Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe... In Baltimore and Beyond

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Poe the Writer
Random Raven

Poe Praised

"It's because I liked Edgar Allan Poe's stories so much that I began to make suspense films."

— Alfred Hitchcock,
from an interview first published in 1960.

"Mr. Poe has that indescribable something which men have agreed to call genius. No man could ever tell us precisely what it is, and yet there is none who is not inevitably aware of its presence and its power. . . . It is not for us to assign him his definite rank among contemporary authors, but we may be allowed to say that we know of none who has displayed more varied and striking abilities. . . . Mr. Poe is at once the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works who has written in America. It may be that we should qualify our remark a little, and say that he might be, rather than that he always is, for he seems sometimes to mistake his phial of prussic-acid for his inkstand."

— James Russell Lowell, "Edgar Allan Poe,"
Graham's Magazine, February 1845.

"Your 'Raven' has produced a sensation, a 'fit horror,' here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music. I hear of persons haunted by the 'Nevermore,' and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a 'bust of Pallas' never can bear to look at it in the twilight."

— Miss Barrett [Elizabeth Barrett Browning] "[Letter to E. A. Poe]," April 1846.
Poe had dedicated his The Raven and Other Poems of 1845 to Miss Barrett,
from whose 1844 poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship"
he had borrowed the stanzaic form for "The Raven."

"Poe constantly and inevitably produced magic where his greatest contemporaries produced only beauty. . . . Poe's supremacy in this respect has cost him his reputation. . . . Above all, Poe is great because he is independent of cheap attractions, independent of sex, of patriotism, of fighting, of sentimentality, snobbery, gluttony, and all the rest of the vulgar stock-in-trade of his profession."

— George Bernard Shaw, "Edgar Allan Poe,"
The Nation (London), January 16, 1909.

"Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?"

— Arthur Conan Doyle,
in an address before the Poe Centennial Celebration Dinner
of the Author's Society, March 1909.

"In him [Poe] American literature is anchored, in him alone, on solid ground."

— William Carlos William, "Edgar Allan Poe,"
In the American Grain, 1925.