Sunday, April 13, 2008

The most poetical topic in the world

From Edgar Allen Poe, "Philosophy of Composition":
Now, never losing sight of the object-supremeness or perfection at all points, I asked myself-"Of all melancholy topics what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy?" Death, was the obvious reply. "And when," I said, "is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?" From what I have already explained at some length the answer here also is obvious-"When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: the death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world, and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover."

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