Edgar Allan Poe (January 19 1809 – October 7 1849)
The father of detective fiction and probably the first proper ’Goth’ of modern literature. He was known for his stories of mystery and the macabre.
Calling all emo-goths, Tim Burton fans and general lovers of kohl-rimmed eyes and dark, dark clothing; a round of applause please because our next ‘Famous Quotes’ author is none other than Edgar Allan Poe. Here is the original ‘man of melacholy’ letters. Let’s face it, Hallowe’en just isn’t the same without him. I’m a bit upset that I missed the anniversary of his death (it would have been VERY fitting to have posted this 18 days ago) but you can’t have everything. So here I am gearing up for Hallowe’en by reading up a little on Poe’s dramatic life through Peter Ackroyd’s ‘Poe: A Life Cut Short’. Even though I’m halfway through it, I got a strong sense that although Poe was born under a lucky literary star, he was always sabotaged by his demons, his vanity and his circumstances. Like most great writers, Poe was way ahead of his time; and unfortunately people only truly appreciated his work after his death.
In honour of Poe and all Gothic fiction here are some brilliant quotes from the master of the macabre.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
“I have no faith in human perfectability. 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 wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
“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.”
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”
“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.”
Probably the most curious quote out of all of these is the one about the cat. I would love to know exactly what he meant by it.