Demonstrate how the writings of Edgar Allan Poe fulfill his philosophy that literature should have a single, emotional effect. Apply what he writes in "The Philosophy of Composition" to some of his...

Demonstrate how the writings of Edgar Allan Poe fulfill his philosophy that literature should have a single, emotional effect. Apply what he writes in "The Philosophy of Composition" to some of his work.

Asked on by getch

1 Answer | Add Yours

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In his essay, "Philosophy of Composition," Poe argues for a notion of "unity of effect" that modifies the three Aristotelian unities to shift the focus from the details of the action of the work to the reader's emotional response. Thus he argues that all literary works should be short enough to be read at a single sitting. All of Poe's works fulfill the criterion of being readable at a single sitting, for they are either poems of at most a few pages in length or short stories.  

The unity of mood and effect is displayed in many of his works. For example, in several of his short stories, Poe creates a mood of terror, in which he uses narrative to build an atmosphere of foreboding leading up to a horrific finale. Some examples of this are "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." In poetry as well, Poe tends to create a singular mood, often of melancholy, as, for example, in "The Raven" where the bird and the setting both contribute to the narrator's mourning for his "lost Lenore."

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question