Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shakespearean time - Elizabethan period part 3

Elizabethan Theatre

Elizabethan Theatre History and Timeline
The history of the theater is fascinating. How plays were first produced in the yards of inns - the Inn-yards. The very first theater and the development of the amphitheatre! The Elizabethan Entrepreneurs ( the men with the ideas and the money!). The building, design and construction of a London Elizabethan Theatre. The plays, the playwrights, the politics and the propaganda all play an important part in the history of the Elizabethan Theatre. The Elizabethan Theatre was a booming business. People loved the Theatre! The Elizabethan plays and theatres were as popular as the movies and cinemas of the early 20th century. Vast amounts of money could be made! The inn-keepers increased their profits by allowing plays to be shown on temporary stages erected in the yards of their inns (inn-yards). Soon purpose-built playhouses and great open theatres were being constructed. The great success of the theatre and what led to its downfall. The section covering Elizabethan Theatre includes the following subjects:
  • The History of the Elizabethan theatre - the Inn-Yards, the Amphitheatres and the Playhouses
  • Elizabethan Plays and Propaganda
  • Elizabethan theatre and Plays banned from London City Limits
  • The Puritans and the demise of the Elizabethan Theatre
An Elizabethan Theatre Time presents all of the imported dates and events in the history of the Elizabethan Theatre in a logical order!
Famous London Elizabethan Theatres
The theatre was an expanding industry during the Elizabethan era. Many theatres sprang up in and around the City of London. The excitement, money and fame lured Elizabethan theatre entrepreneurs and actors into working in the famous Elizabethan Theatre. Information about each of the most famous names and type of theatre in the Elizabethan era have been described in this section including the Globe,
the Theatre, Newington Butts, the Curtain Elizabethan Theatre, the Rose Theatre, the Swan Theatre, the Fortune Elizabethan Theatre, the Boars Head , the Bear Garden, the Bull Ring and the Hope Elizabethan Theatre.




