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Posted at 10:39 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Edgar Allan Poe: On his birthday, a celebration of his words

By Melissa Bell
Edgar Allan Poe

The master of the macabre lived a short, wretched life by all accounts, which ended in a hospital shortly after he was found ranting on a street in Baltimore, drunk, broke and raving mad. He was 40 years old and could never pull himself from poverty, despite his profuse writing career.

Now, with a movie in the works based on his most famous poem, "The Raven," Poe is celebrated as one of the best writers in the American oeuvre. His lyrical, mysterious prose has haunted literary lovers for decades. On his 202nd birthday, we thought we'd look back at Poe's best-loved quotes.

What's your favorite line from the poet? Use #poequotes or leave it in the comments.

I'm partial to "Keeping time, time, time,/In a sort of Runic rhyme,/To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells/From the bells, bells, bells, bells,/bells, bells, bells."

And, no, it's not just because of the narcissistic reference to my name. It's that tripping, multi-syllabic word that sounds like a bell clanging: "tintinnabulation" that I love so much.

(Also, read about the annual gathering at Poe's gravestone here. The mysterious visitor -- the Poe toaster -- who came every year for 60 years bearing a bottle of cognac did not show up, much to the dismay of other Poe fans.)

And for some inspiration, here's James Earle Jones reading "The Raven." I'd like to wrap his voice around me like a warm, winter coat:

By Melissa Bell  | January 19, 2011; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Next: Paul Cézanne's birthday celebrated with his artwork (Photos)

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