What was Edgar Allen Poe like?

There are people that give out a strange magic. Under their spell you have to believe in their personality. There is something that pushes back and makes you notice. No one knows what but it is there. They are marked with the sign of the artist. Oscar Wilde was one and so was Edgar Allan Poe. His manner was high; his gait was light and his demeanor always harmonious. He was always refined despite his poverty and had a romantic chivalrous manner.

His proud features were regular, yes, he was handsome. The pure dark gray eyes held a strange violet glint. The high confident brow had marvelous symmetry. His complexion was always pale and shadowed by his dark locks. Edgar Allan Poe was beautiful in body and in soul. His gentle voice was musical.

He was a strong supple athlete, a persevering swimmer that once swam over seven English miles upstream against the current from Richmond to Warwick without getting tired. He was an experienced jumper, elegant rider and excellent fencer that more than once demanded a duel from a hot-blooded opponent.

He was a gentleman from top to bottom; his social manner was cool and though entangled was charming. He was sensitive and tender, earnest and solid. He was a scholar with an almost universal education. It was an equally great pleasure to see him or to listen to him. He was always sharing and his curse was that so few, so few to whom he gave his great riches were worthy enough to understand.

Did a few beautiful women understand him? No, but they could sense the nobility of his soul, instinctively the way all women do.

Only three people lived in his time that were capable of grasping him completely. Baudelaire and the two Brownings, but they lived over in old Europe and he never saw them.




The Pit and the Pendulum

I slowly walk for a long time through the park at Alhambra under the ancient Elms that Wellington planted. On all sides I hear the babble and rustle of flowing water mixed with the sweet songs of a hundred nightingales. I stride between the high towers into the luxuriant valley of Alhambra.

Who does this magic palace, these dream gardens belong to? The destitute Spanish nation that I despise? The vulgar strangers with their red books that I must take ten steps to avoid?

Oh no! It belongs to me, to me and the few capable of receiving this beauty into their souls. There is a voice in these stones, in these bushes that lends life to the spirit of beauty and brings an understanding of truth.

Everything around me and everything that is beautiful on this earth is the sacred everlasting property of the Nation of Culture that stands above the masses. It is ruler. It is owner. The beauty does not speak to anyone else. Understand this command and dare to live. Edgar Allan Poe did.

I sit on a stone bank where Aboul-Haddjadj once dreamed. In front of me a spring gushes up out of the hill and flows into a marble basin. I wonder if the Sultan ever sat alone here in the dawn hours. Oh, it is so sweet to dream here.

There was once a poet that wrote only of his conversations with the dead. He chatted with all seven Sages, all the kings of Ninevah, with Egyptian priests and Thessalonian witches, with Athenian singers, with Roman Commanders and with the knights of King Arthur’s round table. Finally he didn’t want to talk with living people anymore, the dead were so much more interesting!

Certainly anyone can chat with them. Every dreamer knows this and everyone that believes in dreams as the ultimate reality.

Have I not today wandered there above through the halls with my favorite? Have I not shown the world a beautiful piece of the dead that living eyes have never seen before? Now he stands before me leaning against an elm.

“Any questions?” He says.

He looks good, my caressing eyes question him and he speaks. Soon clear words drip from his lips, soon his voice babbles out of the fountain and sings out of the throats of the nightingales and rustles in the leaves of the ancient elm. The dead are so clever.

“Leave my poor life alone.” He says. “Ask Goethe about his. He went hunting around the world with a prince that paid him with six stallions. I was a solitary.”

I never let my gaze leave him. “Tell of your life and of your love!”

“I forgot life, forgot that I lived.” He says. “Oh, not now since I’ve been dead, as the children say. I forgot every day on the next day. Could I have lived any other way? My true life, the one in my dreams you already know about.”

A light mist rose from the ground and scurried away into the evening; a sweet cool fanned my temples. I certainly knew his dream life; it poured through me and through the world. Through his poetry his life has slowly unfolded before me.

William Wilson. Naturally this is Poe, so very much Poe that the moralist Griswold deemed Wilson’s birth year as the poet’s own. The boy ruled over all his schoolmates in the old boarding school at Stoke-Newington, all except one, his own self.[i]

Those good things that he inherited as a boy, youth and man would always turn to rags because his conscience was not free of the other Wilson, his own self.

Pigheaded conscience pushed against his fascination with crime in the world and he became his own punishing judge.

This is how the poet’s childhood poisoned his youthful years. What he inherited along with his education awakened still more feelings for good and evil so exaggerated in him that he went here and there trapped in an eternal struggle that nearly destroyed him.

Every little wrong he had ever experienced grew in his dreams into enormous crimes that tormented him, tormented him. Still more was the sinful thought of playing with the idea of evil in his dreams until it became real as well. He, himself, is the hero in all his gruesome stories. As the last of his kind he rights the sins of his father and like his Friedrich von Metzgerstein rides a demonic horse into the flames of hell.

How the elm leaves rustle! I hear this luckless voice in the wind. “If I had not been a poet I would have been a murderer, a fraud, a thief and a cheat.”

The elm leaves clang and his voice continues, “and perhaps I would have been happier.”

I think, who knows?

How is it that this tormented poet never became a criminal? Where he really lived, in his dreams, he was not only a murderer but at the same time a victim. He entombed his enemy alive in the cellar and it was himself that he entombed. (A Cask of Amontillado)

He murdered the man with the vulture eyes because he had to and buried him under the floor. The heart kept beating and beating and gave the deed away. It was again himself. (The Tell-Tale Heart)  His evil twin, the double, William Wilson everywhere.

