Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Search Term Revelations

Edgar Allan PoeJust to keep everyone au courant, I offer a few more recent glimpses into the life of a Poe Blogger--and what a life it is--courtesy of the ever-fascinating Stats page. (Which, of course, has been non-operational for some days now, with Blogger seemingly unable to say when--or if--it will ever be fixed. Good going, guys.) What better way to anticipate tomorrow than by presenting a real turkey of a post?Happy vegetarian Thanksgiving, Edgar Allan Poe fans.  Spare these birds!For those of you keeping score at home, Poe's sister is still the big draw here (I just may throw up my hands and rename this blog "The World of Rosalie Mackenzie Poe,") but lately I've seen a number of hits from people looking for information about Thomas Dunn English, of all people. I can't say that surprises me. English may have been a lying creep with all the finer sensibilities of a sewer rat, but the man certainly played a lively role in Poe's life. Other current keyword searches that have brought people here include:

1. edgar allan poes male lovers

I wonder what Charles F. Briggs would make of this.

2. undines curse symptoms and explanations

I admit I'm easily irritated (most of what gets written about Poe has done absolutely nothing to help,) and I'm not what you'd call the soul of tact, but isn't that going a bit far?

3. undineblog

I'm becoming almost as popular as Rosalie Poe.

4. edgar allan poe annabel lee burton

Burton? Poe's old boss William Burton? Poe specialist Burton R. Pollin? The actor Richard Burton? The scholar and explorer Sir Richard Burton? The film director Tim Burton? Burton, Ohio? Dan Burton, the Representative for Indiana's Fifth District? The excellent guitarist James Burton? Burton's Foods? (The second largest biscuit maker in the UK!) Burton Cummings, lead singer for The Guess Who? I'm curious about this one.

5. poe stole lyrics for raven from which poem

Sigh. Over here.

6. edgar poe confessional type letter to pen pal

I confess this one has me stumped. Could you be referring to this letter to George W. Eveleth?

7. edgar allan poe change the world

Well, he thought "Eureka" would do that. For all I know, he was right. Reading it certainly changed my world.

8. is there a grave site for e.a. poe in prov. ri

Particularly when she was high on ether, Sarah Helen Whitman must have been a grave sight indeed for Poe.

9. edgar allan poe strange life

You don't know the half of it.

10. edgar allan poe's letter of marriage to Maria Clemm
edgar allen poe's marriage proposal to Maria Clemm

I sincerely hope these Googlers were not looking for what they appear to have been looking for. If you know what I mean.

Does anyone here have an aspirin handy?

11. are there dinner plates with edgar allan poe or his characters on them

You know, I just don't think "King Pest" dinner plates will do much to whet the appetites of your guests.

Although, now that I think about it, there are possibilities in the Poe tableware line: "Pit and the Pendulum" cutlery. "Cask of Amontillado" wine glasses. "Hop-Frog" candelabrums. And after the meal is over...

..."Berenice" toothbrushes!

I could really, really, use that aspirin.

12. what was poe's uncle's name

Judging by the online Poe family trees, George Washington Poe was Edgar's only uncle to live past infancy. He had little or nothing to do with Edgar's life so far as we know. Oddly, though, in the deposition Thomas Dunn English gave during Poe's libel suit against the "New York Mirror," he claimed Poe had committed an unspecified act of forgery against a man identified only as "his uncle." English gave no further details, and we have no other information that would clarify the matter. As I have said in earlier posts, that libel suit of Poe's is a veritable minefield of weird little mysteries.

13. why didn't virginia poe have a baby

She never shared that bit of information with the world.

14. why did people hate edgar allan poe

Now, there's a long story, and one not for the squeamish. I go into some of the reasons in these two posts.

15. maria poe clemm's hometown

Baltimore, MD. If only all of life's questions were that simple to answer.

