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Thursday, January 19, 2023

'Dreaming both day and night'


“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Today is the birthdate (in 1809) of writer, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre.  Widely regarded as a key figure of both Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole, he also was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story.

The first well-known American writer to try to make a living by writing alone, Poe's lack of income may have been a contributing factor to his early death at age 40.   But the actual cause has never been determined, and has been the subject of several movies and “whodunit?” books.

Poe probably would have liked that.  He enjoyed writing a good mystery and a good detective story.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in fact, said "Each [of Poe's stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed . . . Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?"  The Mystery Writers of America have named their annual awards for excellence the "Edgars.”

His crafting of pieces using “just the right word or turn of phrase” might reflect back to his love  

 of language and the poetic uses of words.   He once noted,  “I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty."

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