Seldom has an artist toiled so much for so few results, never has anyone so immersed themselves in their work. A German or Frenchman could more easily have freed himself from this morality. But the poet was so encumbered with a crushing religion of the soul from early childhood and in his education that he could never entirely free himself. When he was finally able to distance himself it was too late.

He was never able to stand on the other side of good and evil. The old English curse oppressed him. No fortune would spare him and like Breughel, Jean van Bosch and Goya, this poor soul had to suffer insane anguish and drink the bitter cup to the last drop.

Oh yes, if he had been a criminal he would have ended his life on a gallows instead of in a hospital for the poor. He would not have shared his thoughts and his life would still have been miserable and full of agony but not as dreadful as it was.

But a temple stands out of Golgotha, lily fields grow out of blood fertilized meadows, and we are fortunate to partake of these glorious flowers that grew out of the poisoned heart’s blood of this poet.

The spring fed brook splashes through the park at Alhambra. Small lively rivulets prattle and chatter. It rushes in the narrow gravel plastered bed, rushing like the good hours of this poet’s life. The hours, minutes perhaps that he was able to spend in harmless enjoyment.

In those times when he dreamed they were amusing dreams. About the man with the wonderful nose so huge that all the world sat in amazement. Painters painted it and Duchesses kissed it. This precious little story in a bizarre way is in advance of the talent of Mark Twain. Only in this one by Poe the exaggerations are finer and expressed more naturally so that no where is word play over emphasized.

Or his funny one about Hot Beggars Soup dished up in the weekly paper for good natured readers, or the instruction of Miss Zenobia with her capable and gripping Blackwood article and lastly the Honorable Thingum Bob from the World Lantern with the sublime delightful chat over his literary career.

So light, so kind is the poet’s wit like the lively splashing brook babbling through the park at Alhambra.

But how the nightingales sob his dream of longing! And his soul appears to sing in the voice of the nightingale, so pure, so without blemish that the divine Cecilia would be jealous and break her violin and Apollo would smash his lyre. In his criminal dreams there was no hell deep enough for this poet but in this divine song there is no heaven high enough.

No where do we find a single sentence or gentle thought by Poe speaking of sexual love.[ii] The erotic is so completely alien to him as to no other except perhaps to Paul Scheerbart. There is little to be found where he expressed social feelings as well and while he does have a heart in his breast that yearns for love it is never permitted to be expressed.

He was not able to love people and always took a small view. He pushed away the caressing hand and the endearing words died on his tongue unspoken. This is when his addiction helped and proved his ability to love animals, to pet the hound and feed the starving cats. Then he was grateful for the faithful gaze and the contented purring.

The poet was aware of this and expressed in his novel Black Cat how this love of animals was his richest source of joy. The higher love of his dying spouse gave him joy mixed with horrible pain and was certainly not the richest source of happiness in his poor life.

Edgar Allan Poe is Roderich Usher and like him has a lute from the angel Israfel of the Koran in his breast instead of a heart. When he looks at his beautiful beloved his heart stops and the lute sings. Its high song of longing sounds such sweet tones in his ear in the pure manner of Morella and Berenice, of Eleonora and Legeia. That same inner music flows through The Raven and Ulalume and is perhaps the highest art there is, this intoxication expressed through poetry and prose.

And in the poet’s world song Eureka it is accompanied by these sounds, “They can not die: or if by any means they be now trodden down, so that they die, they will rise again to the life eternal.”

Yes, in the short space of time that he lived he achieved what men call immortality, the highest man can ever reach now or in the future.

The worth of Edgar Allan Poe is at no time higher than in our day. Our time can learn so much from him and it has. Poe is not a problem today; he is a beacon whose clear light shines the way for others.

The awareness of his art through intoxication, the significance of stress and technique, the clear recognition of the Parnessian principle of art in the broadest sense. The strong sweeping back of the borders and the extreme significance of the inner music for all poets.

These are all moments some of which others individually stress but in their entirety and pervasive connection no artist has recognized and applied as much as the New England poet. And these moments in their entirety represent what is demanded by the modern spirit of cultural art expressed in a way that can be comprehended and studied. No artist or layman should be as grateful to any other poet as much as to Edgar Allan Poe.

When an artist is really stuck and can’t make a translation there lies at hand a way to learn and enjoy being a poet by forcing a way into his inner being and bringing out the needed original translation. No other poet can show this process more than Poe can.

Now the nightingales flute and out of their small throats sings the voice of the artist I love. The light wind stops beating its frenzied wings on the leaves of the elms. The trickling brook quiets its chatter as the park of Alhambra pauses to listen to the song of the nightingales.

For a hundred years the old towers and mortar have experienced these familiar sweet evening sounds but today is different, so different. The loud beating of a dead poet’s heart and the little birds are singing his soul song. The brook and the trees listen, the square red stones listen, the purple glowing snow capped mountains listen. And an infinite sigh sounds through the huge garden as in the west the warm sinking sun mournfully takes its needed parting from the poets raised song.

The twilight breathes through the elms and light misty shadows rise out of the laurel bushes to climb up toward the Moorish Palace.  In ancient times long gone they sat round these marble banks. I know well who they are. Gabirol now sits next to me, now Ibn al-Khabib and Ibn Esra, and Jehudah ben Halevy and Mohammed Ibn Khaldoun and Ibn Batouta. A hundred dead poets listen hushed to the song of the nightingales. How clever are the dead.

