Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. Regarded as being part of the American Romantic Movement, Poe was an author, poet, editor and literary critic, and although he struggled to earn a living from writing during his lifetime, his work has had a profound impact on literature and popular culture.


Poe died at the age of 40, on October 7, 1949, in Baltimore, Maryland, and as seems appropriate for a writer best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, the exact cause of his death seems to be open to conjecture to this day.

From Wikipedia:

On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, "in great distress, and... in need of immediate assistance", according to the man who found him, Joseph W. Walker. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849, at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. Poe is said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say Poe's final words were "Lord help my poor soul."


A Birthday Cake 

 
No birthday celebration is complete without a cake and there couldn't possibly be a more appropriate cake for the occasion than this red velvet work of art from dessert artisan, Heather, of the Sprinkle Bakes blog. If you're up for the challenge of attempting to recreate this edible homage, you can get the recipe, instructions and downloadable template of Poe's portrait here.  


A Birthday Treat

Here is a clip of the incomparable Vincent Price reciting Poe's masterpiece, The Raven.

39 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Emma! Sigh - Edgar was another person I would to have met, preferably at a candlelit dinner party...My favourite is The Pit and The Pendulum!

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    1. Thank you, Siobhan! Yes, Edgar would definitely be a guest at my fantasy dinner party as well!

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  2. One of my most read books is a collection of his works.
    My aunt lives close to Baltimore and I'm hoping to visit some of the sights when I go see her in April.

    There's also something about old pictures, they're lovely :)

    By the way, I finally got my mitts on some Gris Grimmly books.
    You had me hooked after that post about him!

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    1. Hi Laury,

      Oh, I hope you will do some blog posts about the trip to your aunt's. Seeing the sights in Baltimore - particularly the Poe related ones - sounds wonderful. I'm very envious! :)

      I agree, old photos are lovely. I find that picture of Poe really poignant. He looks old old beyond his years, but there's something in his eyes that reminds me of a sad child.

      That's great that you got some Gris Grimly books! Which ones did you end up getting? The Poe books or something else? I love his illustrations!

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    2. If I can I'll get a post up about it, it's one of the things that I've wanted to see for a while.

      Old films and photos have something enigmatic about it, as if there's always a deep story behind them.

      I ended up getting Wicked Nursery Rhymes and the Dangerous Alphabet.
      I found them really cheap on ebay and am keeping an eye out for more, in particular the Poe books.
      I'd be more than happy to stare at his lovely work all day!

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  3. Happy Birthday Edgar! And let's hope everyone quickly forgets about the ridiculous movie made about you last year... :) Great cake!

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    1. Hi Ms Misantropia,

      I may have to duck for cover now, but I saw 'The Raven' movie just last night... and I enjoyed it! Haha. It's not perfect, but it was entertaining. It was a bit of wild, gothic-y escapism, which was pretty much what I expected it was going to be. I wonder what Poe really would think of the movie? Maybe he would be flattered that they cast John Cusack to play him. ;)

      Yeah, the cake is fabulous isn't it?!! I'd love to try and make it myself for Poe's birthday next year, although the idea of working with all that fondant really intimidates me.

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  4. Sadly, the City of Baltimore decided to cut off it funding of the historical Rowhouse were Mr. Poe lived ...( this was a historical site and museum of the life of this great author...)
    The city gave them until June of last year to become financially self-sufficient.... So I believe that they had to close their doors to the public...
    Mr. Paul Clemmings, is the Nation's leading expert on E.A.Poe.... ( if you do not know of him ... he now works at a university... and in his younger days starred in an older horror film , "The Beast Within")

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    1. Hi Dr. Theda,

      I had heard something, a while ago, about that Poe museum being in danger of closing, but I had no idea that it had actually happened. That is very depressing. What a disgrace that something of such cultural significance was not saved!

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    2. I made a few posts about it ...but sadly the museum pieces were probably sold off to "private collectors"....
      A Sad loss indeed...

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  5. Poe read by Price ... I have goosebumps! You've made my whole day - thanks Emma!!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Insomniac's Attic! I've heard some other great actors read 'The Raven' but there's really something quite special and mesmerizing about Vincent Price's recitation.

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  6. Great video! Price is such an extraordinary orator. I can't think of anyone better to recite Poe. Coincidentally, I re-read The Masque of the Red Death, yesterday. I had no idea today was Poe's birthday. lol

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    1. Hi Gabriel,

      I agree, Vincent Price is perfect for Poe! There's just something so effortlessly brilliant about his delivery.