Shakeperean time - Elizabethan period part 2

Elizabethan Hair Styles

Elizabethan Hair StylesElizabethan Hair Styles for the court were led by Queen Elizabeth. Upper class fashion, which included hairstyles, was highly elaborate - and necessary to achieve attention and success at court. It was referred to as the Peacock age as the Upper class Elizabethan men were often more elaborately dressed than the women and their hair and beards received a similar amount of attention!
Elizabethan Hair ColorIt was important for Queen Elizabeth to maintain her image and the beauty of a 'Virgin Queen'. The Elizabethan view of ideal beauty was a woman with light hair and a snow white complexion complimented with red cheeks and red lips. Queen Elizabeth achieved this picture of ideal beauty by using white make-up. This explains the odd white face make-up seen in many of her portraits. Queen Elizabeth had a natural red color hair. This red hair look was emulated by many of the nobility of the Elizabethan era, as was the fair hair ideal of an ideal woman! An Upper Class Elizabethan woman followed this fashion further and might even dye her hair yellow with a mixture of saffron, cumin seed, celandine and oil! Wigs were also commonly used - Queen Elizabeth had a wide variety of wigs and hair pieces - believed to number over eighty! These were often referred to as Periwigs.
Elizabethan Hair Styles for WomenElizabethan Hair Styles for women were designed to compliment the upper class fashions of the day. Ruffs, or ruffles, were in high fashion and during the Elizabethan era these became more elaborate and were constructed on gauze wings which were raised at the back of the head. The ruffs, or collars, framed the face and dictated the hairstyles of the age which were generally short for men ( at the beginning of the Elizabethan era) and swept up look was required for women. A frizzy hairstyle was also one of the required styles for women! Women kept their hair long and the full natural beauty of their long hair was displayed by the young women of the era. The long hair flowing hair of a young girl was a sign of a virgin and the favoured hairstyle for a bride on her wedding day. An Elizabethan bride would adorn her hair with fresh flowers. Once a woman achieved the married status she wore her hair swept up. Much of the hair was covered by some form of head covering. Long hair was generally dressed in a bun to which the variety of head coverings could be pinned. The front and sides of the hair received great attention as this was the area that was most displayed. Fringes were not in fashion - hairstyle fashion dictated that hair was combed way from the forehead. The hairstyle was usually designed to compliment the style of the hat. Frizzed hair was favoured by the Queen and therefore followed by ladies of the court although straight hair was favoured with a centre parting which especially complimented the french hood.  
Head Coverings for Women
The Elizabethan fashion dictated that the head was adorned with a hat, veil, coif or caul. This fashion therefore ensured that much of the hair was hidden by some form of head coverings. The style of the head covering dictated the hairstyle. Many of the hats were adorned with feathers, pearls, glass jewels, spangles, gold thread, embroidery and lace.
  • The Coif - The coif ( commonly referred to as the 'biggin' ) worn by all children. Material was plain white linen, a close fitting cap tied under the chin. Coifs were often worn as caps to keep hair in place under more elaborate hats
  • The French hood - Introduced from the French court by Anne Boleyn, the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. A half moon, or crescent, style band or brim sloping away from the face. The edges were often adorned with pearls or glass jewels, called bilaments, and a veil covered the back of the hair
  • The Atifet - Similar to the French hood style but with a heart shaped crescent - favoured in white by Mary Queen of Scots. Lace trimmnigs were added
  • The Caul - Cauls were the Elizabethan hair net! A Caul covered the hair at the back of the head and was made of fabric, or fabric covered by netted cord which was sometimes adorned with spangles.
  • The Pillbox style of hat - often had a veil attached to the back
Elizabethan Hair Style - a comment dating back to 1583!During the Elizabethan era pamphlets were printed and distributed commenting on life in Elizabethan England. A writer of one such pamphlet was a well travelled Londoner called Philip Stubbes. He was believed to have been born c1555 and died c1610. He was well educated and attended both Oxford and Cambridge University. He was also a strict Elizabethan Puritan and held firm views on any social practices which, in his view were, unfitting  true Christians. He named his work " The Anatomie of Abuses " in which he strongly criticised many of the fashions of the Elizabethan era. It was entered in the Stationers' Register on 1 March 1583. This pamphlet includes his view and some valuable information about Elizabethan hair styles:
"Then followeth the trimming and tricking of their heds in laying out their hair to the show, which of force must be curled, frizled and crisped, laid out on wreathes & borders from one eare to an other. And lest it should fall down, it is underpropped with forks, wyres, & I can not tel what, rather like grim stern monsters, than chaste christian matrones. Then on the edges of their bolstered heir (for it standeth crested round about their frontiers, & hanging over their faces like pendices or vails with glasse windows on every side) there is layd great wreathes of gold and silver, curiously wrought & cunningly applied to the temples of their heads. And for feare of lacking any thing to set foorth their pride withal, at their heyre, thus wreathed and crested, are hanged bugles, ouches, rings, gold, silver, glasses , & such other gewgawes and trinckets besides, which, for that they be innumerable, and I unskilfull in wemens terms, I cannot easily recount."
Elizabethan Hair Styles for MenElizabethan Hair Styles for men were just as important as they were for women. The length of hair varied during the Elizabethan era. It started as short closely cropped hairstyles and increased in length during the period. Considerable time was spent grooming the hair, especially when it was fashionable to sport a longer length. Long hair was required to be curly! Men had their hair curled with hot irons. To keep the hair in place wax or gum was applied to the hair!
Elizabethan Beards
It was fashionable for men to sport beards during the Elizabethan era. The styles and cut of beards changed with the fashion of the day. The beards could be cut in various styles including pointed ( van-dyke style ), square, round or oblong. Starch was applied to keep the beards in place. Beards were also kept long and so required no help from the barber. Philip Stubbes also had comments about Elizabethan barbers and the cuts of beards available:
"...have invented such strange fashions and monstrous maners of cuttings, trimmings, shavings and washings, that you would wonder to see. They have one maner of cut called the French cut, another the Spanish cut, one the Dutch cut, another the Italian, one the newe cut, another the old, one of the bravado fashion, another of the meane fashion. One a gentlemans cut, another the common cut, one cut of the court, an other of the country..."
Another description of Elizabethan England was written by William Harrison between 1577 - 1587 who described how the vanity of Elizabethan men was pandered to by their barbers
"if a man have a lean and straight face, a Marquess Otton’s cut will make it broad and large; if it be platter-like, a long, slender beard will make it seem the narrower; if he be weasel-becked, then much hair left on the cheeks will make the owner look big like a bowdled hen, and as grim as a goose, if Cornelis of Chelmersford say true. Many old men do wear no beards at all." 