They hear the heart of the angel Israfel whom the Koran told of, and give thankful praises to God that such music has awakened.

“Ouala ghaliba ill’ Allahta ‘ala” murmur the misty shadows. And the nightingales sing of dark mysteries, of the immense longing that is the pure source of life.

They sing of the greatest secret of all, that all things created and brought through eternity are filled with the breath of infinite love. They sing of beauty as the truth that comes before truth. They sing of dreams that are the life that comes before life.

Poe’s soul sings and a hundred dead poets listen to the clamor and from their lips arise once more the ancient words “Ouala ghaliba ill’ Allahta ‘ala”.

So thankful are the dead.

And the night sinks deeper here. The nightingales hush and the east wind rises and comes from the Sierra. The misty shadows disperse. I am alone again in the enchanted park of Alhambra. Alone with a great poet’s soul. And how the wind blows through the ancient elms rustling the leaves and singing of Ulalume, the very same ballad in the poet’s dreadful dream.


“The skies they were ashen and sober

The leaves they were crisped and sere

The leaves they were withering and sere

It was night in the lonesome October

Of my most immemorial year.

It was hard by the dim lake of Auber

In the misty region of Weir

It was down by the dark tarn of Auber

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir

Here once through an alley Titantic

Of cypress, I roamed with my soul.”

I know well that the verse speaks of me. But I perceive my lips are not saying anything different than that of the rustling elms. I perceive that it is the grief of the October wind howling in distress at the poet’s unearthly longing enspelled in human words and being pulled out of me.

It is the spark of his peculiar thought or essence that emanates from his corpse as the divine breath of nature penetrating everything. The original spark of his being is in all things and a small proof of the poet’s highest law, that the source of all things is unity.

My mouth speaks the mysterious words that the wind has carried to my ears. I am becoming afraid in the dark loneliness, in this living fairy tale. I want to leave out of the valley of Alhambra. Groping in the darkness I lose my footing and miss the path. Finding a trail in the ancient cypress I come up hard against a low door. Oh, the terror that comes upon me in the darkness. I know, I know well whose grave this is. And against my will my lips speak to my soul.

“What is written, sweet sister

On the door of this legended tomb?”

She replied, “Ulalume, Ulalume.

Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Again and again the fear rises up within me. The dead poet’s soul that rustled through the elm trees, that resounded in the nightingales song, that babbled in the spring fed brook, that howled such a dreadful song in the wind, has taken possession of me.

Only a small mote of dust with the divine breath of nature has pierced through me, through me. I know there is no escape and he will destroy me. He does not crush me. And strangely I am quiet, so quiet as if I have been completely filled by him.

The human fear gently fades away.

Now I find the path again. I stride through the gate of vines in the place leading to the Aljibes. I go in the Alcazaba, climb up the Ghafar, the mighty watchtower of the Moorish rulers.

A glowing crescent moon shines now between two moving clouds, it is the true mark of Arabian greatness that no God in heaven can wipe away.

I glance deep down into church happy Grenada, noisy and swarming with nightly street traffic. They run into the coffeehouses, they read the newspapers, polish boots and get their boots polished. They look into lit shop windows, travel in streetcars, call out, “fresh water!” and collect cigar stubs. The noise and bustle annoy me but I try to tolerate it. No one raises a glance; no one looks up to the singular splendor that is here above.

Over there on my right resounds the river Darro, behind me I hear the rushing of the torrent Geni. Bright campfires penetrate out of the caves of the gypsies and in another direction the snow capped Sierra glows silvery in the moonlight.

From where I stand between two watchtowers and the purple towers of the Moorish Mountains lies the park hidden in the darkness deep in the valley. Behind me lies the magic palace of Alhambra, hall on hall, courtyard on courtyard.

There below is the small life of this century; here above is the land of dreams. That down below in the distance is so infinitely far from me and this here above, is not every stone a part of my soul?

Haven’t I been in this world of ghosts, that the living blind down below can not see? Haven’t I been a part of this dream? It is the almighty beauty that makes these dreams come true. Here life blossoms and the reality down below is only a shadow game.

The deed is nothing. The thought is everything. The reality is ugly and not justified to exist. The dream is always beautiful and is true because it is beautiful. That is why I believe dreams

are the only true reality.

[i] Poe’s biographer, the moralist Griswold does not hesitate to say; “In the entire literature we find only shadows and no example of Poe’s missing conscience.”

[ii] It is completely mistaken for van Vleuten to state as fact that excessive alcohol consumption will lead to Bachus being the enemy of Venus. His remark, “Every doctor knows that alcohol is the enemy of physical love, it seems that in Poe it has also destroyed its psychological equivalent.” (Tomorrow”1903 page 189)

For me to hear this from the mouth of a serious psychiatrist like van Vleuten is simply inconceivable. I have often had the opposite experience and several psychiatrists have confirmed to me that chronic alcoholics during intoxication often enough, sometimes even regularly, show an extraordinary increase in sex drive.

This is not the place to question this detail. At the least every police officer will confirm and van Vleuten will certainly not deny that three quarters of the nightly patrons of Bordellos spend much of their time one way or the other in a highly intoxicated condition.

Van Vleuten’s hypothesis is wrong and his conclusion completely absurd.

“Alcohol seems to have destroyed in Poe the psychic equivalent to have and the feminine was banished from his deliriums.”

“That is why the entire sphere of the feminine and human sexuality finds no root in the deliriums of this poet.”