16. george fordham painting "the demon"

I take it this is what you were looking for.George Fordham the DemonI find it strangely intriguing that a hunt for a picture of a Victorian-era jockey should somehow lead you to a blog about Edgar Poe. Google truly moves in mysterious ways.

Incidentally, there's a Poe quote you might appreciate: "The speed of a horse is sublime--that of a man absurd." That line said it all about Zenyatta's run in this last Breeders' Cup. There's no way in the world anyone could call a magnificent performance like that a "losing" one. That race still broke my heart, though. To again borrow Poe's words:
"Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
'On! on!'--but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!"

17. edgar allan poe voting scandal

I assume you're referring to the legend that Poe was "cooped," i.e., drugged and forced to vote in Baltimore's election numerous times, and that this impolite treatment led to his death. I've never been able to put much stock in this tale (although I'm sure the sheer perversity of the claim would have amused Poe himself enormously,) but a remarkable number of Baltimoreans, including Neilson Poe, were convinced it was the truth. In any case, it says much for Poe's life history that this is far from the weirdest story told about him.

18. what kind of man was edgar allen poe's father?

There is not enough information available about David Poe to say for certain. The little we have about him gives the impression of an obnoxious jerk with a drinking problem, but we simply don't know if that's a fair assessment. He also has the reputation of having been a mediocre actor, but Edgar's biographer Arthur H. Quinn argued that the fact that David Poe consistently found work--often in major roles--suggests he had more talent than is generally believed. And, of course, it's anyone's guess where or how or when he died. All in all, the man is a puzzle.

Another strange thing about David Poe: Edgar had a sentimental affection for the memory of his mother, Eliza Arnold Poe, and took pride in being the son of a performer of beauty and talent. However, he gave no sign of having the least interest in his father--even though he lived for years with David's sister Maria. This may have been because he was aware of the stories that David deserted his wife and young children, but, again, who knows?

19. letter to maria clemm hidden message

I have no idea what this message might have been, but I'm praying it wasn't a marriage proposal.

20. evidence poe died because of gas lighting

You might want to read this article, if you haven't already. In short, it indicates that while Poe was exposed to a high level of heavy metal exposure while he lived in New York City, largely due to exposure to gas, these levels dropped after his move to Fordham, which did not have such illumination. In any case, if gas lighting was enough to kill you, I presume most of the civilized world of that period would have dropped down dead.

Speaking of that article, is anyone else disturbed by the amount of various poisons found in Virginia's hair? I'm hardly an expert in such matters, but considering she was already weakened by tuberculosis, it does not seem improbable those toxins would have done something to hasten her death. I'd be curious to hear a professional opinion on the subject. I'd also be curious to know exactly how all those poisons got into her system.

21. edgar allen poe irresponsible family man?

Oh, please don't tell me you've been reading "Poe & Fanny." Or its equally notorious inspiration, "Plumes in the Dust." (I'd love to once write what I really think of those two books, and all the damage they caused to what little personal reputation Poe had left, not to mention the damage they caused to standards of scholarship and good writing--Undine's curse, indeed--but I don't care to get this blog deleted.) In reality, while Poe couldn't be called the world's greatest provider--something which was largely no fault of his own--he took his responsibilities to his wife and mother-in-law very seriously, and, in his admittedly offbeat fashion, always tried his best for them.

22. edgar allan poe's daughter

See #21 above. Trust me in this: He never had one.

John Evangelist Walsh has a good deal to answer for.

23. did poe come to saratoga?

Glad you asked. Read this, and marvel at the Creation of a Poe Legend. These fables about his Saratoga jaunts have always particularly annoyed me, because they are usually repeated as hard fact. Rather like the myth that Fanny Osgood was estranged from her husband.

Trying to refute Poe Mythology is like battling the Hydra.

24. neal songy edgard

Undine ponders, weak and weary.

25. marai clemm's riddles

On second thought, forget the aspirin. How about a bottle of a nice Merlot?

(Header images: NYPL Digital Gallery)