Tuesday, October 8 In the NOTES SECTION of your notebook, make a KWL chart. It should look like this: Know Want to Know Learned In the first column, list what you know about Edgar Allen Poe. Make sure to identify any of his works that you may have read. In the second column, list anything you want to know about Edgar Allen Poe. When you are finished, leave the paper on your desk.
Literary Terms I Need To Know: IRONY: Three Types: Verbal Irony—we say just the opposite of what we mean. Situational Irony—what happens is different from what we expect. Dramatic Irony—we know something a character doesn’t know.
_______________ Irony “ What lovely weather!!”
Narrator—The person who tells the story First Person Narrator —Tells the story from a personal point of view. Uses the pronoun “I” to describe the action. IS a character in the story. Third Person Narrator –Tells the story from a removed point of view. Uses character names to describe the action. Is NOT a character in the story. Omniscient Narrator –Usually third person. This type of narrator seems to be “all knowing”—they can tell you what each character is doing, thinking, saying, etc. Knows the motivations of all characters. Limited Omniscient —Knows everything about one character’s side of the story. Often told in first person. Description of action and dialogue is accurate, but may not give a clear view of all motivations. Unreliable –This narrator cannot be trusted. This narrator presents a skewed version of events. They may be trying to mislead the reader or may have some other reason for being unreliable (age, mental illness, etc).
Edgar Allan Poe: • Born: 1809 in Boston, MA (Massachusetts) • Poe was the son of traveling actors. • His father deserted the family when Edgar was a baby. • Poe’s mother died when he was two. • Poe was taken in by the Allan family (a wealthy family in Richmond Virginia). • Because of his wealthy foster family, Poe was given a first-class education.
Poe did not get along with his foster father, John Allen. Eventually, the two broke all ties, after Allen withdrew financial support from Poe and refused to pay his gambling debts. • Looking for a new family, Poe moved in with his aunt, Marie Clemm and her children. • Five years later, Poe married his young cousin, Virginia Clemm (1822-1847). Poe was 27; Virginia was 13. • Virginia died at age 24 of tuberculosis.
Although unusual by today’s standards, Poe and Clemm were by all accounts, very much in love. Poe adored Virginia and she idolized her husband. Virginia first became sick with consumption in 1842. Consumption is the wasting away of the body due to pulmonary tuberculosis. This was a common disease and very often led to death. (Today, we vaccinate against tuberculosis!) Virginia’s illness and death led to Poe’s troubles. He struggled to cope with her death, and the death of young women is a recurring theme in his writing, as in Annabelle Lee, The Raven, and Ligeia. Virginia Clemm Poe
Career: • Poe began writing at an early age and had two volumes of poetry published by age 20. • Poe served as an editor of several magazines and a critic of writers. Poe often wrote frustrated criticisms of better-known authors, whom he thought were less-talented than he. • * Poe became a household name in 1845 with the publication of The Raven. This newfound fame provided a better income for Poe, and people began coming to lectures and following Poe’s work. • Education: • Poe excelled academically at University of Virginia, but was expelled when he couldn’t pay his tuition because his foster father had withdrawn support. • Poe enlisted in the army, but requested an early discharge to attend WestPoint Academy. He achieved this with the help of his foster father, John Allen. • * After only eight months at WestPoint, Poe purposely stopped attending classes and disregarded duties and orders, which resulted in a court martial and expulsion from the academy.
Poe as a writer: • Poe wrote during the Romantic Period, which stressed nature and individuality along with the powers of the imagination. • Poe’s best known works are considered gothic literature. In fact, Poe is one of the most important American authors in the gothic tradition. Gothic literature typically includes the supernatural, fantastical, grotesque, etc. • Poe’s work dealt largely with death and psychological aspects of the mind; however, he also wrote humor, satires, and mysteries. Poe is considered the inventor of the detective-mystery genre. • During his lifetime, Poe was best recognized as a literary critic. He was one of the first authors to support himself financially through his writing, and was also the first American author to gain popularity in Europe.
Poe wrote: “Works with obvious meanings cease to be art.” Poe believed that each piece of writing should be carefully constructed and calculated. He thought that quality writing should be brief and focus on a single specific effect.
After Virginia’s death, Poe began a downward spiral. Many predicted he would not live long. In 1849, Poe began a trek from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia. On his way, Poe stopped in Boston for unknown reasons. While in Boston, he disappeared for several days. Some sources say Poe was found in the streets, others say in a bar room, but all report that Poe was taken to Washington College Hospital, where he died several days later, at age 40. The exact cause of Poe’s death remains a mystery. Unfortunately, his medical records are lost. “Acute congestion of the brain” has been suggested as a cause of death, and more recent inquiries into his death have suggested rabies as a cause of death.
After Poe’s death, a strong literary opponent wrote an obituary portraying Poe as a drunken madman, drug abuser and womanizer. The obituary was largely exaggerated or forged and was meant to be revenge for Poe’s criticism of this opponent. It had the opposite effect, and fueled Poe’s popularity and sales. An unidentified person or group, referred to as the “Poe Toaster,” began a tradition on Poe’s birthday in 1949. Each year on January 19, a shadowy figure dressed in black with a wide-brimmed hat and white scarf visited Poe’s grave and poured a class of cognac. The toaster “toasted” Poe’s grave and left three red roses. This tradition lasted 75 years and the last known visit was in 2009. The identity of the toaster or toasters is still a mystery, adding the intrigue of Edgar Allen Poe.
Assignment: Complete the KWL chart with the information you learned. Respond to the following prompt in your writer’s notebook: Poe said, “Works with obvious meaning cease to be art.” What did he mean by this? Do you agree or disagree and why?