Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Celebrating the life and legacy of
a literary genius...

Edgar Allan Poe

He spent much of his short life 
 Brooding, an acid-tongued critic,
Yet, the torment in his eyes
Revealed the Raven's true heart,
A lonely and miserable cynic.
He had one great love in his life
Virginia was her name,
After he met her
Edgar's life was never the same.

"I see no one among the living as beautiful as my little wife."
-Edgar Allan Poe

The Love of Edgar's Life
Virginia Clemm Poe

"You have ravished my heart and
given me courage, my sister, my
promised bride; you have ravished
my heart and given me courage
with one look from your eyes..."
Song of Solomon 4:9

"It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me."
"Annabel Lee"
- Edgar Allan Poe

 "At The Rocky Seashore"
Vladimir Volegov

Quoth The Doll Collector,

I feel fortunate to have found 
this very realistic-looking
 action figure of
Edgar Allan Poe,
complete with a raven
perched on his shoulder.
He is now
 proudly on display
 on the shelf in
my library.

My search for
a doll with
 genuine likeness to
 Poe, as well as
one of
his wife, Virginia,
 was interesting to say the least!
However, I have absolutely
no desire to display
some of the truly
horrifying and ugly dolls
I came across
made to represent
this couple,
not in my home!

Although this
bobble-headed Poe

is kinda cute, 
I'll stick with
the action figure
for now.

Another recent
 acquisition to
 my home library
is this very cool
pop-up book,
"The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe"

Another book
 I would like
 to add to my
growing collection
 of all things Poe.

This annotated and illustrated
edition of the works
 of Edgar Allan Poe
by author
 Andrew Barger
features the classic
 artwork of Harry Clark
and Gustave Dore and brings
 the Raven's tales
  to life like never before!

"The Raven"
Gustave Dore 

“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?”
-Edgar Allan Poe
"The Premature Burial"

I have often believed
 Edgar Allan Poe's
 morbid fascination
 with death and burial,
reflected in much
 of his work
stemmed from
the very real fear
of being buried alive
after being mistaken
 for dead.

This genuine fear
 haunted the hearts
 of many people
in the Victorian era,
which was long before
 the routine practices
of  autopsies
 and embalming
were common.
One of the many
  burial customs
 of the time
 included hanging 
a small bell
on the tombstone
 attached to a sturdy
 piece of string,
which was threaded
down through the earth
and into a small hole
in the coffin,
the idea being that
if the person thought 
to be dead woke up
 they could ring the bell,
hoping that someone
might hear it
and come to

and dig
them back up
before it was
too late!

 It's as
a thought
as anything
Poe wrote,
but tragically
often true
back in those days!

 Moving on
 from the macabre
to more mundane subjects...

2009 Edgar Allan Poe Stamp

Marking the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth in 2009, 
the United States Postal Service issued
 this commemorative stamp
to honor the master of terror and suspense,
 which included a forty page booklet
 featuring his famous poem,
 "The Raven"

First Edgar Allan Poe Commemorative 
US Postal Stamp Issued in 1949,
one hundred years after Poe's death.

Edgar and Virginia Poe once resided in Philadelphia's
Spring Garden section, along with Virginia's mother,
Maria Clemm, at which time Poe worked as an
editor for Graham's Magazine. 
During this time, he also wrote and
 published his famous detective story,
 " The Murders In The Rue Morgue" 

The murderous orangutan on the rampage
from "The Murders In The Rue Morgue"
By Edgar Allan Poe.
Illustration By Arthur Rackham


Poe also penned the
hair-raising tale of
"The Black Cat" 
while living in this house, 
which is today the Edgar Allan Poe 
National Historic Site and Museum.

Edgar Allan Poe Mural
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Raven Statue Outside
Edgar Allan Poe House

Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Richmond, Virginia


The old stone hous
  only a few blocks away
 from Edgar's first home in Richmond, 
as well as his first place of employment, 
the Southern Literary Messenger.
  houses the largest
 known collection of
 Poe memorabilia 
in the world.

Edgar Allan Poe House
Baltimore, Maryland

The Poe Mystique still
 lives on today in this southern city,
 represented by the person
 known as the famous
 Baltimore "Poe Toaster".

For many years now,
in the predawn hours
of January 19th,
 a shadowy figure
dressed in black, 
wearing a wide-brimmed hat
and a white scarf,
shows up at
the writer's grave,
pours himself a glass
of cognac 
and toasts
 Poe's memory
before vanishing into 
the darkness. 

"Out of the folds of velvety night
a lone stranger will alight,
to raise a single glass
in the cold dark air
a salute to Poe,
done with hasty flair...
from where he comes
or where he goes,
no one really seems to know..."
" Ode To The Poe Toaster"
- Pamela D. Brida

Edgar Allan Poe Grave and Memorial
Baltimore, Maryland


But here's something a little less
mysterious to celebrate
the birthday
Edgar Allan Poe...

1-2-3-4 Cake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

Cream together butter and sugar.
  Add the eggs, one at a time,
 to butter and sugar mixture,
mixing well after each edition.
  Sift together dry ingredients
 and add to batter alternatively with milk.
 Add vanilla.
Spoon cake batter into a
 greased and floured 9 x 13 inch cake pan
and bake at 325 degrees
 for one hour  or until butter knife
 inserted in center of cake
 comes out clean.

Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 T milk

In a mixing bowl beat together
butter and sugar, one cup at a time,
beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and
 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
 mixing until desired consistency. 

You may also like to add
1 cup of shredded coconut to
the frosting, or the zest
from a lemon or an orange
instead of vanilla extract 

 I like to start my mornings
having coffee with Mr. Poe.
Now slice me a piece
of this lovely cake,
and I'll be good to go!

"With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion"
-Edgar Allan Poe

“Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore...” 
-Edgar Allan Poe 

Ever with thee I wish to roam-
Dearest my life is thine.
  Give me a cottage for my home    
 And a rich old cypress vine,
Removed from the world with its sin and care
And the tattling of many tongues,
Love alone shall guide us when we are there-
Love shall heal my weakened lungs;
And Oh, the tranquil hours we'll spend,
Never wishing that others may see!
Perfect ease we'll enjoy, without thinking to lend
Ourselves to the world and its glee-
Ever peaceful and blissful we'll be."
     A Valentine's Day Poem
     Virginia wrote to Edgar 
February 14, 1846

"The Kiss"
Francesco Hayez

  There has always been much debate
 about the ill-fated romance and marriage
 of Edgar Allan Poe and his first cousin,
Virginia "Sissy" Clemm.
Some believe their relationship was
 strictly platonic in nature, 
more like brother and sister
 than husband and wife.
 Others feel that he married her
 as a means of survival, 
not only for himself, 
but in order to provide
 Sissy and her mother, Maria Clemm,
 with protection, as well as a source of income,
 for there was very little in the way of financial resources,
 not to mention sympathy,
 for a widow with a young daughter
 in the mid-19th century. 
 Still, others believe, as I do, 
that despite the difference in their ages,
 Edgar and Sissy were very much in love.
 They seemed to have a deep understanding
 of one another,
 often beyond the spoken word.

"...the soul of Jonathan
 was knit
 with the soul of David
and Jonathan loved him
as his own life."
 1 Samuel 18:1

 Young Sissy was even tolerant 
of her husband's unpredictable and sometimes
 vicious mood swings, 
especially after a binge of drinking.

 "Love endures long and 
is patient and kind..."
1 Corinthians 13:4

   I think Sissy sensed 
that much of Edgar's inner turmoil
 came from unpleasant memories
 of his childhood and early youth.
 His father abandoned the family
 when Edgar was a year old,
 and his mother died not long afterwards.
  Orphaned Edgar was eventually taken
 in by John and Francis Allan of Virginia. 
Although they never officially adopted him,
 he stayed with them until he was a young man.
 At 18, Edgar had already begun
to  publish his poems
beginning with
 "Tamerlane and Other Poems" 

in 1827.
 After failing as 
a cadet's officer at West Point, 
Poe declared he wanted to be
 a poet and a writer.
 He also parted ways
 with his foster father,
 John Allan,
whom had recently
married his second wife.
That marriage,
and Allan's apparent
favoritism towards 
a brood of
 illegitimate children,
 born to him
through a series of affairs,
and whom he chose to 
support financially,
led to many bitter quarrels
between Edgar and John Allan. 

 His foster father later disowned him. 

 Although he was the first well-known author
 to make a living solely through his writing career, 
Edgar Allan Poe suffered financially
 for most of his life. 

Meanwhile, as a young child,
 Virginia had felt the sting of rejection
 from her father's family, 
who had opposed his marriage to her mother,
 and refused to help them financially
 or otherwise after his death.

 She found a kindred spirit
 in her handsome and charismatic
 cousin, "Eddie" 
as she and
her mother called him. 

 As far as the rumors
 of Edgar Allan Poe's 
scandalous romancing
 with other women, 
during his marriage
to Virginia,
 these alleged dalliances
 can only be left to speculation.
  Poe would not have been the first
 celebrity of his day
 to have received fan letters or poems 
from ardent female admirers of his prose,
 perhaps he even encouraged these
 literary flirtations and flattery just a bit,
 having a strong need for attention,
and the appreciation
of his work.

  Yet, it seems that after watching
 his young wife suffer
 such a cruel and untimely death,
  Edgar Allan Poe gave up
 the will to live. 

 “Deep in earth my love is lying
And I must weep alone.”

-Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar lived two more years after Sissy died,
 time mainly spent lost in a haze of alcohol, 
debt, and despair.
 There are many theories
 surrounding his death in 1849. 
One of the more disturbing of these
 is that Poe died 
as a result of contracting rabies.
 However, I truly believe 
Edgar Allan Poe,
not unlike a character
in one of his tales of woe,
 died of a broken heart.

"But our love it was stronger far than the love
Of those that were older than we,
Of many far wiser than we.
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee"
-Edgar Allan Poe 

"Urge me not to leave you
or to turn back from following you;
for where you go I will go, and
where you lodge I will lodge.
Your people shall be my
people, and your God
my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me,
and more also,
if anything but death
parts me from you."
Ruth 1:16-17

No comments:

Post a Comment