CatherineBaabMuguira303 karma2021-10-07 17:16:46 UTC
Right? It's a bit counterintuitive to say the least. But then, Poe doesn't lie to you about the darkness of the human condition, and that can be really helpful at a moment when everyone else around you is saying "cheer up, snap out of it." When you read Poe when you're already sad, it's like having a companion or meeting a fellow traveler. His own life was so, so hard and depressing, and yet he did his work anyway, which is inspiring, too. People don't think of him as a hero, but I'm convinced he was. How strong do you have to be to endure 40 years of loss and disappointment? Really GD strong. :)
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CatherineBaabMuguira222 karma2021-10-07 17:11:18 UTC
Extremely good q. There's a great book on the surprising connections between Poe, Conan Doyle, and the doctor who developed some early, promising, but ultimately ineffective TB treatments--it's called The Remedy and is a great read.
I think the easiest thing to say is that Poe invented the detective story and Conan Doyle perfected it. You don't get a Conan Doyle without Poe, but the Sherlock Holmes stories are straight-up better--more fun to read, more intriguing--than Poe's detective stories. What do you think?
CatherineBaabMuguira211 karma2021-10-07 16:57:19 UTC
Poe and I are essentially from the same place--Richmond, Virginia. So he's very popular locally, and I encountered his work in school. Then I grew up and sort of forgot about him, until I got very depressed a couple of years ago and started reading him again.
He used "Allan" as his middle name to establish his connection with his foster parents, John and Frances Allan. During his lifetime, however, he mostly went by Edgar A. Poe, rather than Edgar Allan Poe, especially after his relationship with the Allans broke down.
CatherineBaabMuguira208 karma2021-10-07 16:38:59 UTC
Great question. One thing many people don't realize is that Poe was an extremely canny judge of the literary marketplace. IP law at the time made it very hard to earn a living as a writer. That Poe earned any money from his stories and poetry AT ALL is evidence of very serious economic savvy, and it's an inspiring example, teaching us how to adapt to the marketplace, too.
CatherineBaabMuguira140 karma2021-10-07 19:19:50 UTC
I think he was wise to consider readers' attention spans and overall patience, for sure. Writers should take those things into consideration if they want to attract readers. If anything, what Poe said is even more true now, in an age of streaming TV and endless distraction on the internet and everywhere else. I actually kept the chapters in my book short for this same reason, taking Poe's cue. What do you think?
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