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The 20 best Edgar Allan Poe quotes

Edgar Allan Poe is as influential as he is mysterious. Though we know little of his life, his words have stood the test of time. Read on for the 20 best Edgar Allan Poe quotes.

Edgar Allan Poe was a pioneer of popular poetry and prose. He relished the grisly subject matters of darkness and death, but was eager to undercut them with a rich layer of irony and humour. Little wonder Edgar Allan Poe quotes are so memorable.

Poe endured a short, dramatic, and often tragic life. As such, his work is filled to the brim with pathos, beauty, and earnest explorations of the human soul. Join us as we delve into the very best Edgar Allan Poe quotes.

Edgar Allan Poe The Simpsons

Beauty

Poe was obviously enamoured by the concept of beauty. He squeezed a lot of romantic insight and emotional confessions into his economic prose:

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”

Dreaming

Another constant thread is the obsession with dreaming, the blurred frontiers of reality, as well as the constant interrogation of sanity (or lack thereof):

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

“The ninety and nine are with dreams, content but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man grimly bent on making those dreams come true.”

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.”

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

“Invisible things are the only realities.”

Comedy

And sometimes, he just goes for the laughs. But like the best comedy, it’s infused with truth:

“The best things in life make you sweaty.”

“To die laughing must be the most glorious of all glorious deaths!”

Politics and religion

Edgar Allan Poe quotes also have an eerie prescience, especially in a political context:

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”

“To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.”

“The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.”

“Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.”

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”

Insights and opinions

At other times, he cuts through his one hysteria with simple yet poignant insights:

“There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the few.”

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

Death

Then, of course, there’s death. In Poe’s life, reminders of mortality were everpresent and it formed one of the thematic pillars of his poetry and prose:

“The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”

“Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.”

“Even in the grave, all is not lost.”