The sphere of the feminine is not missing and Poe has of course in the purest and most noble form related it often. By the way, van Vleuten contradicts himself when he notes that the “Raven” seems to come from a delirium.” (Ibid. page 189) Well, woman plays the main role in this poem how can he claim the feminine has been banished from Poe’s deliriums?

The sentence that “Alcohol is the enemy of physical love and even of its psychic equivalent” is certainly inaccurate; the effect is individual and entirely different in this case.

Baudelaire, in writing of the sexuality in Poe’s work, noted van Vleuten’s comment in his own remark, “I can find no real explanation for this finding.” Baudelaire, the artist of intoxication par excellence, did not avoid this well known remark and responded intentionally because he recognized its hollowness.

Unfortunately not one word of the sociality as well as the sexuality that leaps to the eye of Poe’s readers seems to touch van Vleuten. Does he claim these psychic equivalents did exist before they were destroyed by alcohol?

Logically he must because there is no other way to explain his negation of something that is so obviously there in the internal context of Poe’s work.

It is also outrageous for van Vleuten in his otherwise intelligent work to take the poet and attempt to force him into a time deposited Procrustean bed with its pre-established template.

He claimed, “Poe’s landscapes are schematic and uniform, they show no illness and are not liable to remind one of amnesia.”

This psychiatrist, who himself is a gifted poet, takes these songs of a high landscape, the fifty pages from Poe’s “Landor’s Cottage” and “The Domain of Arnhiem” and calls them nothing more than scenic beauties of speech!

I can only conclude that van Vleuten has only a fragmentary knowledge of Poe and has never read the two aforementioned cabinet pieces, or the majority of his poems with their scenic images.

I can do this safely without making false allegations but I can not save him from another more serious allegation. That he has prefixed a work for an elite audience without sufficient knowledge. While it is largely in the whole certainly laudable, it contains serious errors in detail that reduce the all-encompassing image of a great genius for future readers.



The Raven

Poe did not need this ancient fabrication any more. He saw how threadbare and tattered it was and boldly threw it aside. In Eureka he defined the concept of intuition in a few words as a “realization of truth” grounded in inductive and deductive reasoning so hidden in shadows that consciousness retreats from getting a grip on it or understanding of it and mocks our inability to put it into words.

Here lies a clearer understanding of the way art is created than that of his contemporaries. Those Poet-philosophers that claimed so-called “Intuition” was the opposite of philosophy. This is true in the limited narrow untheological and thoroughly modern sense and a special place has been made for the opposites, Aristotle and Bacon, placing them side by side together at the same time.

He was the greatest of these first men of modern spirit. He was a romantic, a dreamer, and a worshipper of reason who never let his feet leave solid earth.

Edgar Allan Poe was also first to openly speak on the technique of thinking a decade before Zolas’s “Genius is diligence”.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote of this in his forward to Eureka.

“To the few who love me and whom I love; to those who feel rather than to those who think. To the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities—I offer this book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the beauty that abounds in its truth: Constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone; let us say as a romance, or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a poem.

What I propound here is true: –Therefore it can not die; –or if by any means it be now trodden down so that it die, it will rise again to the Life Everlasting!”

Poe stood completely independent from Th. Gautier and his “L’art pour l’art” principle. His claim was more than Gautier’s, who only saw beauty with the eye of the painter and also lower than Gautier’s in that the external form alone revealed the beauty. First beauty, then truth. To truth, that was his correction without negating beauty. That is the highest claim of any art that has ever been framed. He spoke in waking life of the longing for true value and reality, the simple reality that only the dream could fulfill.

Also here is Poe-the Romantic- Pathfinder; revealed here as the first of the modern spirits. His claim was so ultra modern that even today only a small portion of the many great writers can understand this radical spirit that sprang out independently fifty years before Zola coined his technique of creation principle and more widely than Parnassier’s principle of art.

Among civilized people the fertilization of literature through Poe’s spirit is now in full bloom in this century. The past saw him only as an outsider like the ridiculous pair, Puke and Snot. Certainly as someone fortune has turned her back on unlike Jules Verne and Conan Doyle who made fortunes.

It is entirely certain Poe wrote these things for his daily bread. The travels of Gordon Pym and Hanns Pfaall …ect. It was only through the need for a hot noon meal that the criminal novels (for example: Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, The Gold Bug) originated. Poe knew what it was like to starve! So he wrote these things, made translations and scientific collaborations whenever possible.

Really, every single story, even his weakest, make all the adventures of Sherlock Holmes fade in comparison. Why does the large public, especially the English speaking, devour Doyle’s ridiculous Detective stories with enthusiasm and lay Poe’s aside? It doesn’t make sense!

Poe’s characters like Dostojewskys are so genuine, his composition so complete that the reader’s imagination is held captive in his net. That’s when the reader is helpless against the painful murderous horror and seized in cruel suspense. They are continuously white with tension.

In his popular imitators this is merely pleasant titillation. The reader always knows that it is all stupid nonsense. They stand apart from the story and prefer it that way!

But Poe takes the poor drip by the hair, drags them to the abyss and catapults them into hell! They lose hearing and vision and don’t know where they are anymore. That is why the average person that likes to sleep avoids Poe’s horrific nightmares and is attracted to the scenic heroes of Baker Street.

He wanted to write for the large masses and set his goal way too high. He wrote way over their heads and thought they would like to read him! Then he went from publisher to publisher trying to market intelligent works to people that only wanted to buy straw!

