I have always liked Edgar Allan Poe, though I will freely admit that I have never really understood him as well as I would like.
Oh, I get the stories well enough. I know where they’re going. I can see the shadows they cast, the histories they reference, and even – on my better days – the jokes and knowing winks that he peppers throughout for observant readers to pick up. But I think, more than his now slightly wordy and archaic writing style, there’s a distance between Ed and I that can’t be crossed.
And I’m kind of OK with that. He’s been a sort of uneasy hero of mine for many years, now, and though I have always tempered my thumbs-ups with an acknowledgement of the problems of having him as a role-model (less for the cousin-marrying alcoholic part and more for the proud hack with ghosts to get out part) I feel it’s the fact that there’s something about him and his work that doesn’t click fully with me, that feels off, that aids his stature for me. The fact that something doesn’t fit, that something is weird: it’s a boon rather than a cause for pause. (more…)