      Ha! You were commemorating his birthday on a subconscious level! ;)

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  7. Hello there ^^
    That was a wonderful post! Happy Bday to my beloved <3 Hope he knows how much we love him and omg i do love him so much... Thank you for the post my dear!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Magda! :) I really hope Poe knows how much we love him too!

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  8. woot, lots of birthday festivities down there :-)

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe! I'm more of a Lovecraft-fan, but Poe also wrote some uber-fantastic stories. Tell-Tale Heart will always be my favorite.

    Omg that cake... THAT CAKE! Awesome! Could you bake and send me a piece? Please?? ;-)

    Wow, awesome clip. Never seen that before. Vincent Price is such an excellent narrator and he's also the only one who's able to recite The Raven in a way that it's intriguing, entertaining and creepy at the same time.

    btw, do you know the Poe-Tribute-album "Tales Of Mystery and Imagination" by The Alan Parsons Project?

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    1. Hi Maynard,

      Oh, I'm a Lovecraft fan as well as a Poe fan. I used to read my dad's Lovecraft books when I was a teenager. In fact, I only just recently saw a movie called 'Dagon' based on a Lovecraft story. Have you seen it?

      Haha. Now I'm imagining the condition a slice of that cake would be in after travelling from Australia to Austria. It would probably resemble something horrible from a Poe story! ;)

      I'm so glad I discovered that clip of Vincent Price. I've watched it a few times now and I just get drawn in every time.

      Ha! Yes, I actually do know about The Alan Parsons Project's, 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination'. My husband, Danny, has that album somewhere on an old cassette tape. Without fail, every time anything about Poe comes up, he breaks into song. I was about ready to hit him over the head during this birthday Poe-fest! Haha.

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    2. Ha, just a few weeks ago I bought a cheap copy of "Dagon" I found in the bargain bin, but I haven't watched it yet. Excited!

      Haha yeah, I guess it would look pretty awful :)

      Omg, Price is sooo awesome. Love his voice and his mimics. Such a stunning actor/narrator.

      Oh btw, you've got mail! :)

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    3. Cool! I look forward to your 'Dagon' review!

      I got my mail! Thank you so much, Maynard! ❤

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  9. always liked the works of Edgar Allan Poe ever scene i was a kid, that cake looks awesome,...

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    1. Hi don,

      I'm so glad I was able to find such a cool cake for my little Edgar Allan Poe birthday festivities! :)

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  10. My god that cake looks awesome! I wouldn't mind a slice from his head so that I could devour a little of his genius brain cells! I wished him a very happy birthday via Instagram yesterday, I'm sure he saw it! :D ~♥~

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    1. Hi Sandy,

      Yes, sometimes decorative cakes look amazing, but don't always give the impression that they will be tasty. This one, however, hits the mark aesthetically and also looks yummy! I checked out your Instagram birthday greeting for Mr Poe. Awesome zombie-Poe picture! :)

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  11. I did Not know that you liked Lovecraft... Cool....

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    1. I haven't read any Lovecraft in a while, Dr. Theda, but I think it's well past time to revisit some of those stories. :)

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  12. The cake is absolutely beautiful! Damn it, bad baking skills! (No baking skills...? ;)) I might attempt to make it for my boyfriends birthday this Saturday... Attempt.

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    1. Hi Katherine,

      Haha. Well, best of luck if you do decide to attempt the cake. Please come back and let me know how it turned out if you do. :)

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  13. So cool! He has a lot of neat quotes. I posted one of his quotes on my blog's FB page. Also, that cake looks mighty fine. ;)

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    1. Hi Jenny,

      Yes, Edgar Allan Poe is extremely quotable! And I agree, the cake is pretty spectacular! :D

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  14. I LOVE EAP. I used to think he was haunting me when I was a little girl. He is my inspiration for so many things.

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    1. Hi Rubia Estrella,

      Well, if you are going to be haunted, then Edgar Allan Poe is a most enviable presence to be haunted by! He's an inspiration for me too! :)

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  15. Hola guapa, hacer cosas realmente maravillosas, si te apetece podemos mantener el contacto. Besitos.

    http://redecoratelg.blogspot.com.es/

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  16. Hi Emma,

    I have nominated you for a Liebster Blog Award, the details can be found here: http://caffeineandchapters.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-liebster-award.html please don't feel obligated, it is just a bit of fun :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Maxine! I'm a little too swamped with commitments at the moment to have time for all the award requirements, but I really appreciate you thinking of me! :)

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  17. Wish You Well ...dear Lady Emma...

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    1. Thank you, Dr. Theda! I've been having some internet issues, but (fingers crossed) they're sorted now, so I'll drop by your blog for a visit soon! :)

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