A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5
Edgar Allen Poe–my second favourite opiate addict from Baltimore (first place has to go to Wallace from The Wire... R.I.P....they did you dirty, bro). A man whose reputation precedes him - and for good reason. The man could tell a story. That he could; most likely, this was due to the fact that he had found himself enveloped in a story that was probably far more interesting than anything he ever wrote (which speaks to just how interesting Poe’s life was, since everything I’ve ever read from him has been nothing short of breathtakingly captivating). Born in Boston to two actors, one of whom (his father, David) abandoned the family the year after his birth, the other of whom (his mother, Eliza) died the year after that, it seems as if there was no escaping the blues for young Edgar.
Then he got a little bit older, moved down south to Virginia, and attempted to make a career for himself solely as a writer (a feat which, at the time, was virtually unheard of). His work was met with praise, particularly his forays into the realm of the mysterious. In fact, so deep and lasting were his contributions to the mystery genre that the Mystery Writers of America have named one of their flagship awards, given to those who have distinguished themselves among their peers within the genre, the “Edgar Award”, in the same way that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences refers to their flagship award as the “Oscar”; however, unlike the latter, the former is actually named for a real person and not (allegedly) Bette Davis’s husband.
Speaking of marriage, I feel as if now would be an appropriate time to mention that our man Poe, at the ripe age of twenty-seven, married his thirteen-year-old first cousin. Seriously.
Now it makes sense why he was able to write from such a mangled, twisted, unreliable perspective in The Tell-Tale Heart - the guy was probably bonkers. The narrator of this story, recounting a version of the way events unfolded that just seems a bit...well, off, reminds me a lot of Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight and the perpetually-shifting story behind his scars that he frequently recounts to those in whom he wishes to spark some fear. Am I accusing Christopher Nolan of plagiarizing Poe?
No. I am not.