Cront Ardead…RIP Edgar Allen Poe
Being that he died in 1849 it could be a bit late for a Eulogy, but then you know the saying, right?
“I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.”
I am a woman with a classical bent. Or just bent. Probably both (you can almost hear the snare drum during one of my posts, eh?). In the past, I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite classic literature titles and authors on my blog and will continue to do so in the future. Just try and stop me. Hah!
An old love of mine is getting some recent press due to the film The Raven, starring John Cusack. I fell in love with Mr. Poe at the ripe age of eleven. Yeah, I had weird taste at eleven. In case you haven’t noticed, my taste is even weirder now. While most eleven year old girls were swooning over Donny Osmond, I was devouring Mr. Poe. Gruesome, no?
Years later I became aware of a modern day Goth movement in both music and art…and make-up. People (myself included, for a brief period) who find an odd solace in donning a wardrobe of primarily black, along with heavy black eyeliner, lipstick, and fingernail polish…and I wondered if they knew the man who truly lived Goth (and to my knowledge without the heavy black eyeliner, lipstick, and fingernail polish).
“…All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
How beautiful is A Dream Within a Dream? Achingly so. And here I am not alone, this poem cleaves the heart (notice my use of nineteenth century phrasing?). His hero was Lord Byron and Poe’s earliest writings were indeed poetry. So, a romantic dreamer was Mr. Poe? Uh, well sort of…
Literary critic, Cryptologist, and Cosmologist, he also put his own unique spin on Gothic writing, leaving us with what flavors the genre today. I think what makes his horror tales so absolutely horrific is that he did not write them as horror…but perhaps more as cautionary tales. Don’t let how someone else views the world upset your applecart to the point that you smoother him in his sleep, cut him up into pieces, and hide the parts under the floorboards. You’ll only end up hearing the incessant beating of your victim’s heart and it will drive you up the wall. If you’re abusive to a cat and then kill your wife, don’t bother to brick up her body in the basement. The cat will only tattle on you. In case you ever wondered what would happen if you do these things, Mr. Poe tells us.
Horror fan or not, regardless of which side of the fence you sit (and even if you didn’t know that there was a fence) you must admit Mr. Poe has an enviable style, as well as a flair for evoking strong reactions. Mundane he was not. Otherworldly? Most certainly, yes.
I think some (if not all) of the original intent of the horror genre has been lost in a sea of gore and oh-boy-look-what-we-can-do-with-make-up-and-special-effects. Mr. Poe knew what it was about. No matter how smart or rich or angry you are, perform evil deeds and you will never truly escape the consequences.
Since he wrote about madmen, alcoholics, and murderers, and made it all so creepily believable, it’s no wonder that most of us still think of Mr. Poe as some sort of coked-out, drunken, necrophiliac freak. And all of this is thanks to a bogus obituary written by a man who hated him.
And certainly, as his tales attest, though he may have shuddered he did not look the other way. He chose instead to become a master of his craft, an artist true, squeezing out every drop of sadness, terror, beauty, darkness, and ugliness with each word he penned. I cannot help but tip my imaginary hat to him and give him a very real and hearty nod of appreciation.
“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
Whatever dreams you may be dreaming in daylight, keep dreaming them with the certain knowledge that they are what sets you apart from the weak and weary and oh-so-dreary mundane.
Wondering about “Cront Ardead?” I’ll tell you, anyway. As far as I know, it means nothing. You know those prove-that-you’re-not-a-robot thingies? Yeah, everyone hates them and most of the time I too, find them unnecessarily annoying; however, sometimes I’ve discovered interesting inspiration and a bit of amusement from the not-words that the characters spell out. “Cront Ardead” seemed appropriate for a post about the late Mr. Poe.