How did Edgar Allan Poe affect American Romanticism?

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Poe is a unique individual in American literary history. He did not belong to the New England Transcendentalist movement: he is not closely connected to Emerson or Thoreau. While many of Hawthorne’s short stories share a certain Gothic quality, Hawthorne was concerned with morality in ways Poe was not. Famously, F.O. Matthiessen in his survey of 19th century American literature, American Renaissance, did not include Poe as one of the five major American authors. One reason for this is that Poe’s writing is concerned with creating an emotional effect in the reader, rather than making a philosophical or symbolic point. As such, his contribution to American Romanticism was to introduce the idea that intense emotion, as elicited through feelings of alienation or dread, could lead to a kind of heightened aesthetic awareness that superseded reason. Furthermore, for Poe these effects were caused by the craft of writing, or the skill with which he constructed his stories and poems. In “ The...

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