Edgar, The Fount

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Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd

For Edgar Allan Poe, 1834 was an unhappy year. The death of his estranged foster father, John Allan, yielded no bequest for the 25-year-old journalist, poet and teller of tales. As it would throughout the remainder of his shadowed life, poverty bit hard.

“He had only the one shabby black suit that he donned on all occasions.” That frayed, funereal vestment, as Poe himself surely realised, serves as a metaphor for the unhappiness not only of 1834 but of so much of his life.

Emphasis added by me.

Why I fight so hard for my brother and sister writers.

How many suits do Eisner, Zucker, Ovitz, and Retard Boy own?

Show me a book publisher with only one suit.

Show me an agent with only one suit.

Now go on, you Suits: tell me the names of Poe’s publishers.

You are as forgettable as they were.

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6: 1, 2, 5, 16

Emphasis added by me.

Enjoy your reward. It’s all dust. And so are you.

Baudelaire:

Annoyed with everyone and annoyed with myself, I long to redeem myself and to bolster my pride a bit in the silence and solitude of the night. Souls of those I have loved, souls of those I have sung, fortify me, sustain me, remove me from untruth and the world’s corrupting fumes. And you, Lord my God! Grant me the grace to produce a few beautiful verses to prove to myself that I am not the lowest of men, and that I am not inferior to those I despise!

Parisian Prowler, “At One O’Clock In The Morning, ” pg. 17

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Source: NYPL Digital Gallery, The New York Public Library

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