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Edgar Poe Essay, Research Paper

Born in Boston in 1809, Edgar Poe was destined to lead a rather somber and brief life, most of ita struggle against poverty. His mother died when Edgar was only two, his father already longdisappeared. He was raised as a foster child in Virginia by Frances Allen and her husband John, aRichmond tobacco merchant.

Poe later lived in Baltimore with his aunt, Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia, whom heeventually married. The trio formed a household which moved to New York and then toPhiladelphia, where they lived for about six years — apparently the happiest, most productiveyears of his life. Of Poe’s several Philadelphia homes, only this one survives.

In 1844 they moved to New York, where Poe briefly owned his own journal. Tuberculosis tookVirginia’s life in 1847, drawing it from her slowly after the fashion of this cruel affliction. Poe’ssubsequent decline was as tragic as it was rapid. In 1849 Edgar Allen Poe died in delirium of”acute congestion of the brain.”

There is a very bright side to Poe’s life, however, that the rest of us have enjoyed, if not the manhimself. His prose and poetry have forever changed the course of storytelling, setting standardsthat many authors have striven to meet and still do. Poe is widely recognized as the inventor ofthe modern mystery with his “Murders in the Rue Morgue” (written in Philadelphia). Heredetective Cesar A. Dupin solved crimes through a process of rational thinking Poe calledratiocination. Dupin was the predecessor of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and AgathaChristie’s Hercule Poirot.

Edgar Allen Poe is probably most famous for his macabre tales such as “The Raven”, “TheTell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” (the latter two written in Philadelphia,along with other famous stories and poems).

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!And, in parting from you now,Thus much let me avow -You are not wrong, who deemThat my days have been a dream;Yet if hope has flown awayIn a night, or in a day,In a vision, or in none,Is it therefore the less gone?All that we see or seemIs but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roarOf a surf-tormented shore,And I hold within my handGrains of golden sand -How few! yet how they creepThrough my fingers to the deep,While I weep – while I weep!O God! can I not graspThem with a tighter clasp?O God! can I not saveone from the pitiless wave?Is all that we see or seemBut a dream within a dream?

by Edgar Allen Poe

Carl August Sandburg was born the son of Swedish immigrants August and Clara AndersonSandburg. The elder Sandburg, a blacksmith’s helper for the nearby Chicago, Burlington andQuincy Railroad, purchased the cottage in 1873. Carl, called “Charlie” by the family, was born thesecond of seven children in 1878. A year later the Sandburgs sold the small cottage in favor of alarger house in Galesburg.

Carl Sandburg worked from the time he was a young boy. He quit school following his graduationfrom eighth grade in 1891 and spent a decade working a variety of jobs. He delivered milk,harvested ice, laid bricks, threshed wheat in Kansas, and shined shoes in Galesburg’s Union Hotelbefore traveling as a hobo in 1897.

His experiences working and traveling greatly influenced his writing and political views. As ahobo he learned a number of folk songs, which he later performed at speaking engagements. Hesaw first-hand the sharp contrast between rich and poor, a dichotomy that instilled in him adistrust of capitalism.

When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 Sandburg volunteered for service, and at theage of twenty was ordered to Puerto Rico, where he spent days battling only heat andmosquitoes. Upon his return to his hometown later that year, he entered Lombard College,supporting himself as a call fireman.

Sandburg’s college years shaped his literary talents and political views. While at Lombard,Sandburg joined the Poor Writers’ Club, an informal literary organization whose members met toread and criticize poetry. Poor Writers’ founder, Lombard professor Phillip Green Wright, atalented scholar and political liberal, encouraged the talented young Sandburg.

Writer, Political Organizer,Reporter

Sandburg honed his writing skills and adopted the socialist views of his mentor before leavingschool in his senior year. Sandburg sold stereoscope views and wrote poetry for two years beforehis first book of verse, In Reckless Ecstasy, was printed on Wright’s basement press in 1904.Wright printed two more volumes for Sandburg, Incidentals (1907) and The Plaint of a Rose(1908).

As the first decade of the century wore on, Sandburg grew increasingly concerned with the plightof the American worker. In 1907 he worked as an organizer for the Wisconsin Social Democraticparty, writing and distributing political pamphlets and literature. At party headquarters inMilwaukee, Sandburg met Lilian Steichen, whom he married in 1908.

The responsibilities of marriage and family prompted a career change. Sandburg returned toIllinois and took up journalism. For several years he worked as a reporter for the Chicago DailyNews, covering mostly labor issues and later writing his own feature.Internationally Recognized Author

Sandburg was virtually unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poemsappeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine. Two years later his book Chicago Poemswas published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career thatwould bring him international acclaim. Sandburg published another volume of poems,Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots.

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales.That book prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biographyof Abraham Lincoln for children. Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not achildren’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years,published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success. He moved to a new home on theMichigan dunes and devoted the next several years to completing four additional volumes,Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.1 PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.2 Shovel them under and let me work–3 I am the grass; I cover all.

4 And pile them high at Gettysburg5 And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.6 Shovel them under and let me work.7 Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:8 What place is this?9 Where are we now?

