Reference Entry

Poe, Edgar Allan (opera)

Burton R. Pollin

in Oxford Music Online

Published in print December 1992 |
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9781561592630 | DOI:

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(b Boston, Jan 19, 1809; d Baltimore, Oct 7, 1849). American writer. After being orphaned in 1811 he had a disturbed childhood and youth and became prey to alcoholism at an early age. His literary works, memorable in their unifying images and sensitive sound effects, fostered the genres of prose poems, science and detective fiction, and imaginative hoaxes. In his literary theory, he consistently upheld music as the supreme art in its ‘indefinite conception’ which best embodies man’s basic ‘poetic sentiment’ and enables the ‘soul’ to create ‘supernal beauty’. Poe opposed narrowly imitative programme music and decorative vocal roulades, favouring a suggestive mood and freedom to experiment with form. These critical tenets, along with the obsessive and gripping nature of his popular tales and poems, quickly spread his influence throughout the western world. Baudelaire’s sedulous translations of his tales and Mallarmé’s of his poems made him an intrinsic part of late 19th-century French cultural heritage....

Reference Entry.  696 words. 

Subjects: Opera

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