Shakeperean time - Elizabethan period part1

CLOTHING STYLE

The Hair styles, Make-up, Jewelry and even suitable Wedding Dress has also been included. But the most alien concepts of the Elizabethan era was that, regardless of their wealth, Elizabethans were not allowed to wear what clothes they liked. Their clothing and items of apparel were dictated by the Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws which governed the style and materials worn!
 
Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men
  • Underclothes!
    • Smock or shift, also called
      a chemise made of linen
    • Stockings or hose
    • Corset or bodice
    • Farthingale - a hooped skirt
    • A Roll or Rowle
    • Stomacher
    • Petticoat
    • Kirtle
    • Forepart
    • Partlet
  • Over Clothes!
    • Gown
    • Separate sleeves
    • Ruff
    • Cloak
    • Shoes
    • Hat
  • Underclothes!
    • Shirt
    • Stockings or hose
    • Codpiece
    • Corset
  • Over Clothes!
    • Doublet
    • Separate sleeves
    • Breeches
    • Belt
    • Ruff
    • Cloak
    • Shoes
    • Hat
Elizabethan Clothing for Women
Elizabethan Clothing for Men
The Sumptuary Laws - Enforcing statutes of Apparel - Governing Elizabethan Clothing!The Elizabethan Sumptuary Clothing Laws were used to control behaviour and to ensure that a specific class structure was maintained! English Sumptuary Laws governing the clothing that Elizabethans wore were well known by all of the English people. The penalties for violating Sumptuary Laws could be harsh - fines, the loss of property, title and even life!
Elizabethan Clothing, Fashion and the Sumptuary LawsElizabethan clothes provided information about the status of the person wearing them. This was not just dictated by the wealth of the person, it also reflected their social standing. Only Royalty were permitted to wear clothes trimmed with ermine. Lesser Nobles were allowed to wear clothing trimmed with fox and otter and so on and so forth! Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what colors and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear, an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege. The materials and even the colors of Elizabethan clothing were therefore very important and sections have been dedicated to these subjects in relation to dyes, fabrics and the type of clothes that men were allowed to wear and the type of clothing that Elizabethan women were allowed to wear! As you read through the restrictions placed on Elizabethan clothing the subject becomes more and more fascinating. The importance and significance of costumes used in the Elizabethan theatres also becomes very clear!




Friday, August 10, 2012

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part6)

Giovanni Boccaccio                                                             

Born - Died : 1313 - 1375

Boccaccio's father was a Tuscan merchant. Boccaccio was born in Paris and brought in Florence. His father sent him to Naples to learn about business. The young Boccaccio was drawn to scholarship but became interested in the social life of the commercial and courtly classes. He came to admire Petrarch and fell in love with a beautiful girl, Fiametta. He was called back to Florence by his father. His most famous book, The Decameron, was written between 1348 and 1353 and is regarded as a perfect example of classical Italian prose. The Tuscan language is the parent of modern Italian. The Decameron draws upon the author's own romantic experiences and on his knowledge of commercial life. The stories are based round the experience of ten young people who flea from plague then afflicting Florence. They occupy a villa and tell each other earthly tales of love and sexual intrigue. Boccaccio is regarded as one of the most important figures in European literature and a key influence on renaissance humanism.

Book trailer: Aleph

video

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part5)


 LITERATURE

The Dark Ages and the Bards

English Medieval literature had no existence until Christian times of the Dark Ages when Latin was the language of English literature. English Medieval literature was not written. It is passed by word of mouth from one generation to another by English, Welsh and Irish bards. The origins of the stories about King Arthur and the Arthurian Legend are found in many Welsh legends and Celtic Myths which told by Bards who therefore contributed to Medieval literature.

The Romantic Arthurian Legend

Tales told by the Bars were transferred into book form and the romantic stories of the Arthurian legend and the ideals of courtly love became part of Medieval literature. The main source of information about King Arthur and the ArthurianLegend was written by a Welsh cleric and author called Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote a fictional book called Historia Regum Britanniae - the History of the Kings's of Britain in 1136. Other books called Historia Brittonum by Nennius, the Annales Cambriae, the Chronicon Anglicanum and the Welsh Mabinogion also make references to the Arthurian Legend and King Arthur.