There will come a time when the world is ready for this poet’s gifts. There have already been many promising starts and we recognize the singular ways that Jean Paul, Th. Hoffman, Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe have contributed to the culture of art.

Such art can no longer be dressed in nationalistic colors. First of all we need to realize that Poe’s art was not for the people of America, but for the thin cultural layer whether it be German, Japanese, Latin or Jewish. We all wish and believe that no artist creates just for his people but for the entire world.

Velazquez and Cervantes are as completely unknown to the large masses in Spain as the English writers, Shakespeare and Byron, the French Rabelais and Moliere or the Dutch Rembrandt and Ruben are.

The German people don’t have the slightest idea who Goethe and Schiller were and have never even heard of Heine. We hear the small blunt questions of soldiers in the regiments, “Who was Bismark? Who was Goethe?” When will blissful blind trust finally open its eyes?

Entire worlds separate the people of culture in Germany from their fellow countrymen, which they see daily on the street. There is only water that separates them from the people of culture in America.

Heine perceived that Edgar Allan Poe was great and threw it in the faces of the German experts. Even in our day most artists, scholars and experts of national culture have such little understanding that they misinterpret Horaz’ refined “Odi Profanum”.

The artist that tries to create for his people strives for the impossible neglecting something much more accessible and higher, to create for the entire world. Over the Germans, over the British, over the French stands a higher nation to create for, the Nation of Culture. It alone is worthy of the artist. The awareness of Poe is as solidly grounded there as Goethe but in a different, not as modern sense.



Poe’s Cottage at Fordham

If only Edgar Allen Poe could have sat here in the Alhambra. How he would have dreamed! How the colorful stories would have flown lightly around his head before landing! With a few quick words he could have built an Alhambra whose thick towers would have withstood the rain and endured for centuries.

Here he might have found another way to reach ecstasy. He might not have needed to drink. But the poor poet’s soul was stuck over there in New England strongly penning realistic prose while

at the same time Washington Irving, the English model of morality, was allowed to dream in the moonlight magic of Alhambra..His Tales of Alhambra have become world famous.

Day by day I see strangers enter this sacred place, in their hand reviews and in their jacket pockets Edgar Allan Poe’s book. This is how they read The Fall of the House of Usher or the Dionysian Last Days of Pompeii!

Can’t you perceive the influence of Lord Lytton or Irving’s spirit within this pair of beautiful stories? No, a whisper from a Catholic cemetery flows through the haunted Moorish palace in his soul. Although he was no famous poet, although he was only a common journalist, not Bulwar, not Irving created these beauties. He created Pompeii and the Alhambra in spite of them.

Poe’s ability was not enough for his burning desire. The only method that worked was to gather up everything he had inside using it to awaken and carry him into ecstasy. The entire amount of stimulation he surrounded himself with was barely able to lead him to this condition.

If this unhappy poet only once in his life received a kiss from the Muse it was through his beautiful wife, Virginia Clem. The moralists want to call this intoxication holy and divine while forcefully rebuking the poet’s other ecstasies, those from alcohol and from Opium, as unholy and devilish. They are equal! The valuable art that came forth from them was no less glorious.

The agony from the divinely consecrated ecstasy was scarcely inferior to the devilish! Where another was in paradise he was in hell, a passionate blissful hell whose flames were no less scorching. The hand of the poet was rich and Morella, Ligeia, Berenice and Lenore are all owed to the dying eyes of Virginia before her death was certain. He knew the gleaming red of her cheeks lied, knew it was a deception and that within the depths of her moist, shimmering eyes an unrelenting illness grinned out at him.

In the evening when he stroked her beloved locks he could sense, “She won’t live many more days” and in the morning, “Another day less”.

It was a dying person that his lips kissed, a dying person whose beautiful head lay next to him nights when he rested. When he was awakened by the rattle and laborious wheezing of her hard working lungs he would see the white linen shroud, see the cold drops of death sweat on her brow. The visible long drawn out death of his beloved took years. That was the only “fortune” this luckless poet ever had.

Oh yes, the coronation of his dead spouse gave him fame, but it was the fame of fear, of silent grief, the despair behind the smiling mask: A paradise of torments. Virginia sank deeply into his soul and came out in his finest stories. Who can perceive which nameless agonies gave birth to her whisper?

Before the last thread of life snapped and the still wife was laid in the tomb Edgar Poe wrote his masterpiece The Raven. Nothing like that poem or like him had ever been seen before in world literature. I would like to scream in the faces of the English hypocrites.

“His ecstasy came out of the divine intoxication of a lost bleeding heart as well as the common intoxication that comes out of a wine bottle.”

Any psychiatrist that works with alcoholism can prove with ease that The Raven originated from a delirium. It’s just as easy for a psychologist to prove Lenore is owed to the poet’s other intoxication, Virginia.

Then compare the origins of these poems to the candid, wonderfully clear essay that Poe wrote. Every apostrophe, every line, every single syllable is founded in amazingly simple logic. It is almost as if he were solving a binomial equation! The theme certainly gives no mention of ecstasy and its origins out of his divine and not so divine intoxications.

He wrote his essay for New England magazine readers that wanted to know how to become poets and learn the speech of ecstasy. The massive hard work, the pure technique, the ability to edit, that is what art amounts to. It has never been more clearly stated than in this essay, American Poetry. It is a master example. Really.

Admittedly Godfather Schneider and others like him would never use the guide but for the artist it is the most valuable information there is. What he shows is that the divine ecstasy alone is not enough to create a perfect work of art. Hard work, despised technique, deliberation, the weight and tone of words are all indispensable.

