I try not to gossip, but really, sometimes it’s hard.
Poe and these women!
For a dour guy with a short and troubled lifespan, he certainly had a lot of romantic intrigue. Case in point: one poem “Thou wouldst be loved” gets recycled four times, for four different women.
Let’s just jump to the end, when he was truly struggling with the mortal illness of his young wife, Virginia. Somehow he was at the same time steeped in scandal around town. But in fairness, much of it was instigated not by him, but by the women around him.
Some of these women wrote letters to one another about him. Poet Fanny Osgood, (married and rumored to have been involved with Poe in these late years) writes here, to another of Poe’s female admirers – we get to be a fly on the literary salon wall…
“I meet Mr. Poe very often at the receptions. He is the observed of all observers. His stories are thought wonderful, and to hear him repeat the Raven, which he does very quietly, is an event in one’s life. People seem to think there is something uncanny about him, and the strangest stories are told, and, what is more, believed, about his mesmeric experiences, at the mention of which he always smiles. His smile is captivating!…. Everybody wants to know him; but only a very few people seem to get well acquainted with him.”
I think she hit the nail on the head. It is really very hard to get well acquainted with Edgar Allan Poe. Take the fact that he writes many of his scare-tales in first person using his own name – what is a person to think? Who is the real Poe? –– Or take my interviews with EAP, The Action Figure, for example. I am sure you have noticed that he just won’t open up.
So, I guess I have had to content myself with becoming well acquainted with his verse instead. Here to close is a favorite of mine, a profoundly beautiful poem: A Dream within a Dream by Eddie. Enjoy…