After watching the movie “The Pale Blue Eye” this evening, I’m reminded of my long time admiration (and sometimes obsession) with Edgar Allan Poe.
Unusual as it may be, my initial exposure to E. A. Poe was long ago when I was a lad of only 17 years of age. At that magical time I was made aware of an album by Alan Parsons titled “Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allan Poe” – Parson’s first.
Mr. Parsons had a rather magical resume prior to this album: He was assistant engineer to the Beatles Abbey Road album, engineer for Paul McCartney, The Hollies, and eventually Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. He then became a producer for several artists which culminated in producing his first album – this one with a theme of E.A. Poe’s stories & poems.
I was mesmerized and listened to this piece of vinyl over and over and over again – all the while reading the romantically creative and tragic life chronology of Mr. Poe in the album’s insert artwork. As a melancholy depressive teenager I was drawn by undeniable curiosity. So, I went to my local bookstore and acquired Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. I devoured it – and throughout, finding myself having to look up much of his early 1800s language in a dictionary to understand the brushstrokes of his rich literary talent. Such a vivid image he painted with his words!
And the more I could find and read about his life story, I found myself empathetic to his struggles and sorrows – fighting to get published, make a living and be recognized for his artistry. Struggling to find love, recognition, success – – dying at the disappointingly early age of 40 years.
You were an unrecognized genius Mr. Poe. I only wish your life could have held more pleasant outcomes than you experienced. But, then again, would you have produced such incredible work had you not suffered as so many artists do?
We shall never know.
Carpe diem friends!
Feature image: Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe in 1848 by Oscar Halling