Study Guide

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

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"I have an inveterate habit of speaking the truth."

Edgar Allan Poe

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.""Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sittingOn the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreamingAnd the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floorShall be lifted--nevermore!

From The Raven

"The man, or men, who told you that there was anything wrong in the tone of my reply, were either my enemies, or your enemies, or asses. When you see them, tell them so from me."

Edgar Allan Poe to Louis Godey, 16 July 1846

"Surely there can be few things more ridiculous than the general character and assumptions of the ordinary critical notices of new books. A back-woods editor, sometimes without the shadow of the commonest attainment — always without time — often without brains — does not hesitate to give the world to understand that he is in the daily habit of critically reading and deciding upon a flood of publications, one-tenth of whose title-pages he may possibly have turned over — three-fourths of whose contents would be Hebrew to his most desperate efforts at comprehension — and whose entire mass and amount, as might be mathematically demonstrated, would be sufficient to occupy, in the most cursory perusal, the attention of some ten or twenty readers for a month."

Edgar Allan Poe, essay on "American Poetry"

"There comes Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge, Three fifths of him genius and two fifths sheer fudge."

James Russell Lowell

"Lord, help my poor soul."

Poe's last words

Baltimore City, Oct. 3, 1849Dear Sir,There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, he is in need of immediate assistance.Yours, in haste,OS. W. WALKER

Letter sent to Poe's doctor after he was found ill in Baltimore

"For these reasons there exists a very remarkable discrepancy between the apparent public opinion of any given author's merits and the opinion which is expressed of him orally by those who are best qualified to judge. For example, Mr. Hawthorne, the author of 'Twice-Told Tales,' is scarcely recognised by the press or by the public, and when noticed at all, is noticed merely to be damned by faint praise. Now, my own opinion of him is, that although his walk is limited and he is fairly to be charged with mannerism, treating all subjects in a similar tone of dreamy innuendo, yet in this walk he evinces extraordinary genius, having no rival either in America or elsewhere — and this opinion I have never heard gainsaid by any one literary person in the country. That this opinion, however, is a spoken and not a written one, is referable to the facts, first, that Mr. Hawthorne is a poor man, and, second, that he is not an ubiquitous quack. Again, of Mr. Longfellow, who, although little quacky per se, has, through his social and literary position as a man of property and a professor at Harvard, a whole legion of active quacks at his control — of him what is the apparent popular opinion? Of course, that he is a poetical phenomenon, as entirely without fault as is the luxurious paper upon which his poems are invariably borne to the public eye."

Edgar Allan Poe, essay on "The Literati of New York City"

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