Quotes from Edgar Allan Poe

This is a collection of quotes that I personally picked out of various stories and articles written by Poe. Some have personal meaning for me. Others I just thought were funny. Poe had an incredible insight into human nature. His characters may have reflected his own personal struggles but I think most of us can identify with them on some level as well.

  

Genius and Imagination


"It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic."

- from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"


  


"It is more than probable that I am not understood; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no manner possible to convey to the mind of the merely general reader, an adequate idea of that nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, the powers of meditation (not to speak technically) busied and buried themselves, in the contemplation of even the most ordinary objects of the universe."

- from "Berenice"


  

Memories


"In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember."

- from "Ligeia"


  


"Convinced myself, I seek not to convince."

- from "Berenice"


  


"By the dim light of an accidental lamp, tall, antique, worm-eaten, wooden tenements were seen tottering to their fall, in directions so many and capricious, that scarce the semblance of a passage was discernible between them."

- from "The Man of the Crowd"


  

The Analytical Mind


"The mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in themselves, but little susceptible of analysis. We appreciate them only in their effects. We know of them, among other things, that they are always to their possessor, when inordinately possessed, a source of the liveliest enjoyment. As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles. He derives pleasure from even the most trivial occupations bringing his talents into play. He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension preternatural. His results, brought about by the very soul and essence of method, have, in truth, the whole air of intuition."

- from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"


  


"Suddenly a corner was turned, a blaze of light burst upon our sight, and we stood before one of the huge suburban temples of Intemperance–one of the palaces of the fiend, Gin."

- from "The Man of the Crowd"


  

Madness vs. Intelligence


"Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect."

- from "Eleonora"


  


"But as in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of today, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been."

- from "Berenice"


  


"It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood."

- from "Silence - A Fable"


  

Coincidences


"Coincidences, in general, are great stumbling blocks in the way of that class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the theory of probabilities- that theory to which the most glorious objects of human research are indebted for the most glorious of illustration."

- from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"


  


"A sombre yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things ... the shade of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness."

- from "The Island of the Fay"


  


"A novelist, for example, need have no care of his moral. It is there -- that is to say, it is somewhere -- and the moral and the critics can take care of themselves. When the proper time arrives, all that the gentleman intended, and all that he did not intend, will be brought to light, in the "Dial," or the "Down-Easter," together with all that he ought to have intended, and the rest that he clearly meant to intend: -- so that it will all come very straight in the end."

- from "Never Bet the Devil Your Head"


  

Daydreaming


"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

- from "Eleonora"


  


"She was a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee. And evil was the hour when she saw, and loved, and wedded the painter. He, passionate, studious, austere, and having already a bride in his Art; she a maiden of rarest beauty, and not more lovely than full of glee; all light and smiles, and frolicsome as the young fawn; loving and cherishing all things; hating only the Art which was her rival;"

- from "The Oval Portrait"


  

Human Beauty


"No pictorial or sculptural combinations of points of human loveliness, do more than approach the living and breathing human beauty as it gladdens our daily path."

- from "The Landscape Garden"


  


"And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave."

- from "The Pit and the Pendulum"


  

Fears


"There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad Humanity may assume the semblance of a Hell -- but the imagination of man is no Carathis, to explore with impunity its every cavern. Alas! the grim legion of sepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful -- but, like the Demons in whose company Afrasiab made his voyage down the Oxus, they must sleep, or they will devour us -- they must be suffered to slumber, or we perish."

- from "The Premature Burial"


  

Remembering Dreams


"Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed."

- from "The Pit and the Pendulum"


  


"I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him."

- from "The Tell-Tale Heart"


  


"There are certain themes of which the interest is all-absorbing, but which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction."

- from "The Premature Burial"


  

Death


"There are two bodies — the rudimental and the complete ; corresponding with the two conditions of the worm and the butterfly. What we call "death," is but the painful metamorphosis. Our present incarnation is progressive, preparatory, temporary. Our future is perfected, ultimate, immortal. The ultimate life is the full design."

- from "The Mesmeric Revelation"


  

Poets and Mathematicians


"You are mistaken; I know him well; he is both. As poet and mathematician, he would reason well; as mere mathematician, he could not have reasoned at all, and thus would have been at the mercy of the Prefect."

- from "The Purloined Letter"


  


"Keeping these impressions in view, I was cautious in what I said before the young lady; for I could not be sure that she was sane; and, in fact, there was a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes which half led me to imagine she was not."

- from "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether"


  


"Whether people grow fat by joking, or whether there is something in fat itself which predisposes to a joke, I have never been quite able to determine..."

- from "Hop-Frog"


  

Sensationalism


"We should bear in mind that, in general, it is the object of our newspapers rather to create a sensation - to make a point - than to further the cause of truth."

- from "The Mystery of Marie Roget"