Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success. Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.
Poe's best known fiction works are Gothic, a genre he followed to appease the public taste. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism, which Poe strongly disliked. He referred to followers of the movement as "Frogpondians" after the pond on Boston Common and ridiculed their writings as "metaphor-run", lapsing into "obscurity for obscurity's sake" or "mysticism for mysticism's sake."
Beyond horror, Poe also wrote satires, humor tales, and hoaxes. For comic effect, he used irony and ludicrous extravagance, often in an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity.In fact, "Metzengerstein", the first story that Poe is known to have published, and his first foray into horror, was originally intended as a burlesque satirizing the popular genre. Poe also reinvented science fiction, responding in his writing to emerging technologies such as hot air balloons in "The Balloon-Hoax".
He disliked didacticism and allegory, though he believed that meaning in literature should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface. Works with obvious meanings, he wrote, cease to be art. He believed that quality work should be brief and focus on a specific single effect.To that end, he believed that the writer should carefully calculate every sentiment and idea. In "The Philosophy of Composition", an essay in which Poe describes his method in writing "The Raven", he claims to have strictly followed this method. It has been questioned, however, if he really followed this system. T. S. Eliot said: "It is difficult for us to read that essay without reflecting that if Poe plotted out his poem with such calculation, he might have taken a little more pains over it: the result hardly does credit to the method." Biographer Joseph Wood Krutch described the essay as "a rather highly ingenious exercise in the art of rationalization".
Poe is particularly respected in France, in part due to early translations by Charles Baudelaire. (article about him coming soon!! ;) Baudelaire's translations became definitive renditions of Poe's work throughout Europe.
"The Black Cat"
"The Cask of Amontillado"
"A Descent into the Maelström"
"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
"The Masque of the Red Death"
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue"
"The Oval Portrait"
"The Pit and the Pendulum"
"The Premature Burial"
"The Purloined Letter"
"The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"
"The Tell-Tale Heart"
The influence of Edgar Allan Poe on the art of music has been considerable and long-standing, with the works, life and image of the horror fiction writer and poet inspiring composers and musicians from diverse genres for more than a century:
The Deathrock band Voodoo Church wrote a song for their eponymous 1982 EP called "Second Death," which incorporates several lines from "The Black Cat" into the lyrics Tool featured the lyrics "seems like I'm slipping into a dream within a dream" in the song "Sweat" on their 1992 album Opiate.
Avant-garde Metal band Arcturus have a song on the album La Masquerade Infernale (1997) called "Alone" incorporating the full, unaltered text of Poe's poem "Alone".
The L.A. Goth Rock Duo Creature Feature wrote the song "Buried Alive" about Poe, released in 2007. The song contains over 20 references to Poe's work and life. Works named include "A Dream Within a Dream", "The City in the Sea," "The Valley of Unrest," "Loss of Breath," "The Premature Burial," "The Oblong Box," "Never Bet the Devil Your Head," and many others.
Finnish goth-metal singer Ville Valo of the band HIM frequently cites Poe's work as the inspiration for many of his lyrics, even sporting a tattoo of Poe's eyes on his back.
Marilyn Manson has been quoted saying that some of his inspiration for his music and art comes from Edgar Allan Poe's works, and has even painted a portrait of Poe.
Nox Arcana, an American gothic instrumental duo, pays homage to all of Poe's literary works with their 2007 album Shadow of the Raven.
Several heavy metal bands have made reference to Poe in their recordings. Iron Maiden recorded a song titled "Murders in the Rue Morgue" for their second album, 1981's Killers. Grave Digger's 2001 album The Grave Digger is dedicated to Poe, and some of Poe's works, including "The Raven" and "Fall of the House of Usher" are the basis of a number of songs. Progressive/thrash metal band Nevermore takes its name from "The Raven". Other Metal bands that wrote songs inspired by Poe are: Agathodaimon, Annihilator, Crimson Glory, Ra's Dawn, Manilla Road, Donor, Hawaii, Rage, Metal Church and Stormwitch
Gothic Metal band Tristania have a song called "My Lost Lenore." The song refers to "her raven eyes" and ends similarly to the poem "The Raven," still mourning his lost Lenore.
The neocelt band Omnia has set "The Raven" to music on their 2007 CD Alive!.
The song "The Poet and the Pendulum" by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish is partly inspired by Poe's short story "The Pit and the Pendulum." Poe is one of the favorite writers of the band's leader, Tuomas Holopainen.
Voltaire's song Graveyard Picnic is dedicated to Poe, and includes in the lyrics references to Poe's works, such as The Conqueror Worm, Lenore, Annabel Lee, and The Tell-Tale Heart, as well as mentioning Poe by name.