Composition drama essay fiction literature poetry
The question now arose as to the character of the word. Having made up my mind to a refrain, the division of the poem into stanzas was of course a corollary, the refrain forming the close to each stanza. That such a close, to have force, must be sonorous and susceptible of protracted emphasis, admitted no doubt, and these considerations inevitably led me to the long o as the most sonorous vowel in connection with r as the most producible consonant. The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had pre-determined as the tone of the poem.
Here, then, immediately arose the idea of a non-reasoning creature capable of speech, and very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone.
And here it was that I saw at once the opportunity afforded for the effect on which I had been depending, that is to say, the effect of the variation of application. Here then the poem may be said to have had its beginning—at the end where all works of art should begin—for it was here at this point of my preconsiderations that I first put pen to paper in the composition of the stanza:. I composed this stanza, at this point, first that, by establishing the climax, I might the better vary and graduate, as regards seriousness and importance, the preceding queries of the lover, and secondly, that I might definitely settle the rhythm, the metre, and the length and general arrangement of the stanza, as well as graduate the stanzas which were to precede, so that none of them might surpass this in rhythmical effect.
Had I been able in the subsequent composition to construct more vigorous stanzas I should without scruple have purposely enfeebled them so as not to interfere with the climacteric effect.
The Philosophy of Composition
And here I may as well say a few words of the versification. My first object as usual was originality. The extent to which this has been neglected in versification is one of the most unaccountable things in the world. Admitting that there is little possibility of variety in mere rhythm, it is still clear that the possible varieties of metre and stanza are absolutely infinite, and yet, for centuries, no man, in verse, has ever done, or ever seemed to think of doing, an original thing.
The fact is that originality unless in minds of very unusual force is by no means a matter, as some suppose, of impulse or intuition. In general, to be found, it must be elaborately sought, and although a positive merit of the highest class, demands in its attainment less of invention than negation. Less pedantically the feet employed throughout trochees consist of a long syllable followed by a short, the first line of the stanza consists of eight of these feet, the second of seven and a half in effect two-thirds , the third of eight, the fourth of seven and a half, the fifth the same, the sixth three and a half.
The effect of this originality of combination is aided by other unusual and some altogether novel effects, arising from an extension of the application of the principles of rhyme and alliteration. The next point to be considered was the mode of bringing together the lover and the Raven—and the first branch of this consideration was the locale. For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields—but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident—it has the force of a frame to a picture.
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It has an indisputable moral power in keeping concentrated the attention, and, of course, must not be confounded with mere unity of place. I determined, then, to place the lover in his chamber—in a chamber rendered sacred to him by memories of her who had frequented it. The room is represented as richly furnished—this in mere pursuance of the ideas I have already explained on the subject of Beauty, as the sole true poetical thesis.
The locale being thus determined, I had now to introduce the bird—and the thought of introducing him through the window was inevitable. I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, also for the effect of contrast between the marble and the plumage—it being understood that the bust was absolutely suggested by the bird—the bust of Pallas being chosen, first, as most in keeping with the scholarship of the lover, and secondly, for the sonorousness of the word, Pallas, itself.
About the middle of the poem, also, I have availed myself of the force of contrast, with a view of deepening the ultimate impression.
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The effect of the denouement being thus provided for, I immediately drop the fantastic for a tone of the most profound seriousness—this tone commencing in the stanza directly following the one last quoted, with the line,. So far, everything is within the limits of the accountable—of the real. But in subjects so handled, however skillfully, or with however vivid an array of incident, there is always a certain hardness or nakedness which repels the artistical eye.
Two things are invariably required—first, some amount of complexity, or more properly, adaptation; and, secondly, some amount of suggestiveness—some under-current, however indefinite, of meaning.
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It is this latter, in especial, which imparts to a work of art so much of that richness to borrow from colloquy a forcible term , which we are too fond of confounding with the ideal. It is the excess of the suggested meaning—it is the rendering this the upper instead of the under-current of the theme—which turns into prose and that of the very flattest kind , the so-called poetry of the so-called transcendentalists. Holding these opinions, I added the two concluding stanzas of the poem—their suggestiveness being thus made to pervade all the narrative which has preceded them. The under-current of meaning is rendered first apparent in the line—.
The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical—but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and never ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen:. Regarded in literary histories and handbooks as the architect of Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give.
Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. Essay on Poetic Theory. The Philosophy of Composition. By Edgar Allan Poe. We commence, then, with this intention. Originally Published: October 13th, Read Full Biography. Related Content.
Related Poems The Raven. 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. Read More.
Literature for Composition : Essays, Fiction, Poetry, and Drama - Text Only (7TH 05 - Old Edition)
Go to My AP. About the Course About the Exam. About the Course Learn how to understand and evaluate works of fiction, poetry, and drama from various periods and cultures. Skills You'll Learn Read a text closely and draw conclusions from details Identify the techniques used by an author and their effects Develop an interpretation of a text Present your interpretation and make an argument for it in writing. College Course Equivalent An introductory college-level literature course. Recommended Prerequisites None. About the Units The course content outlined below is organized into commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course.
Course Content. Expand All Collapse All. Topics may include: Identifying characters in poetry Understanding and interpreting meaning in poetic structure Analyzing word choice to find meaning Identifying techniques like contrast, simile, metaphor, and alliteration. Topics may include: Interpreting character description and perspective Character evolution throughout a narrative Conflict and plot development Interpreting symbolism Identifying evidence and supporting literary arguments. Topics may include: Protagonists, antagonists, character relationships, and conflict Character interactions with setting and its significance Archetypes in literature Types of narration like stream of consciousness Narrative distance, tone, and perspective.
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Topics may include: Traits of closed and open structures in poetry Use of techniques like imagery and hyperbole Types of comparisons in poetry including personification and allusion Identifying and interpreting extended metaphors. Topics may include: Interpreting foil characters Understanding and interpreting character motives Understanding nonlinear narrative structures like flashbacks and foreshadowing The effect of narrative tone and bias on reading Characters as symbols, metaphors, and archetypes Developing literary arguments within a broader context of works.
Topics may include: Sudden and more gradual change in characters Epiphany as a driver of plot Relationships between characters and groups Character interactions with settings The significance of the pacing of a narrative Setting as a symbol Interpreting texts in their historical and societal contexts. Topics may include: Looking at punctuation and structural patterns Interpreting juxtaposition, paradox, and irony How ambiguity can allow for various interpretations Identifying symbols, conceits, and allusions Learning proper attribution and citation in literary analysis.
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