In this article Edgar Allan Poe makes it clear that writing (composition) is in his view ‘perspiration,’ and not ‘inspiration’ —Platonic or otherwise. His theory of composition is based on very simple concepts —that I would call axioms of composition— such as ‘unity of effect,’ ‘unity of impression,’ and other well-known literary tools such as beauty, truth, tone, versification, and originality. I have revised the article, re-punctuated it, and presented it in titled sections, providing end notes to complement the Reading. Because I’ve followed and practiced Poe’s axioms over the years —with much success and pleasure— I want to share the article, which is easy to read and grasp in my version; yet, keeping Poe’s inimitable style.
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About the Author
From our 21st century perspective we can find beauty, originality, and incredible heightened emotion in Poe’s poetry as well as in his stories. Not only was he a prolific producer, but also an innovator and a theoretician of literary technique.
In the latter part of the 20th century, French Freudian psychologist Jacques Lacan revived universal interest in Edgar Allan Poe, and the interest hasn’t waned well into the 21st century.