Essays by edgar allan poe online

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Edgar Allan Poe Essay

It's just a great book. Here's an interview with Ken Silverman discussing Poe. These biographical books will probably be at a college library. There are also primary sources of information like Poe's works or letters written by Poe to friends, family, and other individuals. Many library offer access to biographical Internet databases. Ask your librarian.


Finally, don't forget that good research is based on what's already been done in the field by scholars and literary researchers. Be wary of your sources. Learn what the reputable sources are from your teacher and use them. In a letter to the English theologian Thomas Burnet, Newton envisioned how the early Universe was constructed:.

Newton had little reason to doubt the Biblical timeline that Earth and the cosmos were thousands of years old. In his day, fossil evidence for a distant past was just starting to be examined, and geological dating and astronomical observation had not yet revealed the true multi-billion-year timeline. Eureka begins with a dedication to Humboldt, and later lauds his attempts to describe the Universe:.

Born in Berlin in , Humboldt was fascinated as a young man by botany, geology and other aspects of the natural world. Through his research, he drew connections between the changing geological features of Earth and the astounding variety of life within it. In other words, it added to the findings that represented the fall of the timeline of Ussher pardon the pun. In his widely read treatise Kosmos , published as a series of volumes from the s to the s, Humboldt offered a comprehensive guide to the natural world, from the minute to the astronomical, which showed how it progressed over time.

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That masterful collection lent science an unprecedented unity, and directly inspired Eureka. I f Earth went through stages of development, leading over the aeons to greater diversity, Poe considered, perhaps the Universe did as well. Audaciously, he compares his intuitive methods with those of Newton and the German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Poe mentions Kepler and Newton a number of times in Eureka. That scenario implies a dynamic Universe, rather than an eternal, clockwork one. Recognising the difficulty of the concept of infinity, Poe asks the reader simply to accept that the extent of space and the number of stars within it could be limitless. Nevertheless, all things must have an origin; however immense the Universe, it must have started from something created at some point in the past. Since it is now incredibly vast, the Universe must have grown enormously. He imagines the growth taking place only within space, however.

In no manner does he suggest that space itself has expanded.

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Poe saw the Universe as a central hub surrounded by a seemingly endless sea of scattered stars and gaseous nebula. That brings us to another crucial difference between Eureka and modern cosmology: the existence of other galaxies.

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Based on the knowledge of his times, Poe saw the Universe as a central hub — the visible bulge and spiral of the Milky Way — surrounded by a seemingly endless sea of scattered stars and gaseous nebula. Once we realise that Poe was talking about just our own galaxy rather than the entire Universe, the notion of materials emanating from a physical centre in space makes more sense. After all, the Milky Way clearly has a centre. Presuming that the star had been shining indefinitely, its rays would have reached us by now.

Therefore, that smidgeon of the sky would be bright, not dark. Applying that logic to any direction implies that every spot should be bright, and the nocturnal sky should be lit up in all directions, as if by the Sun. Why, then, is it mostly dark each night, with speckled exceptions? Through logical inference, Poe extrapolated that result to the rest of the Universe, decades before the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell showed how melding electricity and magnetism into a unified theory of electromagnetism predicts a constant speed of light in all empty space.

Hindered both by finite speeds and these enormous gaps, starlight takes countless years to reach us.

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We see stars not as they are today, but the way they appeared many years ago, like paging through dusty photo albums of the galaxy in its younger days. In other words, the physical Universe must be finite in age. Uniquely, in Eureka, Poe attempts to describe a Universe of finite age that originates through dynamic principles, similar to how one might date and delineate the development of the Earth and its geological features.

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The dark parts of the sky are those directions in which the youth of the Universe has not allowed stars to form — or, if they are there, the vastness of the Universe has not yet permitted their light to reach us. Brigham, Clarence S.

Edgar Allan Poe: visionary of big bang cosmology? | Aeon Essays

Also reprinted separately. Edsall, Thomas, ed. This catalogue includes a few reprints of material which are not noted elsewhere. Harrison, James A[lbert]. Crowell, Heartman, Charles F. The best overall bibliography of Poe, although it does contain errors and is somewhat outdated. Levine, Stuart and Susan F. Second printing Pollin, Burton R. Thompson, G. Richard, ed. A good basic collection. Vines, Lois D.

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