Edgar Allan Poe’s Funeral – The Sequel

October 10, 2009
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Edgar Allan Poe’s funeral Sunday is not at all too late. In fact, Edgar Poe, who was taken in by the Allan family, feared nothing more than an early funeral.

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Just what might I mean by ‘early funeral?’ Well, this master of gothic fiction seemed to have a gripping fear of a ‘premature burial.’ In a short story with that exact title, Poe compares it to a number of other ‘calamities’ that human beings have endured:

“To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality.”

He crafted several other tales with the underlying theme of being interred before death: think back to the terror of Roderick’s twin sister clawing her way out of her tomb in The Fall Of The House Of Usher.

Was it an irrational fear? Not entirely. After all, the absence of modern medicine in the 19th century made it a somewhat a realistic one (although it was a rare occurrence).

So there is a strong irony that is has taken 160 years to give him a proper and respectful burial—rather than his worst nightmare coming true, he has now been granted its stark opposite.

As part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth, Poe’s second funeral will take place this Sunday in Baltimore, MD. It will be much more fitting for Poe, whose first burial was rushed and relatively secretive. Rather than having ten people in attendance, this time around there will be at least 350.

But before your mind wanders, it’s worth mentioning that they are not going to exhume his body. That was already done in the late 1800s when it had to be moved. Instead, the AP reports, an artist has created a “mock-up of Poe’s corpse,” which Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum says will “freak people out.” The body was displayed in the Poe House, and will be transported to the graveyard on Sunday.

Although he has long left the physical realm, his spirit certainly lives on in his work. As he once wrote:

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague”

I’ve included a video about Edgar Allan Poe’s below.

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