Poe: A Biography

Poe: A Biography

Poe: A Biography

Poe: A Biography

Excerpt

This is not a "fictionalized" biography but a factual one -- insofar as any biography can be, for we cannot know everything about anyone's life. My foremost intention has been to interpret the facts of Poe's life and show bow and why he wrote what be did. It is an attempt to present the life of Poe in light of his associates, his times, and his peculiarities, not the least of which were an extraordinary intelligence, a vivid imagination, and the capacity to work to exhaustion. Although statements of fact can be documented -- and a set of appendices in the back of the book takes up the points I anticipate being challenged on -- the conclusions drawn from them obviously cannot, and whatever contribution this book has to make is in those conclusions. I have tried to write a biography and not just to argue about the materials of biography -- the facts of Poe's life -- without any effort toward finding their meaning.

I have tried to understand Poe, and therefore I may be accused of pleading Poe's case. This is not my intention, and I have put forth conscious effort to keep from distorting things in his favor or in anyone's. What I have done consciously is to present his life from his point of view, showing his rationalizations and vacillations, his errors and flaws, as he might have been conscious of them. My "apology" is akin to his statement in the Preface to Eureka, which stands as the motto of this book; I believe that this biography is true -- that it portrays in fact and interpretation of fact a valid picture of the life of . . .

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