The magnificent Alhambra was not created by the great ideas of Arab architects alone. Masons, donkey drivers, gardeners and painters each played their part.

Edgar Allen Poe was the first poet to speak with such candor and moderation of the pure craft of writing. Yes, and I will also say that even though he was an American, he was the first on the threshold of modern thinking. The shining proof of the full value of this artist is that he only speaks of technique and with no word mentions the intuition always mouthed by amateurs. Perhaps if he could have written more in the magazine for others to read, he might have been happy to tell about the intoxication technique. Never had anyone before him so analyzed their peculiar craft in such anatomical detail until each fiber was taken apart.

This is an alternative to the faith of the masses in the inspirational fables that persist in our days. Of the divine voice that dictated the Bible and the Master Artist’s inspiration made possible through God’s grace. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, they painted, they wrote poems and more or less composed an immaculate spirit child that was placed into this world. That was so nice, so comfortable, that certainly some great artists themselves believed in this mysterious consecration.

The Thracian singer was called “Drunk with God” even though he was sober as Socrates. This idea in its original Dionysian form nearly coincides with our modern view of intoxication and ecstasy which became in the later Apollonistic view, “The Divine Anointing” of the Christian belief that has been in a position to take over and with great enthusiasm cloud clear thinking.

All the beautiful phrases from the square in Mount Olympus, the kiss of the Muse, the divine intoxication, the Artist’s “Grace of God”, and so on. Thank God we no longer in the slightest think of these and where they have originated.

It took courage to scatter such a luminous fog. Few, very few poems in world literature could tolerate such relentless scrutiny. Poe could dare take this step because he had created in The Raven a poem that was so pure, so complete. All others not as perfect, the small, the ridiculous, the sublime, are ripped to pieces.

My glance falls to the plaster on the walls of the hall. The eye can not follow all these arabesque and Kufic proverbs. It gets swallowed up and lost in the fantastic harmonies of the Moorish style.

Now this Arabic miracle of art is created out of gypsum, common gypsum. How ridiculous, how small, how absurd! But although created out of gypsum it loses nothing from its composition and is a complete work of art.

The common materials have been given life by the breath of the Spirit.

Art triumphs over nature, and this art is so great that recognition of the ridiculous common materials of its creation mean nothing.

Edgar Allen Poe-B


Edgar Allen Poe

We admire the Tiger Orchid. Is the magnificent orchid less beautiful because it feeds on insects by slowly torturing them to death in the narrow way? We are joyed and amazed at the glorious lilies in the Park of Cintra. We have never seen any so large and so white! How does it happen that their exceptional beauty is owed to the clever gardener that fertilizes the ground not with pure water but with treatments of Guano, applied manure?

Sometimes a sympathetic smile comes at the wide country roads our art must travel by chance before it shines meagerly here and there like a lantern piercing the fog of intoxication. There are times when it only comes through the union of intoxication and art. Then it is the only way great inspiration can come out from within and make itself known. When this happens the highest place must be given to the scouts Hoffman, Baudelaire and Poe, who first worked consciously through intoxication to find their art.

Let’s be honest! Is there an artist that can go without stimulation? No one can do without their little stimulants, tea, tobacco, coffee, beer or what ever. Do these things hinder our inspiration of art or help shape its spirit more clearly?

They often help shape it more clearly.

Art is contrary to nature. A man that lives in abstinence keeping body and mind pure and whose ancestors also lived in abstinence for long generations has poisoned blood and can never become an artist! Not even God’s favor in life can awaken the ecstasy. Its spirit has been poisoned.

Nature and Art are the worst enemies. Where one exists the other is not possible.

In the best sense what precisely is an artist? A pioneer of culture in the new territory of the unconscious. In this holy sense how few deserve this proud name! Th. A. Hoffman deserves it and Jean Paul and Villiers and Baudelaire and most certainly Edgar Allan Poe. Griswold must admit to himself that this poet of the soul related in so many of his stories a secret land considered by no one before him and gave us a first glimpse of a new genre of literature.

This powerful land of the unconscious, the land of our eternal desire lies in gray hazy clouds. The beggar lies warm in the sun. The commoner crouches sated by the oven. But there are those whose desire is so immense that their inspiration must come bleeding out.

They must in triple protect their breast when they leave the land of consciousness and steer through the gray murderous flood back toward Avalon.

Many, many get dashed to ground without casting a single glimpse behind the clouds. Very few succeed at this journey. These discover new territory for the culture and the border of the unconscious is pushed back a little further.

The artists are these first great explorers. Then mankind may equip researchers to survey and investigate this new land. They send in officials and civil servants to organize and record-men of science.

It is certain that in addition to other ways the so-called poisons we call narcotics are capable of taking us across the threshold of consciousness. If anyone has success and gets solid footing on the “other side” they can metaphysically in a positive way create new works of art. They are in the finest sense an artist.

Maybe it is necessary to stress the truth that art can never converse naturally with self except while working through frenzy. Some form of stimulation is needed. Or another, that no intoxicant in the world can bring art out of a person that has none inside to begin with!

The Griswolds and Ingrams want less wine drinking, less opium smoking, less hashish eating. If they had their way no more art would be created!

But he who works through intoxication together with narcotics creates suitable conditions where ecstasy can be invoked. This highest level of ecstasy can be invoked in anyone according to his or her intelligence and capability.

