27 votes
Accepted

Did Lenore merely leave or is she dead?

She's dead. As Poe writes himself in his Philosophy of Composition, an essay about competent poetic writing based on his own analysis of The Raven (full text available here): I had now gone so far as ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
27 votes
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Did Poe plagiarise someone else's work when writing "The Raven"?

TL;DR: There have been several major accusations that Poe plagiarized The Raven from a number of different works, many in other languages. However, those claims have little to no evidence to back them ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 5,864
24 votes
Accepted

Why Pallas in "The Raven"?

Poe himself offers a brief answer to this in his 1846 essay The Philosophy of Composition. He states: I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, also for the effect of contrast between the marble ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22k
23 votes
Accepted

How many of Poe's stories are interconnected?

TL;DR: There are a few connections between Poe's works, generally via one story being directly or indirectly referenced in another one published later. However, there are two instances of multiple ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 5,864
20 votes
Accepted

What does 'Gilead' mean in The Raven?

Commentators like William Giraldi, The Annotated Poe, point out that this refers to Jeremiah 8:22: Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
17 votes

Did Lenore merely leave or is she dead?

LENORE IS DEAD. The following confirms that Lenore is dead: The narrator expresses grief for the "lost Lenore" Lost is defined as "something that cannot be recovered." Lenore cannot be recovered, ...
Nevermore's user avatar
  • 171
13 votes
Accepted

What does the raven symbolize (besides death)?

I don't believe the Raven symbolizes death at all, but rather life, in grief of having to live after a loved one is dead. As Poe himself put it in his essay Philosophy of Composition: The reader ...
Joshua Engel's user avatar
  • 5,038
10 votes
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Why did Montresor want to kill Fortunato?

The cask of Amontillado is the description of a murder by the murder himself, Montresor. As you have noticed, information about the motive for the crime is very scarce in this short story. There is no ...
Nico's user avatar
  • 220
8 votes

Which German book was Poe referring to?

Hortulus Animae (or better in French) is the usual answer. See, for instance, section 3 of this essay: Just as one need not know precisely which "certain German book" Poe is referring to ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,135
8 votes
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Was Stevenson's Treasure Island influenced by Poe?

Stevenson's admission of the earlier stories and authors he'd plagiarised borrowed ideas from comes in My First Book - his little-known preface to Treasure Island, first published in McClure's ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
8 votes
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Is the old man still alive at the end of The Tell-tale Heart?

It was his crazy, guilty conscience. As well as the quote you mention, in which the murderer makes sure that the old man is dead by holding his hand to his heart for "many minutes" without feeling a ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
7 votes

Where is the Poe quote "Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them" from?

Poe wrote it in his Marginalia, but it seems he didn't invent this saying himself. It's written in Poe's Marginalia, which were originally published variously but can be found collected together in ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
6 votes

Why is there a focus on the atmosphere in The Fall of the House of Usher?

Enhancing the creepy feeling Describing the weather and external conditions certainly does this effectively. The whole story has a masterfully built atmosphere of oppressive dread - not a dread ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
6 votes

Where is the Poe quote "Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them" from?

Following on from Rand's answer, I decided to do a bit of digging myself. I found this quote from an old magazine called "The Monthly Mirror", which ran from 1795 to 1811, in the July 1807 ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 23.9k
6 votes

What does Dupin mean about a seal formed of bread?

It's part of an elaborate set of puns. Shosuke Kinugawa, in the paper "Taking Yet Mistaking: Puns in “The Purloined Letter”" explains it like this: There are six interrelated puns here. First is ...
Mithical's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why did the Pit and the Pendulum lack historical authenticity?

‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ belongs to the Gothic horror genre, in which stories are not expected to be realistic. The story has multiple fantastic elements—for example, the Spanish Inquisition even at ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 55.2k
5 votes
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What's the significance of leap years in Poe's “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade”?

Normally, the American practice was that a man asked a woman to marry him, not for the woman to ask the man. For a woman to ask was very forward and unfeminine of her. There was a practice imported ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,035
5 votes
Accepted

Why does Poe's "Arthur Gordon Pym" become so Technical and Scientific all of a sudden?

The consensus of scholars is that Poe assembled Arthur Gordon Pym in a series of stages under financial and deadline pressure, that his conception of the novel changed at each stage, and that the ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 55.2k
5 votes
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How are old horror short stories classified?

Most of the authors you list belong to a genre known as Weird Fiction. The Wikipedia article on the genre has four out of the five authors you name under its list of notable contributors and names Poe ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22k
3 votes
Accepted

What does Dupin mean about a seal formed of bread?

Leaving to @Mithical's answer the matter of the pun, this is the ‘more boring answer’ about making of a seal with bread which makes the pun possible: While the thing adhering to the letter to keep it ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 18.9k
3 votes

Is there any indication that Poe feared live burial?

No, there seems to be no evidence that Poe was taphephobic. This answer relies heavily on the master's thesis Taphephobia in Edgar Allan Poe's Collection of Gothic Tales: A New Historicist Study of ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
3 votes
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What do the yellow banners in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Haunted Palace" symbolize?

In context in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, the poem ‘The Haunted Palace’ is a conceit (an extended metaphor) in which the palace represents Roderick Usher’s head, and its occupants his thoughts. ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 55.2k
3 votes
Accepted

Were the footnotes included in the original text of the 1002nd Tale of Scheherazade?

They are original. The text of the first publication (Godey's Lady's Book, February 1845, pp. 61-67) shows them.
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,035
3 votes

Meter and number of syllables per line in "The Raven"

unless I count "many a" as 2 syllables (MA-nya) and curious as 2 (CU-rious). This doesn't sound too unnatural to me. (Disclaimer: I speak with a British accent, which Poe didn't.) Let's check how it ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.3k
2 votes

What is the message of Poe's "Eleonora"?

Funerals are for the living. Deathbed promises, on the other hand, are for the dying. The story (as you note) is autobiographical, so this issue must have weighed heavily on Poe. His wife was sick, ...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
  • 1,217
2 votes
Accepted

Which German book was Poe referring to?

Poe’s source for the opening sentence was an essay on ‘Style’ by Thomas de Quincey, published in July 1840, just five months before Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’: Of a German book, otherwise entitled ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 55.2k
2 votes

What does Edgar Allan Poe mean by "supererogation is not presumable of any Divine Act"?

A paraphrase would be God doesn't do more than He needs to. To paraphrase more closely we cannot presume that any divine act would include anything unnecessary. Supererogation means doing more than is ...
Stuart F's user avatar
  • 729

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