by Kevin Alfred Strom
THIS YEAR marks the 200th birthday of the great poet and thinker Edgar Allan Poe. Today, October 7th, is the day of his mysterious death 160 years ago in Baltimore. And last month marked the 174th anniversary of his marriage to his beloved Virginia.
Not too long after Poe’s birthday in January of this year, someone very dear to me gave me a surprise present: two gift boxes from the Poe Museum in Richmond, one decorated with a reproduction of the famous Learned portrait of Virginia Poe (pictured, left) and the other (on the right) having on its lid an image of a very young-looking and clean-shaven Edgar Allan Poe — an image I had never seen before. The portrait is oval and in a thin oval gilt frame. Inside the lid of the second box is written “Edgar Allan Poe – Robert Lee Traylor.”
I have been a reader and student of Poe since the age of 11, but this portrait was one I had never seen. The only references I could find to “Robert Lee Traylor” and a Poe portrait were as the owner of a very different Poe picture, a daguerreotype.
And exhaustive searches of the ‘Net, comprising thousands of articles and representations of Poe, didn’t come up with this portrait or any reference to it. It seemed quite a mystery to me.
ART SITE UPDATED: My online art gallery has been updated recently, with newly-added paintings by Paul Delaroche, Angelica Kauffmann, Louis Janmot, Sophie Anderson, John Everett Millais, Abbott Handerson Thayer, Alexandre Cabanel, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Also added were portraits of Edgar and Virginia Poe, T.E. Lawrence, William Butler Yeats, Nikolai Gogol, Robert Louis Stevenson, Pedro Del Valle, and many more; along with new photographs and digital art pieces.
A READER recently wrote: “I share your enthusiasm for Poe, but I do not understand how he is a Cosmotheist.”
I regard Poe as an instinctive, intuitive Cosmotheist thinker, though he did not construct or expound a religion or philosophy based upon his ideas as did William Pierce and others.
Consider Poe’s words from his ‘prose poem’ Eureka, which he held to be one of his most important works, though it is among his most ignored today. Poe makes many errors in Eureka, but few that cannot be excused by the limited scientific knowledge of his day. He didn’t have the facts available to Pierce, Romer, Dawkins, Cattell, or even Shaw and Nietzsche; but he did see far more deeply than most writers of his time. Some of his intuitive insights are astounding.
One of the central ideas of Cosmotheism is that Man’s consciousness is but part of the emerging self-consciousness of the universe. Poe, who also seems to anticipate the idea of entropy in this passage, said:
TODAY MARKS the 200th anniversary of the birth of the European-American literary genius and racially concious writer Edgar Allan Poe. I have paid my respects to the eternal memory of Edgar Poe in person at the Poe Museum in Richmond and at his and his beloved Virginia’s grave site in Baltimore, and I offer them again to all who read my words today.
Just as an abomination like Barack Hussein Obama could only be elected in an artificial multiracial slave state (and never in the White America of recent and lamented memory, and likewise never in a healthy all-Black nation) — just as a degenerate like “Martin Luther” King could only be lionized by a degraded, ignorant, and servile population — so Edgar Poe could never be published in modern America. His recognition of individual and racial inequality would have made him anathema to those who control the media today, and his private life and reputation would have been ripped to shreds by the international vermin and the vultures they employ.