The Language

The French language came over to England with Williams the Conqueror. During the whole of the 12th century it shared wit Latin the distinction of being the literary language of England, and it was in use at the court until 14th century. It was not until the reign of King Henry IV that English became the native tongue of the kings of England.

The Epic poems - Narrative Literature

The French epic poem came over to England at an early date. We know that the Chanson de Roland was sung at the battle of Hastings and such poetry was recited and sung in the 11th and 12th centuries by Troubadours, Trouveres and Minstrels who were the poets and musicians sang songs of courtly love and romance and were expected to learn and recite epic poems by heart. The aristocratic troubadours were poets who originated in the south of France and the elite troubadours of the north of France wrote in French and were called trouveres. Medieval poetry of the troubadours was invariably linked with music. The tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, originating with music and the poems of the English and Welsh Bards, were themes which were included in the lyrics of the Troubadour and minstrels songs.

The poets and Authors

Medieval literature was written by a variety of authors and poets, many of which are included in the following list:
  • Caedmon (657-680) was the first English poet of whom we have any knowledge and credited with the authorship of "The Dream of the Holy Rood"
  • Venerable Bede (673-735) who wrote the Ecclesiastical History of England and the scientific treatise, De Natura Rerum
  • Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) Famous Medieval author of the Canterbury Tales
  • Margery Kempre (1373-c1438) Famous as the author of the first autobiography in English
  • John Gower (1325-1374) was famous as a Medieval Poet 
  • Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) was famous as an Italian poet, and humanist and for his poems which were addressed to Laura
  • Dante 91265-1321) famous as a Medieval Poet and Politician
  • Christine de Pizan (1364-1430) famous as a Medieval author and feminist
  • William Longland (c13320c1386) who was famous as an English Poet who wrote the Vision of Piers Plowman
  • Boccaccio (1313-1375) an Italian writer who was famous for writing the Decameron
  • Rapahel Holinshed (c1529-1580) Famous as the Medieval Author of Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part4)

ENTERTAINMENT

Holidays and Festivals

The Medieval people of the Middle Ages shared a common life in the work of the fields, in the sports of the village green, and in the services of the parish church. They enjoyed many holidays; it has been estimated that, besides Sundays, about eight weeks in every year were free from work. Festivities at Christmas, Easter, and May Day, at the end of ploughing and the completion of harvest, relieved the monotony of the daily round of labor.

The Entertainers

 Who were the people who provided the entertainment during the Middle Ages? The Medieval entertainers of the Middle Ages including Jesters (A fool or buffoon at medieval courts), Mummers (Masked or costumed merrymaker or dancers at festivals), Minstrels and Troubadours, acrobats and jugglers and conjurers.

Games and Entertainment

Medieval Games of the Middle Ages were popular in all walks of society. Games were played by the upper  classes and the Lower classes, by adults and children. Different types of games and entertainment fell into a number of different categories including Card Games, Board Games, Dice Games, and Sporting Games and Children's games. Frequently, these games were played for money or honors, and therefore they are the ancestors of the modern day's casino games such as craps, online slots, or roulette. The following board games were played  and enjoyed as entertainment during the middle ages:

  • Chess
  • Backgammon
  • Alquerques
  • Fox and Geese
  • Knucklebones
Outdoor Entertainment


  • Archery
  • Gameball
  • Bowls
  • Colf - the ancestor of Golf
  • Hammer - throwing
  • Hurling - a similar game to Hockey
  • Wrestling
Outdoor entertainment also included the practices of certain festivals including May Day when people danced around a maypole and choose a May Queen. Religious plays were re-enacted by the Mummers.

Entertainment for rich people

Entertainment for rich people centered around the spectacles of jousting and feasts or banquets. The Medieval Period of the Middle Ages becoming more refined and elegant and the concept of courtly love was introduced and displayed at both tournaments and jousts. The sumptuous feasts and banquets also provided
entertainment for rich people during the Middle Ages. During the feast musicians would play and provide musical entertainment. After feasting entertainment might be provided by minstrels, troubadours, jesters, acrobats, fire-eaters and conjurers. The dance was also important as part of "courtly love" entertainment. Knights were expected not only to fight but also to dance.





Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Boccaccio's time - Medieval period (part3)

Foods of the Middle Ages


There was an enormous range of foods available during the Middle Ages. However, the type of foods was consumed and the quantity of foods consumed depended on wealth and status.

