Edgar Allan Poe is a household name. His influence on poetry and the genres of detective fiction (he is considered its creator), science fiction (which his work helped forge a path for), and Gothic literature in general cannot be overstated. His works are well-known in popular culture, as most all of us were required to read at least some of them throughout our schooling. It follows, then, that Poe remains quite quotable. In honor of his birthday, we've compiled ten of the best quotes from Edgar Allan Poe. Have you read these works? Share with us your favorite Poe title or quotation in the comments below.
1. “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” —The Raven, source
2. “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence…” —Eleanora, source
3. “To die laughing must be the most glorious of all glorious deaths!” —The Assignation, source
4. Most writers—poets in especial—prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine frenzy—an ecstatic intuition—and would positively shudder at letting the public take a peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought—at the true purposes seized only at the last moment—at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view—at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable—at the cautious selections and rejections—at the painful erasures and interpolations—in a word, at the wheels and pinions—the tackle for scene-shifting—the step-ladders and demon-traps—the cock’s feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio. –The Philosophy of Composition, source
5. “I smiled,—for what had I to fear?” –The Tell Tale Heart, source
6. "It was a dark and soundless day near the end of the year, and clouds were hanging low in the heavens. All day I had been riding on horseback through country with little life or beauty; and in the early evening I came within view of the House of Usher. I do not know how it was — but, with my first sight of the building, a sense of heavy sadness filled my spirit. I looked at the scene before me — at the house itself — at the ground around it — at the cold stone walls of the building — at its empty eye-like windows — and at a few dead trees — I looked at this scene, I say, with a complete sadness of soul which was no healthy, earthly feeling. There was a coldness, a sickening of the heart, in which I could discover nothing to lighten the weight I felt. What was it, I asked myself, what was it that was so fearful, so frightening in my view of the House of Usher?" –The Fall of the House of Usher, source
7. "But we loved with a love that was more than love..." —Annabel Lee, source
8. Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down. —The City in the Sea, source
9. “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” —Eleanora, source
10. "There are few persons who have not, at some period of their lives, amused themselves in retracing the steps by which particular conclusions of their own minds have been attained. The occupation is often full of interest; and he who attempts it for the first time is astonished by the apparently illimitable distance and incoherence between the starting-point and the goal." – The Murders in the Rue Morgue, source