Oh My Poe!

  • June 28, 2016
  • All things Paris
  • Theatre in Paris contributor

A bit of Edgar Allen Poe in French art and culture

Nevermore! Oh look, we have a Raven flying in on this #tennesseetuesday, in the person of Edgar Allen Poe! The famous Baltimoron (although the Bostonians also proudly claim him for themselves) grew up in an art household, seeing as his two parents were actors. Imagine the creativity! Poe is considered to be the inventor of detective fiction and helped shape the emerging science fiction genre. But he shared the fate of so many brilliant writers when his poem The Raven was rejected... and by a friend no less. Luckily another publisher was smarter and swooped it up for a whopping $9.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pond, French fellow poet Charles Baudelaire would have paid anything for that poem (if he hadn't been notoriously broke, due to his overindulgence in retail therapy). He had fallen in love with Poe's work, sharing many of his American peer's ideals and philosophies and calling him his twin soul. Baudelaire finally wound up translating Poe's work into French, and because of his own poetic prowess, his translation was the only one that did the original justice. And the ball didn't stop there..... several French painters felt inspired to illustrate various subsequent editions and translations, among them the likes of Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse! We bet the editor who rejected that first draft, is still turning in his grave.

Check out this article!