Middle Ages Food and Diet


Did the people of the Middle Ages eat food which constituted a good balance diet? No! And especially not for the rich! The wealthy nobles ate few fresh vegetables and little fresh fruit. Fruit was only usually served in pies or was preserved in honey. Vegetables and fresh fruit were eaten by the poor - vegetables would have been included in some form of stew, soup or pottage. Vegetables which came from the ground were only are considered fit to feed the poor. Only vegetables such as rape, onions, garlic and leek's graced a Noble's table of the Medieval era. Dairy products were also deemed as inferior foods and therefore only usually eaten by the poor. Little was known about nutrition and and the Medieval diet of the rich Nobles lacked Vit. C and fibre. This led to an assortment of health problems including bad teeth, skin diseases, scurvy and rickets.

Food and Diet of the Upper Classes/ Nobility

The food and diet of the wealthy was extensive, but only small portions was taken. A change in culture emerged during the Middle Ages when the travel prompted by the Crusades led to a new and unprecedented interest in beautiful objects and elegant manners. This change extended to food preparation and presentation resulting in fabulous food arrangements and exotic colors and flavorings. Their food was highly spiced.

Food and Diet of the Lower Classes/ Peasants


The Middle Ages food and diet of the peasants was very much home grown. They were unable to afford luxury items such as spices and only Lords and Nobles were allowed to hunt deer, boar, hares and rabbits. The punishments for poaching could result in death or having hands cut off.


Boccaccio's time - Medieval time (part2)

Life in the Middle Ages

The peasants, including serfs, freeman and villeins, on a manor lived close together in one or more villages. Their small, thatch-roofed, and one-roomed houses would be grouped about an open space, or on both sides of a single, narrow street. The only important buildings on that time were the parish church, the parsonage, a mill, and possibly a blacksmith's shop. The population of one of these villages often didn't exceed in one hundred people.






Medieval village life during the Middle Ages was self-sufficing. Perhaps the most striking feature of medieval village life was its self-sufficiency. The inhabitants tried to produce at home everything they required in order to avoid the uncertainty and expense of trad. The land gave them their food; the forest provided them with wood for their houses and furniture.  

Life of the Peasants and the Lords


Life in a medieval villages was rude and rough. The peasants labored from sunrise to sunset, ate coarse fare, lived in huts, and suffered from frequent pestilences. They were often the helpless prey of the feudal nobles. If their lord happened to be a quarrelsome man, given to fighting with his neighbors, they might see their lands ravaged, their cattle driven off, their village burned, and might themselves be slain. Even under peaceful conditions the narrow, shut-in life of the manor could not be otherwise than degrading. Under feudalism the lords and nobles of the land had certain rights over medieval serfs and peasants which included the right of jurisdiction, which gave judicial power tot he nobles and lords and the right of hunting.

There were positive points of peasants and their village life in the middle ages. If the peasants had a just and generous lord, they probably led a fairly comfortable existence. Except when crops failed, they had an abundance of food, and possibly a cider drink. They shared a common life in the work of the fields and in the services of the parish church.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Boccaccio's time - medieval period

MEDIEVAL FASHION


Medieval fashion during the middle ages was dominated and highly influenced by Kings and Queens of the era. Only the wealthy could dress in fashionable clothes.Sumptuary  laws restricted ordinary people in their expenditure including money spent on clothes, which impacted Medieval fashion. Under the Sumptuary laws passed by King Edward III only royalty were allowed to wear cloth of gold and purple silk. Expensive veils were banned for lower class women. Only the wives or daughters of nobles were allowed to velvet, satin sable, or ermine. Different events which occurred during Medieval era of the Middle Ages also affected fashion. The Crusades was probably the greatest influence on Medieval Fashion when fine silks, satins, damasks, brocades, and velvet were imported from the the Far East. The Medieval fashion worn in the royal courts in the Middle Ages were imitated across Europe. Fashions in France. Spain and Italy atrongly influenced the fashions of the Medieval England.
                              


