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The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451526406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451526403
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Jay Parini who teaches English at Middlebury College, is the author of five novels including Benjamin's Crossing and The Last Station.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Big Balls on April 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the sorrowful and melancholic lines of "Ulalume" to the exclamatory rhymes of "The Bells," this thin volume has it all. (Well, not exactly all, for this book does not have some of the lesser known poems of Poe such as "To Isadore," "A Paean," and "An Enigma" - but it is nonetheless a great book to have.)
For big Poe fans, especially, this is true. There are so many anthologies which carry about two or three of his poems, but it is not easy to find one that is solely dedicated to his complete poetry. Usually, it is his short stories that attract publishers' attention.
Since Poe's poetry is so beautifully-written and delightful to recite, it's good to have a book on which you could look at whenever you forget a Poe poem, or simply want to read or reread one.
Edgar Allan Poe never left behind as big a bulk of literature as Charles Dickens or Henry James. In fact, compared to many other classic writers, he didn't leave much behind. So, indeed, what little he left can all be contained in within a section of a bookshelf. So why not own his work?
Poe was an excellent literary thinker, whose imagination will never be rivaled. And to those who enjoy good poetry, this book must be in within your bookshelves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 23, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most people know that Edgar Allen Poe wrote poetry. Of course, you'd be hard-pressed to make them quote a line that doesn't involve ravens.

Well, it's time for some poetry homework -- "The Raven" is neither Poe's most beautiful nor his most striking poem. That is reserved for other, more obscure works in Poe's "Complete Poetry" -- and while one might expect the ghostly or macabre to be all throughout his work, it's also filled with transcendent beauty, wistfulness, and some truly amazing wordwork.

Over his lifetime, Poe tried out many styles -- there are sonnets, short hymns, long rambling odes written in dramatic, vaguely Shakespearean style ("O, human love! thou spirit given/On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!"), acrostics, little exercises in self-reflection, a lyrical song or two, and some haunting stories rendered in verse like the bittersweet "Annabel Lee."

And the content of these poems is just as diverse. Some of them are distinctly dark -- sunken cities, tolling bells, haunted palaces, thoughts on the lingering spirits of the dead, abandoned valleys, and loved ones that have been stolen away by death (" I pray to God that she may lie/For ever with unopened eye/While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!"). And yes, it has the one about a midnight dreary, and a creepy raven with eyes like "a demon's that is dreaming."

And there are a lot of moments of beauty -- lush descriptions of nature, bittersweet dreams, love for a beautiful girl, and elfin odes to those who "put out the star-light/With the breath from their pale faces/About twelve by the moon-dial...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Edgar Allan Poe wrote "The Poetic Principle" as a series of lectures that were not published until shortly after his death in 1849. In it, he clarifies various stands he had earlier taken on the genesis of his writing. He begins by repeating a basic tenet taken from his "The Philosophy of Composition:" "I hold that a long poem does not exist." Further, the term "a long poem" is "simply a flat contradiction in terms."

What is critical for the poet is that his poem must "elevate" the soul, by which he sees a mathematically determined ratio that uses this elevation to fix its value. Though elevation must surely lead to excitement, it does not follow that this excitement can be sustained indefinitely. In his earlier essay, Poe had written that no poem ought to be so extended in length that one needs more than thirty minutes to finish. In "The Poetic Principle," he reasserts that the longer the poem, the more rapidly the reader will lose interest. For epic poems like Paradise Lost, Poe denies its existence as a single unified work. Rather, he terms such lengthy poems as "a series of minor poems," the reading of which inevitably leads to "a constant alteration of excitement and depression," which to Poe is a serious defect. When a reader faces the daunting prospect of maintaining interest while plowing through a long poem, Poe offers the helpful suggestion that this reader might try reading it out of sequence, thus keeping focused on that one part. Poe mentions the Iliad as an example of an epic poem that is less a single unified work than it is a series of lyrics. From the Iliad, he contemplates the fate of the epic of his era. His conclusion is pessimistic: "But the day of these artistic anomalies is over.
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