Did you know???
Oscar Wilde didn’t just have fantastic taste in clothing, he also had fantastic taste in literature! He was a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe. He called him, “the marvelous lord of rhythmic expression.” And considered Poe to be above noted talents like Walt Whitman, Emerson, and Longfellow. It is believed that Wilde found a kindred in Poe, as a person of letters who was on the fringe of popular society. Basically a writer who was ahead of his time. There is evidence of Wilde’s appreciation of Poe’s Gothic sense in a lot of his writings, but the one that stands out most is “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. There is evidence of Poe’s works, “Metzengerstein,” “The Assignation,” “The Oval Portrait,” “Imp of the Perverse,” “The Black Cat,” and -of course- “William Wilson” within it’s text.
Many of Wilde’s friends loved Poe as well. When Oscar Wilde went to America on a lecture tour, he wished he could meet Poe, but he had died long before Wilde’s birth. He met Walt Whitman instead. It is neat to think about Oscar Wilde dreaming of meeting Edgar Allan Poe. It’s always nice to recognize a fellow fan of Poe. 🙂
I wrote this piece as an exercise to get deeper into the stars of my novel on Poe’s life. This is written as Sarah Helen Whitman who was Mr. Poe’s ex-fiance. Though their union dissolved, she still cared about him and was one of the strongest voices that spoke on his behalf after his death. She, and others, helped right some of the wrongs that Rufus Griswold had done to Poe’s good name. This is her remembering Poe after his death.
Reflections on Edgar Allan Poe
How can one fully express one’s sentiments when reflecting upon a Spirit whose magnetic draw is greater than the Sun’s? How does one formulate the words to describe that which His countenance excites upon the heart? With a task so daunting before us, we must take steps to honor the sweet truth which my own Spirit knows so intimately. When we walk the invisible path of emotion, we must be kind and gentle. We must listen as well as express. And we must believe in the unbelievable!
His intellect was as intoxicating as the best Bourbon. When his soul-filled eyes held yours, you were instantly lost in a vast sea of torment, love, and intent. One rarely felt that he was at a loss for words, nor that he were shipwrecked upon an island all his own. Intense and profoundly present, his command of elocution drew you in like a sea beaten house of light. You felt safe, you felt important whenever his wit engaged yours. For a man whose brilliance far surpassed his contemporaries, he had the beautiful gift of making one feel as though they were never at an intellectual disadvantage when speaking with him. His honest nature both sainted and damned him all at once. He held truth above all else and was repeatedly reminded that the world was constantly craving to live destitute of reality. Everything about him was genuine. His smile came from the heart, where his laughter shortly followed. He never suffered a fool’s delusion. Steadfast and free, he never conformed to the mob. Always honest, always true. His gift, one of many, was his ease at recalling facts, be them of intellectual degree, or of a personal relation. This paired with his attention to detail, caused one to feel as though his knowing you was the most important, and wondrous thing to him! And one could not help but feel the very same about him.
One could write volumes upon volumes of the character of Mr. Poe. When the enigma that is He begins to shine before your mind, you wish to pay it the nearly sacred attention which his mind gave to you. But alas! This is just a short reminisce. Perhaps it’s cause is to ignite interest in one whose Spirit is both known and unknown to us all!