Griswold was right. Edgar Allen Poe drank. And yes, he drank too much. His body reacted badly to alcohol. His addiction was hereditary, so he drank a lot. He drank too much. But his actions were deliberate. While in the intoxicated condition things came out in a frenzy that later, perhaps years later, were shaped into new works of valuable art. Such intoxication is no pleasure. It is a horrible agony where awareness is only of the yearning for the art blazing like the mark of Cain upon his brow.

It is a belittling lie of the narrow minded that artistic production is no work, that it is a joy. Those that say so and the large masses with their thankless thought chatter never have a hint or breath of the ecstasy that only the artistic condition produces. This frenzy is always an agony to experience even if the ecstasy at first brings delight.

It is said the mother cat has pleasure bringing her young into the world but they are only poor blind kittens. This may be the weekend chatter of the Buxtehuder Newspaper like the writer of “Berlin at night” who with pleasure puts his lines on paper.

A work of art is never born without pain.

I am going out. Through the enormous palace of the Roman Emperor Karl that led the German Nation. Cross through the mighty columned courtyard and out through the long avenue of white blooming acacia. Through the meadow covered with thousands of blue Irises.

I unlock and let myself into the Tower of the Princesses. The sultan’s daughters, Zayda, Zorayda and Zorahayda secretly listened at these windows to the songs of a captured knight during the time of the crusdades.

Over the valley on the hill I see the boundary where Boabdil gave his last sigh over the lost Granada. From the Generalife gardens I can clearly see the ancient cypress where the last Moorish king’s wife, the beautiful Hamet, brought disaster through her tryst with Abenceragen deep in the shadows.

Every stone here tells a sad tragic legend.

Down at the bottom of the valley the road continues on the long way to the cemetery. A pair of black goats graze on the green slopes. In back, under the prison tower sits a ragged customs agent in front of his filthy den. Long eared rabbits graze close to him and nearby seven cocks battle, pecking the ground or flying after each other, combs and black feathers plucked.

Far in the east glows the snow on the purple-red Sierra Nevada.

A troop of ragged urchins moves slowly across the valley bottom. Two carry a small child’s coffin on their shoulders open in the Spanish custom. Another shoulders the lid. The coffin is very simple, three yellow planks and two plain ones. But a small waxy face and dark hair appear out of the flowers, many flowers, red, yellow, white and blue flowers that have been placed inside.

No Priest, no relatives, no father or mother in the procession, only ragged urchins. Still, the dead child rests in such fresh blooming fragrance among so many colored flowers. How good they didn’t close her eyes! They look around curious at the colored flowers, at the old Moorish Palace and then back to the splendor of her flowers, this small dead maiden, so contented and fortunate to never again be alive.

Edgar Allen Poe-A


My feet stride lightly upon the morning stones of the old way that I have so often traveled up through the sacred groves at Alhambra. I long for that vast world behind the jeweled gate where time flies. I wander so lightly in the dreamland, where the elms rustle, where the spring babbles, where a hundred nightingales sing out from the laurel bushes. I can certainly reflect upon my poet there.

You should not do it. Really not. You should not go there and read any book about an artist you love. How can a priest speak about God? You need to be careful, so very careful.

This is what you should do:

You love Firdusi? Don’t you know Goethe wrote about him? Very well, first learn about Goethe before you read what he said about the Persian. Only then after you are convinced that he is qualified to write about your favorite read what he wrote. You will not be disappointed.

It doesn’t matter what the critics write about the artist you love. If the critics boast about him being a star or say he is only a wisp of mist- it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if the critics are qualified because you are. You are telling the truth about your artist.

I haven’t done it this way. I’ve got a few drops of thick flowing German thoroughness in my blood, a sense of duty.

I thought:

Before I write about my favorite artist, what have others written before me?

I thought:


Many have written about Edgar Allen. Only I’ve been disappointed, so very disappointed. There was just one able to grasp the spirit of him.

There was only Baudelaire. Baudelaire whose art came from hashish. How could he not grasp him, he who formed valuable art out of alcohol and laudanum.

Now I need to forget what the others have said. I must forget the horrible Griswold whose poisonous vomit is not a Poe biography.

“He drank too much, he drank too much, such a shame, he drank too much!”

Also I must forget the horrible fool Ingram who would defend my artist’s honor in return by stammering “He did not drink, really, he did not drink”.

Quick, before I forget I’ll put down the dates I have about him:

Edgar Allen Poe, born on 19 January 1809 in Boston. Irish family, long pedigree, Norman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Italian blood. 1816 to England with his foster parents, a couple of years in a boarding school in Stoke-Newington, 1822 back to America, 1826 student in Richmond, then in Charlottesville, 1827 travel through Europe with unknown adventures, 1830 Cadet Officer at West Point, 1834 Head of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. 1836 married his cousin Virginia Clemm. He wrote. [i]He lived in various places, in New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Fordham. He had a rough time. “He drank too much”, (said Griswold). “He does not drink”, (said Ingram). He died on 7 October in a hospital for the poor in Baltimore, forty years old.

So, these are the all-important dates. Now I can forget.

How difficult it is. For a long time I go along the elm lined avenue up to the royal palace. I turn left and enter the gate to the mighty tower of Justice. I am glad of the hand above that averts the evil eye. I think, this might keep my moralists outside. Now I am above, alone in the familiar spaces.

