literary critic is best known for his poetry and short stories, especially his tales of mystery and the macabre. Considered a central figure of Romanticism in the United States, he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story and is also considered to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre as well as contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.

Poe was born in Boston, but was orphaned the following year. In 1827 his publishing career began with the anonymous collection Tamerlane and Other Poems, credited only to ‘a Bostonian’. Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, developing his own style of literary criticism. In January 1845, Poe published his poem ‘The Raven’ to immediate success. His works influenced literature around the world and appear throughout popular culture.

Here is a selection of quotes from his work.

'The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.’

'I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.'

'Invisible things are the only realities.'

'All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.'

'We loved with a love that was more than love.'

'Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.'

'I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.'

'I have great faith in fools - self-confidence my friends will call it.'

'Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.'

'I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.'

'There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.'

'I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.'

'Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.'

'I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.'

'From childhood's hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.'

'It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.'

'Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.'

'And so being young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy.'

'Years of love have been forgot, In the hatred of a minute.'

'Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.'

'Deep in earth my love is lying

And I must weep alone.'

'Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.'

'All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.'

'I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.'

'Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.'

'If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.'

'The best things in life make you sweaty.'


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