A poet, short story writer, and journalist, tormented genius Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), was the master of the macabre, who described poetry as being opposed to a work of science because its immediate object is "pleasure, not truth."
His "pleasure" poetry included The Raven (1845) and The Bells (1849). A foremost literary critic, he also invented the murder mystery genre with The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) in which his detective Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin uses ratiocination (the process of exact thinking) to solve the crime.
Born on this day in Boston, Poe celebrated the cryptic. Some of his remarkable horror classics included The Masque of the Red Death (1842), The Pit and the Pendulum (1842), The Tell-Tale Heart (1843), and Black Cat (1843).
"I have great faith in fools; self-confidence, my friends call it," Poe once proclaimed.
They say he always dressed in black. He was handsome, with hypnotic eyes that women found attractive. With a passionate devotion to words and clever use of language, he wrote repeatedly about the heart, as the "pump" of the body and as the driving force of all experiences.
"I became insane," he wrote to his mother-in-law following the tragic death of his wife, "with moments of horrible sanity."
An enigma, a genius, and greatly admired, Poe inspired many, including George Bernard Shaw who called him "the greatest journalistic critic of his time."
More Edgar Allen POE Quotations
"All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream..."