          







MEDIEVAL HAIRSTYLE

During the Medieval era, both men and women of the upper social classes wore their hair in loose curls. Women sometimes fastened gold balls at the end of their hair. The lower classes wore their hair undecorated and generally shorter, at the chin or shoulders. Noble women wore flat bonnets that covered their hair, or ribbons and gold threads in their hair. Later, bonnets, hats and veils became even more popular when church tradition decreed that married women were to keep their hair covered. Cone-shaped hats with a veil were also popular during this era. Women sometimes had their hair styled into what looked like two identical mounds (either braided or unbraided) on the both sides of the head. During this time, a woman's high forehead was considered a beautiful feature, and women often shaved off their forehead to heighten their hairlines. Their foreheads were decorated with headbands which were sometimes adorned with pearls and stones. Women also wore nets in their hair during this era.
 




 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Born January 19, 1809, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. American short-story writer, poet, critic, and editor Edgar Allan Poe's tales of mystery and horror initiated the modern detective story, and the atmosphere in his tales of horror is unrivaled in American fiction.


With his short stories and poems, Edgar Allan Poe captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world. His creative talents led to the beginning of different literary genres, earning him the nickname "Father of the Detective Story" among other distinctions. His life, however, has become a bit of mystery itself. And the lines between fact and fiction have been blurred substantially since his death.
The son of actors, Poe never really knew his parents. His father left the family early on, and his mother passed away when he was only three. Separated from his siblings, Poe went to live with John and Frances Allan, a successful tobacco merchant and his wife, in Richmond, Virginia. He and Frances seemed to form a bond, but he never quite meshed with John. Preferring poetry over profits, Poe reportedly wrote poems on the back of some of Allan's business papers.
Money was also an issue between Poe and John Allan. When Poe went to the University of Virginia in 1826, he didn't receive enough funds from Allan to cover all his costs. Poe turned to gambling to cover the difference, but ended up in debt. He returned home only to face another personal setback—his neighbor and fiancĂ©e Elmira Royster had become engaged to someone else. Heartbroken and frustrated, Poe left the Allans.
At first, Poe seemed to be harboring twin aspirations. Poe published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, and he had joined the army around this time. Poe wanted to go to West Point, a military academy, and won a spot there in 1830. Before going to West Point, he published a second collection Al Aaraaf, Tamberlane, and Minor Poems in 1829. Poe excelled at his studies at West Point, but he was kicked out after a year for his poor handling of his duties. Some have speculated that he intentionally sought to be court-martialed. During his time at West Point, Poe had fought with his foster father and Allan decided to sever ties with him.
After leaving the academy, Poe focused his writing full time. He moved around in search of opportunity, living in New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Richmond. From 1831 to 1835, he stayed in Baltimore with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia. His young cousin, Virginia, became a literary inspiration to Poe as well as his love interest. The couple married in 1836 when she was only 13 (or 14 as some sources say) years old.
Returning to Richmond in 1835, Poe went to work for a magazine called the Southern Literary Messenger. There he developed a reputation as a cut-throat critic, writing vicious reviews of his contemporaries. Poe also published some of his own works in the magazine, including two parts of his only novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. His tenure there proved short, however. Poe's aggressive-reviewing style and sometimes combative personality strained his relationship with the publication, and he left the magazine in 1837. His problems with alcohol also played a role in his departure, according to some reports. Poe went on to brief stints at two other papers, Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and The Broadway Journal.

Major Works
In late 1830s, Poe published Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, a collection of stories. It contained several of his most spine-tingling tales, including "The Fall of the House of Usher," "Ligeia" and "William Wilson." Poe launched the new genre of detective fiction with 1841's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." A writer on the rise, he won a literary prize in 1843 for "The Gold Bug," a suspenseful tale of secret codes and hunting treasure.
Poe became a literary sensation in 1845 with the publication of the poem "The Raven." It is considered a great American literary work and one of the best of Poe's career. In the work, Poe explored some of his common themes—death and loss. An unknown narrator laments the demise of his great love Lenore. That same year, he found himself under attack for his stinging criticisms of his fellow poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Poe claimed that Longfellow, a widely popular literary figure, was a plagiarist, and this written assault on Longfellow created a bit of backlash for Poe.
Continuing work in different forms, Poe examined his own methodology and writing in general in several essays, including "The Philosophy of Composition," "The Poetic Principle" and "The Rationale of Verse." He also produced another thrilling tale, "The Cask of Amontillado," and poems such as "Ulalume" and "The Bells."
Poe was overcome by grief after the death of his beloved Virginia in 1847. While he continued to work, he suffered from poor health and struggled financially. His final days remain somewhat of a mystery. He left Richmond on September 27, 1849, and was supposedly on his way to Philadelphia. On October 3, Poe was found in Baltimore in great distress. He was taken to Washington College Hospital where he died on October 7. His last words were "Lord, help my poor soul."
At the time, it was said that Poe died of "congestion of the brain." But his actual cause of death has been the subject of endless speculation. Some experts believe that alcoholism led to his demise while others offer up alternative theories. Rabies, epilepsy, carbon monoxide poisoning are just some of the conditions thought to have led to the great writer's death.
Shortly after his passing, Poe's reputation was badly damaged by his literary adversary Rufus Griswold. Griswold, who had been sharply criticized by Poe, took his revenge in his obituary of Poe, portraying the gifted yet troubled writer as a mentally deranged drunkard and womanizer. He also penned the first biography of Poe, which helped cement some of these misconceptions in the public's minds.
While he never had financial success in his lifetime, Poe has become one of America's most enduring writers. His works are as compelling today as there were more than a century ago. A bright, imaginative thinker, Poe crafted stories and poems that still shock, surprise and move modern readers.

