I am not a literati, nor have I intentions of becoming one. I am a interdisciplinary designer. A professional learner and day dreamer. This is not a scholar paper according to the norms and regulations of what determines one. Rather this is the story of how I met Mr. Edgar Allan Poe and the cultural digital byproducts of such a unique meeting.
I met Mr. Poe when I decided to register in "Poe and the New Media" class offered as part of the MATX program at Virginia Commonwealth University. During a period of sixteen weeks I read Poe's texts and listened to them using audibooks from Audible, Librivox, and Learnoutloud. This "listering" to texts practice -as I call it- has become almost addictive by now.
I found Poe's texts fascinating. They have opened a new escape tunnel into a dark side of creativity that I didn't know I had, and I hope to potentiate soon. However, sixteen weeks represents too little time to develop anything that could negotiate a definition of "scholarly" in the next few blog entries.
What I offer, here in this blogospheric new medium, is a series of observations about my interpretations of Poe's narratives and story characters hoping that my words -- given the public nature of the blogosphere -- serve as a guide to potential new comers to the world of Poe's text and textuality.
I expect this and nothing more. ;)
The first thing that caught my eye was Poe's fascination with killing people. I think he was a conceptual serial killer who --as any macabre serial killer-- loved begin caught. He would constantly encapsulate his victims in between walls [The Black Cat] or in Cellars, alive! [ The Cask of Amontillado. ] He was fascinated with boxes, entrapments, and closed spaces. I am sure he must have realized about the universal human fear towards darkness and more importantly, towards death. He capitalized these themes in his stories. Ironically, he was the one who ended up trapped in one of them by the end of this life, forever. Even though the oblong box itself collapsed and his body decayed his bones made it to Westminster Hall in Baltimore where he now rests far from peace.
When he died a vapor of mystery surrounded his sudden departure. An obituary in the local newspaper described his life in a very sour way. The clip claimed he died with no friends, and it went on stating that few would grieve his early termination.
It's been almost 160 years since Poe died. It could be argued, though, that it's been 160 years since Poe joined his most affable partner: Death. And to continue here among us -bodiless-, forever more.
It is Non Pace Requiescat for him as he is constantly scrutinized by Literary Scholars trying to unearth a new clue about his life, his writings, or his way of thinking. They want to know how he inhaled, ate, dreamed, and loved. In more than one and a half centuries Poe has become his own victim. Buried alive. Latent.
I think Poe had a rough life. One lacking of what, we humans, mostly look for: Attention. While going through a series of personal letters addressed to his step father, John Allan, in order to design TYPOE, a font face based on his handwriting (available for download by the end of this blog) I found out how painful his life was. The way he described himself was not only very touching but also very telling of his state of mind, and emotions. Both features that were essential for the 3D character studies I pursued.
160 years had gone by and He still remains among us, trapped in boxes called books, being scholarly observed, dissected, over analyzed and now trapped in a new form of electronic boxes called NEW MEDIA for short. I am still struggling with the observation regarding the analysis of his work. Aren't poems, and stories supposed to function as such? Stand alone? Self-Sufficiently? Aren't they suppose to be about the experience of reading them? The process intellectually digesting them?
Does the author's intent really matter? Or does the story matter? Is it important if Poe was racist according to today's standards, theories, and definitions of such practice. What about cultural expectations? A myriad of questions were put in front of the table before me. Yet one question presided them all: What will my contribution be to the Understanding of Poe?
This is my answer, and nothing more.
[ And this is the last time I say "nothing more" or the like, I promise ]