Welcome to POE FUNERAL.
Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died on Sunday morning, October 7th, 1849. How he spent the last week of his life, how he died, and what he died of - still remains as much a mystery as the personality of the poet himself. Tonight, we hope to set the record straight.
Ask any schoolboy and he’ll tell you that Poe was a writer of creepy stories and a poem about a persistent bird.
Ask any moralist and he’ll tell you that Poe was a drunkard wallowing in self-pity.
Ask any artist touched by his genius and he’ll tell you that Edgar Allan Poe was a brilliant craftsman who created and subverted genres of literature and, as a critic and editor, established the foundations of American Literature.
Since his death, artists have been attracted to Poe as much by his life as by his work. They have been seduced by the 19th century romantic ideal of the mad "tortured" artist.
But, this is pure mythology.
In fact, Poe was a pioneering, diligent and sharply focused craftsman ahead of his own time.
He made the mistake of being poor, being uncommercial, being an uncompromising, honest, arrogant, and virulent critic who made a lot of enemies and a few friends.
When he died, the influential and mediocre poet Rufus Griswold maligned Poe’s reputation and the legends were born.
Later in the 19th century, the French literati fell in love with this romantic figure and made him their saviour. This served to increase Poe’s popularity and manifested his renaissance, but this also perpetuated the myths about his character.
Although he is best remembered by his tales of the macabre and his lushly romantic poetry, he brought the Gothic into the Modern era, he originated the detective genre, experimented in science fiction, and did more than dabble in fantasy, adventure, politics, satire, the hoax, and outright comedy.
Poe led the way for Ambrose Bierce, Baudelaire, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rimbaud, Brahm Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, H.P. Lovecraft, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, John Dickson Carr, T.S. Eliot, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and Stephen King.
In Cinema, the genius of Poe is evidenced in the work of Jean Epstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Corman, Richard Matheson, George Romero, Stuart Gordon, and David Cronenberg.
Even television shows like "The Twilight Zone", "Columbo", and "The X Files" owe their existence to Poe.
Tonight, we will let Poe, his friends, and his enemies speak for themselves.