Some of his works

Annabel Lee

    It was many and many a year ago,
          In a kingdom by the sea,
    That a maiden there lived whom you may know
          By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
    And this maiden she lived with no other thought
          Than to love and be loved by me.
 
    I was a child and she was a child,
          In this kingdom by the sea;
    But we loved with a love that was more than love-
          I and my Annabel Lee;
    With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
          Coveted her and me.
 
    And this was the reason that, long ago,
          In this kingdom by the sea,
    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
          My beautiful Annabel Lee;
    So that her highborn kinsman came
          And bore her away from me,
    To shut her up in a sepulchre
          In this kingdom by the sea.
 
    The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
          Went envying her and me-
    Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
          In this kingdom by the sea)
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
          Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
 
    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
          Of those who were older than we-
          Of many far wiser than we-
    And neither the angels in heaven above,
          Nor the demons down under the sea,
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
 
    For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
    Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
          In the sepulchre there by the sea,
          In her tomb by the sounding sea.


           A Dream Within a Dream

          Take this kiss upon the brow!
          And, in parting from you now,
          Thus much let me avow-
          You are not wrong, who deem
          That my days have been a dream;
          Yet if hope has flown away
          In a night, or in a day,
          In a vision, or in none,
          Is it therefore the less gone?
          All that we see or seem
          Is but a dream within a dream.
 
          I stand amid the roar
          Of a surf-tormented shore,
          And I hold within my hand
          Grains of the golden sand-
          How few! yet how they creep
          Through my fingers to the deep,
          While I weep- while I weep!
          O God! can I not grasp
          Them with a tighter clasp?
          O God! can I not save
          One from the pitiless wave?
          Is all that we see or seem
          But a dream within a dream?


Evening Star

'Twas noontide of summer,
  And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
  Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
  'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
  Her beam on the waves.
    I gazed awhile
    On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
  There pass'd, as a shroud,
  A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
  Proud Evening Star,
  In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
  For joy to my heart
  Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
  And more I admire
  Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

Silence

     There are some qualities- some incorporate things,
        That have a double life, which thus is made
      A type of that twin entity which springs
        From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
      There is a two-fold Silence- sea and shore-
        Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
        Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,
      Some human memories and tearful lore,
      Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."
      He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
        No power hath he of evil in himself;
      But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
        Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
      That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
      No foot of man,) commend thyself to God!

The raven

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
  Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
   As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
  "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-
                Only this, and nothing more."

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
  And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
  For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
                Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
  Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
    "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
  Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
                This it is, and nothing more."

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
  "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
  That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door;-
                Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
        fearing,
  Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
  This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-
                Merely this, and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
   Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
    Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
  Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
                'Tis the wind and nothing more."

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
        flutter,
  In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
        he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
  Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
                Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

   Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
  By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
   "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no
        craven,
   Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
  Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
  Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
  Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
  That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
    Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown
        before-
  On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
                Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

     Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
  "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
     Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
     Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
  Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                Of 'Never- nevermore'."

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
  Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
        door;
    Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
  What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
                Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
  To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
  But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
                She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
  Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
        hath sent thee
    Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
  Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
        devil!-
  Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
    On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
  Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!"
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
        devil!
  By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
  Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
                Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked,
        upstarting-
  "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
  Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
        door!"
               Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
  On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the
        floor;
  And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                Shall be lifted- nevermore!