10 I am the grass.11 Let me work.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803-82, one of America’s most influential authors and thinkers; b.Boston. A Unitarian minister, he left his only pastorate, Boston’s Old North Church (1829-32),because of doctrinal disputes. On a trip to Europe Emerson met Thomas CARLYLE, S.T.COLERIDGE, and WORDSWORTH, whose ideas, along with those of Plato, the Neoplatonists,Asian mystics, and SWEDENBORG, strongly influenced his philosophy. Returning home (1835),he settled in Concord, Mass., which he, Margaret FULLER, THOREAU, and others made acenter of TRANSCENDENTALISM. He stated the movement’s main principles in Nature (1836),stressing the mystical unity of nature. A noted lecturer, Emerson called for American intellectualindependence from Europe in his Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard (”The American Scholar,”1837 [.txt-only version]). In an address at the Harvard divinity school (1838), he asserted thatredemption could be found only in one’s own soul and intuition. Emerson developedtranscendentalist themes in his famous Journal (kept since his student days at Harvard), in themagazine The Dial, and in his series of Essays (1841, 1844). Among the best known of his essaysare “The Over-Soul,” “Compensation,” and “Self-Reliance.” He is also noted for his poems, e.g.,”Threnody,” “Brahma,” and “The Problem.” His later works include Representative Men (1850),English Traits (1856), and The Conduct of Life (1870).

If the red slayer think he slays,Or if the slain think he is slain,They know not well the subtle waysI keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;Shadow and sunlight are the same;The vanished gods to me appear;And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;When me they fly, I am the wings;I am the doubter and the doubt,And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,And pine in vain the sacred Seven;But thou, meek lover of the good!Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Born in Huntington, Long Island, the second of nine children, Whitmanuntil then had had an undistinguished career as printer, hack writer,newspaper editor, country school teacher, and small-time housing contractor.Leaves of Grass contained twelve poems and a prose essay. The poemswere unrhymed, with irregularly metered lines of varying lengths; the stylewas a compound of Biblical phrasings, oracular bravado, lists of homelydetails, intimate celebrations of the sexual body. Completely out of tunewith the accepted literature of the day, the book passed almost unnoticed,except for an enthusiastic letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson, thanking Whitmanfor his complimentary copy. Emerson had been writing and speaking for yearsabout the need for a new and entirely American literature, and he foundWhitman’s book:“the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America hasyet contributed.”Within a year Whitman produced a second, enlarged edition, andwithout asking permission used Emerson’s letter to promote it. Whitmancontinued to rewrite and add to Leaves of Grass for the rest of his life,producing nine editions in all. He added many great poems over the years,but there is a sense in which it seems even Whitman himself becameuncomfortable with some of the startling originalities of his first book:his revisions toned down some of his best lines and gave room to a tendencytoward windy speech-making.During his 40’s Whitman lived in Washington, D.C.,and devoted himselfto helping soldiers wounded in the Civil War, mainly by visiting them inhospitals. He suffered a series of strokes in his 50’s, and spent his lastyears in a small house in Camden, New Jersey, helped and much visited byfriends and admirers. He died at 72 and was buried in a plain but massivegranite tomb which he designed and which cost more than his house.

“To One Shortly to Die”by Walt Whitman

FROM all the rest I single out you, having a message foryou:You are to die — let others tell you what they please, I cannotprevaricate,I am exact and merciless, but I love you — there is no escapefor you.

Softly I lay my right hand upon you, you just feel it,I do not argue, I bend my head close, and half envelope it,I sit quietly by, I remain faithful,I am more than nurse, more than parent or neighbor,I absolve you from all except yourself spiritual bodily, that iseternal, you yourself will surely escape,The corpse you will leave will be but excrementitious.

The sun bursts through in unlooked-for directions,Strong thoughts fill you, and confidence, you smile,You forget you are sick, as I forget you are sick,You do not see the medicines, you do not mind the weepingfriends, I am with you,I exclude others from you, there is nothing to becommiserated,I do not commiserate, I congratulate you.

Poet; born in Amherst, Mass. She attended Amherst Academy (1840–47), MountHolyoke Female Seminary (1847–48), and lived in Amherst all her life. She met theReverend Charles Wadsworth in Philadelphia (1854), and he may have been theinspiration for some of her love poems. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a former ministerand author, seems to have been her literary mentor, as indicated in an extendedcorrespondence beginning in 1862. Speculation continues regarding her personal life, butit is noted that she became a recluse c. 1862, and apparently died from the complicationsof uremia. Only two of her poems were published in her lifetime; her sister, LaviniaDickinson, discovered hundreds of her poems after her death and they were published inselections from 1890 on. The first authoritative edition, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (3vols.), edited by Thomas H. Johnson, did not appear until 1955. She is known for herpoignant, compressed, and deeply charged poems, which have profoundly influenced thedirection of 20th-century poetry and gained her an almost cultlike following among some.


A DROP fell on the apple tree,Another on the roof;A half a dozen kissed the eaves,And made the gables laugh.

A few went out to help the brook,That went to help the sea.Myself conjectured, Were they pearls,What necklaces could be!

The dust replaced in hoisted roads,The birds jocoser sung;The sunshine threw his hat away,The orchards spangles hung.

The breezes brought dejected lutes,And bathed them in the glee;The East put out a single flag,And signed the f?te away.

Poet, writer; born in Rye, N.Y. He studied at Harvard (1920–21), taught briefly, andwas a bond salesman in New York (1924). After he got a job in publishing, he began tocontribute his humorous poems to magazines including the New Yorker, whose editorialstaff he joined in 1932. He soon became known as one of America’s most sophisticatedas well as popular poets. His poetry’s ingenious rhymes and witty juxtapositions soongained him a reputation with both sophisticates and the general public. In addition toplays and prose pieces, he collaborated with S. J. Perelman on the libretto for themusical One Touch of Venus (1943) and the inimitable verses for a recording ofSaint-Sa?ns “Carnival of the Animals.”

Written by Ogden Nash (Title is unknown)

To keep your marriage brimming,With love in the loving cup,Whenever you’re wrong admit it;Whenever you’re right shut up.

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