I have a book of the Complete Works of Poe, and each Autumn I read from it. The stories and poetry just seem to fit like a glove in Autumn. Partly because of Halloween, partly due to the metaphor of earth going into a Winter Slumber. It works for both hemispheres, actually, but Halloween is certainly a Northern Hemisphere tradition.
Its funny, the first story I read last night was “The Power of Words”, which is set with two Greek Mythological like characters, Oinos (one) and Agathos (good). The story is based on their discussion of how earth was created, the search of truth, knowledge and happiness and the earth’s end. Very interestingly, he intimates the big bang theory where The Creator sets off an initial creation and then, its up to the living beings to evolve.
A few posts ago I mentioned the exact same thing, so maybe it’s synchronicity? Coincidence? In any case – pretty cool and fun.
Poe died at age 40 – 10 years before Darwin published his Theory of Evolution, and so while it seems like Darwin might have influenced Poe, it is more likely a coincidence, and that searching for life’s beginning and what the universe was is more likely. It must have been what people were thinking back then the Industrial Revolution was between 1760 and 1840 – so you can call that the first tech wave I suppose. I read a book about the Transit of Venus that happened in and around the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – so its cool to note that that happened even before America became America. But I digress.
Poe offered a lecture that attempted to solve Olbers Paradox, which is basically about the darkness between stars and why the night sky isn’t full of star light. There’s much more to this, so Google it – its fascinating. Darwin approached evolution from a more biological perspective – together it’s fascinating stuff.
I knew that Poe was the “inventor” of the American “detective” short story, that he had a sad tormented life, that his mother and father died when he was very young and then wife died early as well. He also struggled trying to make a living as a writer and then Alcohol and drugs.
I did not know how interested he was in science, but I’m very impressed.
Knowing more about him helps me better understand his writing, which sometimes can be hard to follow. For example, in the case of The Power of Words I did not get that the title is tied to one of the last sentences, where he basically equates the Big Bang first “vibration” to how when you speak a word its a sound vibration. More importantly how powerful the written word is. A written treatise or theory can be quite earth shaking.
And that makes so much sense. Whether it be the Bible, US Constitution or Bill of Rights or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, these are written with words that a phrase in this short story mentions could be considered Heresy.
Yeah, Poe was surely a genius. Imagine the world where Darwin, Poe and Lincoln were born in the same year, and Charles Dickens a few years later.
Headier times than our recent prophecies shared through the parables of Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore and The Kardashians ……
Yeah – I’ll choose science vs. seance . . . .