Poe's life, his way of life, his manners, his physical stature, all the factors that, together, add up to the totality of his personality, produce on us an effect of sombre brilliance.  His strangeness, his fascination, these are the hall-marks of his being, which, like his works, was stamped with an indefinable seal of melancholy.  He was conspicuously gifted in every way. “Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, his Life and Works.
Photo: Oscar Halling, Edgar Allen Poe

Photo: Oscar Halling, Edgar Allen Poe

...his great air of natural distinction, his eloquence, his physical beauty, about which, so it was said, he was not a little vain.  His manner displayed an unusual mix of hauteur and exquisite sweetness, together with an easy self-assurance.  Expression, bearing, gestures, carriage of the head, everything about him, especially on his good days, marked him out as one of the elect.  His whole being produced a penetrating sense of solemnity.  Nature’s finest stamp was truly upon him, like those passers-by who draw the observer’s attention and linger on in his memory.” Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allen Poe, His Life and Works.

Baudelaire’s description of Poe reminds me of Coleridge’s treatment of Bryon. In both cases the prose is rhapsodic.  While Coleridge presents us with a luminous Bryon, Baudelaire’s account is sombre, but no less fervent.  Compare these paeans to the banal responses to “who are you wearing” whenever actors stars parade down the red carpet.  

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