Summary and Analysis of "The Philosophy of Composition"greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
After reading this work, it is hard to comprehend exactly what Poe is trying to reveal. How can I analyze and summarize simultaneously? Could you help me with this?
-- Anonymous, September 23, 2002
Poe's method is remarkably similar to that of his stories. A preamble or quote digression to set a tone. The thesis or story. More digression as he(or the character) reflects on the feeling or analytic philosophy. Examples(or incidents) progressively working out the intention.
Probably the key passages around which the thesis and the other examples and reflections revolve is the explaantion of the writing of "The Raven." i.e. its composition process. That this is usually described as tongue in cheek should make you look for the lightness and humor in this treatment rather than taking Poe at his word here. Cold-blooded, humorous Poe is dissecting the Muse. While poems wre artworks of singular passion and highest inspiration Poe could market and present them as achievements separate from any personal meaning.
In this thesis this split reaches it height with the dispassionate critic Poe dominating, tweaking and perhaps pulling one over on the adoring public with all their misconceptions concerning these issues.
So your problem is intentional to Poe. How to analyse the analyser who is hiding some key inspriation and a good chiunk of the truth. Simply follow the structure of the essay diividn=ing it into parts and think of it as a story form, the effect Poe is trying to create, what he is doing to the reader. Then cull key ideas that Poe DOES take very seriously but perhaps does not explain fully even to himself, such as his conclusion that the melancholic death of a young woman is the highest subject of poetry. That subject is solely and sometimes with a touch of reluctance or horror the sole concern of the bereaved.It is Poe's own need for that centering, that ideal beacon of love thast is the subject, not the young woman's fate for her own sake.
-- Anonymous, September 24, 2002
I'll tell you this: Poe was a gifted poet but an awful essay writer. The point of writing an essay it to be clear about its topic; and clear is anything but the Philosophy of Composition. There are few important paragraphs, but number 13 is probably a good one to analyze. He explains what creates a good poem. 1. It should be written in ONE sitting. "brevity must be in direct ratio of the intended effect" 2. It must contain TRUTH, because truth feeds the intellect, which is produced by precision. 3. It must contain PASSION because passion "feeds the heart"- produced by homeliness... or ugliness. 4.It must contain BEAUTY because beauty feeds the soul. "beauty which is the atmosphere and essence of the poem.
Paragraph 20 should also be given a look. 25 as well. Poe explains the metre of the raven. How the latter is octameter acatalectic and how is changes with heptameter. Disregard the forst 6 or 7 paragraphs though, they have nothing to do with anything. It's in those paragraphs where he shows how pompous he is.
-- Anonymous, October 15, 2002