Literary critism is extremely essential in the understanding of literature works. Critism on Edgar Allan Poe varies with poems, short stories, and other literary works. Harold Bloom has published two books maybe even more on the critism and interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. In both of these books there are other authors and critics, explaing and evaluating Poe’s works. Some critical view points are on his poems, others are on his short stories, and some are just on his style of writing.
Since Edgar Allan Poe has published many poems and short stories over a period of time it is no wonder why there is so much critism on his works. In Daniel Hoffman’s book ” Poe Poe Poe Poe” , he tells a story about a professor who is to lecture about Poe’s poetry. Before the professor begins to read one of Poe’s poems, he states ” No poet in the English tongue who is still read with reverence has committed such gaffes against the genius of our language, nor has written lines of comparable banality. ” ( Hoffman, p. 20 ).
This explains how other poets respect and admire the poems written by Edgar Allan Poe . There is not just admiration and respect for Poe’s poems, there is also negative critism. A critic named John Neal stated If Edgar Allan Poe of Baltimore whose lines About ” Heaven” , though he professes to r- Egard them as all together superior to any thing in the whole range of American poetry, Save two or three trifles referred to, are non- sense, rather exquisite nonsense- would but do himself justice (he) might make a beautiful and erhaps a magnificent poem. Neal, p. 35).
This is not exactly negative critisim, but it is not recognizing Poe as a magnificent poet as most other people do. Shoshana Felman does not give her own opinion of Poe, but tells how the rest of society sees him. She states the Poe is both highly acclaimed, and violently disclaimed as a poet. She also says that he is the most controversial, and thoroughly misunderstood figure in the American literary scene. Not only are Poe’s poems controversial and misunderstood, but so are his short stories or ” tales “.
Not everybody finds them controversial though, some people admire them and find ” genius ” in them. D. H. Lawrence sees Poe more as a scientist than an artist. D. H. Lawrence states that ” This is why Poe calls his things ” tales ” . They are a concatenation of cause and effect”( Lawrence, p. 21). D. H. Lawrence also recognizes Poe as an artist too though. Lawrence states ” His best, however are not tales. They are more. They are ghastly stories of the human soul in its disruptive throes” ( Lawrence, p. 22). What he means is that they are love stories.
Some of Poe’s love stories that are quite frequently misunderstood are ” The Fall of the House of Usher”, and ” Ligeia”. Some people believe that ” The Fall of the House of Usher” is controversial, because it is his cousin, but they must look deeper into it, and use symbolism to receive the real message. Walter Stepp is another critic who has commended on Poe. Stepp did not really criticize Poe’s work, but actually explained it. Stepp explained the characteristics of Fortunato and Montressor in the tale ” The Cask of Amontillado”“.
Stepp points out that Poe purposely points out subtly how much the characters are alike, but how Montressor keeps trying to reassure himself that they are not. Although Stepp sees Fortunato as Montressors double and vice versa, another critic named John Gruesser states ” Although I do not dismiss the presence of doubling in the story, Montressor may represent one half of humankind’s dual nature and Fortunato the other” ( Gruesser, p. 1). Edgar Allan Poe has a unique style of writing. There is no other poet or author in the world that has the same style of writing as Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe keeps a certain pattern in all his writings from characters to scenery. Daniel Hoffman comments ” I thought perhaps Poe, kept this reason out of sight in some subterranean chamber, entombed like so many of the victims in his tales, allowing it to work upon us only directly as he says allegory best operates” (Hoffman, p. 201). Hoffman shows light in another example of how Poe portrays his characters, Hoffman states ” His protagonists are all attempting to get out of the clotted condition of their own materiality, to cross a barrier between the perceptible sensual world and which lies beyond it” (Hoffman, p. 2).
These interpretations relate to ” The Cask of Amontillado “, where Fortunato becomes entombed, and Montressor is trying to find a way to make a better life for himself. Henry James also commends Poe’s style of writing, James states ” Very remarkable was this process of Edgar Poe’s, and very extrordinary were his principals; but he had the advantage of being a man of genius, and his intelligence was frequently great” (James, p. 82).