Quotations From EDGAR ALLAN POE


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  • There is ... a class of fancies, of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts, and to which, as yet, I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt language.... Now, so entire is my faith in the power of words, that at times, I have believed it possible to embody even the evanescence of fancies such as I have attempted to describe.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. "Marginalia 150," Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art (1846). Entranced by the "ineffable."

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  • To revolutionize, at one effort, the universal world of human thought, human opinion, and human sentiment.... All that he has to do is to write and publish a very little book. Its title should be simple—a few plain words—"My Heart Laid Bare." But—this little book must be true to its title.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. "Marginalia 194," Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art (1848). Expressing the torment of repression.

    Read more quotations about / on: heart, world
  • I have proceeded ... to prevent the lapse from ... the point of blending between wakefulness and sleep.... Not ... that I can render the point more than a point—but that I can startle myself ... into wakefulness—and thus transfer the point ... into the realm of Memory—convey its impressions,... to a situation where ... I can survey them with the eye of analysis.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. "Marginalia 150," Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art (1846). Conceptualizing fluid states of half-consciousness.

    Read more quotations about / on: memory, sleep
  • Taught me my alphabet to say,
    To lisp my very earliest word,
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. poet. Romance (l. 7-8). . . Complete Poems and Selected Essays [Edgar Allan Poe]. Richard Gray, ed. (1993) Everyman.
  • The unity of effect or impression is a point of the greatest importance. It is clear, moreover, that this unity cannot be thoroughly preserved in productions whose perusal cannot be completed at one sitting.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. Review of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales, Graham's Magazine (1842). Poe's famous dictum on literary composition.
  • Barnaby, the idiot, is the murderer's own son.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. Review of Charles Dickens' Barnaby Rudge, Saturday Evening Post (1841). Solving the whodunit.

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  • I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active—not more happy—nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. Letter, July 2, 1844, to poet and critic James Russell Lowell. quoted in Julian Symons, The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe, pt. 1, ch. 11 (1978).

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  • For the bright side of the painting I had a limited sympathy. My visions were of shipwreck and famine; of death or captivity among barbarian hordes; of a lifetime dragged out in sorrow and tears, upon some gray and desolate rock, in an ocean unapproachable and unknown.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. Pym, the narrator, in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, ch. 2, Harper and Brothers (1838). Youthful fantasies of wild and extreme adventures.

    Read more quotations about / on: sympathy, ocean, sorrow, death
  • Man's real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. repr. In The Centenary Poe, ed. Montagu Slater (1949). "Re-Living the Old Life," Marginalia (1844-1849).

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  • As a viewed myself in a fragment of looking-glass..., I was so impressed with a sense of vague awe at my appearance ... that I was seized with a violent tremour.
    Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), U.S. author. Pym, the narrator, in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, ch. 8, Harper and Brothers (1838). Unnerving encounters with an alienating self.
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