I know exactly where I want to go. Quick through the myrtle courtyard, through the hall of the Mocaraben into the courtyard of the twelve lions. Enter left into the room of the two sisters and through it to the Ajimeces. Now I’m there in Mirador de Daraxa, where Boabdil’s mother Aicha lived. I sit by a window looking out on the old cypress trees.

How hard it still is to forget! There go my moralists strolling in the garden. Two English hypocrites with round hats, short pipes, black jackets and reviews in their hands.

“He drinks too much”, hisses one.

“Oh no, he does not drink at all, chimes the other.

I would like to knock their heads together!

“Go away you rats, go away! I’m sitting here dreaming about an artist I love. He sang in your language and you sticks know nothing about him!”

They left all right. Be certain of that. I am alone once more.

He drinks too much. He does not drink. That is how the English argue about their poet. They let Milton starve, they steal Shakespeare’s entire life’s work, they scrabble with crooked fingers in Byron’s and Shelley’s family history, they vilify Rossetti and Swinburne, stick Wilde in prison and point their fingers at Charles Lamb and Poe. Because they drank!

I’m so glad that I’m a German! Germany’s great men are permitted to be indecent. Indecent—Certainly that means not as decent as the good citizens and moralists. The Germans say, “Goethe was a great poet.” They knew he had vices but did not consider them.

The English say, “Byron was indecent, therefore he was not a great poet.”

Only in England could the repulsive moral preacher Kingsley create a household phrase about Heine.

“Do not speak of him. He was a wicked man!”

When no one listens, when people gather round to acknowledge the “indecent” English poet they love, the Englishman is finally compelled to speak and then he will lie. He does not give up on his hypocrisy. He says then, “After further examination he was not at all indecent but of high morals, completely pure and completely blameless!

This is why the English liar could not take it any more and vindicated Wilde’s honor with a Saul to Paul conversion. The same with Poe and Ingram’s reply to Griswold.

“Oh no, He did not really drink!”

The English have only now after all this time officially recognized that Edgar Allan Poe was a decent man!

We however, never make a big deal of middle class and moralistic purity. We love him even if he drank. Still more, we love him because he drank. Even though toxins destroyed his body, great art sprang out of his life’s blood, that was his gift. The layman does not determine how great art originates. It comes from out of the artist himself. No one is permitted a say in this or a derogatory judgement or cut-down.

Only the few whose insight perceives the creative process because they love him, only they are permitted to watch in silence, to comment.

Wilde related the fairy tale of the lovely rose created from the heart’s blood of a dead nightingale. The fallow student looked and wondered, never had he seen such a marvelous blood red rose. But he had no idea how it was created.

[i] The best English edition is by J.B. Lippincott Company in Philadelphia. A complete German edition (only the critical studies, humorous short stories and a few poems are not included) appeared by J.C.C. Bruns in Minden. Individual novels are in the Reclam and Meyer’s public library.

Intoxication and Art

Intoxication and Art

While I accept in general the position of scholars that the consumption of alcohol will cause a reduction of an individual’s abilities, possibly after a short spontaneous enhancement. I nevertheless assert that a narcotic induced intoxication can play an important part in artistic creation.

Van Bleuten framed the questions of his study like the clever judge who through cross-examination gets the answers that he wants to hear out of witnesses that are unskilled and not legally trained. If he had changed his questions just a little bit he would have received entirely accurate although contrary answers to his questionnaire.

But first it must be stated that his study is entirely worthless for scientific and statistical purposes. Many of his questions have no real value.

For example, Dr. M. Hirschfeld organized a study to determine sexual feelings of members of the Federation of Metal Workers and students of the Charlottenburger student body. Each respondent was given a card with questions on it. All they had to do was complete the questionnaire and throw it into the mailbox without naming names. It was estimated that due to the anonymity only 10% of the respondents treated it like a joke and gave worthless responses. It was allowed that the great majority answered truthfully.

It was known from the very beginning that van Bleuten would publish full names along with their responses. It was not a scientific study. Instead of going to the wide public the questions went to a group of writers whose position on the alcohol question was already known. Consider as well that there is hardly any other profession so much in the public eye and dependent on public opinion. It takes no prophet to know that these writers would answer the questions in a “politically correct” way to make a good impression.

You can not deny that the Temperance Movement has made extraordinary progress and likely belongs to our future-fortunately for our country! What a miracle it is then that the overwhelming majority of respondents answered in favor of it!

Unfortunately the Temperance Movement has smuggled in a bad companion across from England with it, one that has always been close on its heels, hypocrisy! Who wouldn’t like a count of the honorable, upstanding Temperance dignitaries that sit in the back rooms of TeaHouses in England and the States secretly guzzling their whiskey? They have long been the subjects of English cartoons and jokes. Certainly the open drunkard is more likeable than the hypocrite that preaches water and secretly drinks schnapps!

I would have never thought van Bleuten would bring the hypocrisy surrounding this public issue into his questions in such a frightening way. The plea for abstinence in several questions is only a grotesque joke.

For example when the extremely gifted poet of the cosmos, Paul Scheerbart, makes the phase:

“In my opinion there is no interaction between alcohol and poetry. But yes, the effect of alcohol does compromise poetry.”

This is the same foolish nonsense as when the poet designates himself in Furriers as the “Supreme Authority” of writers. It is a mockery of the question itself, but is not noticed. He has no idea of what goes on in the creative work of strong personalities or even of our best-known German comedians.

Another factor is that many serious constant drinkers cloaked themselves in the innocent mantle of Temperance and it became their garment as they answered the clever questions that van Bleuten supplied.

These questions were:

1  Do you regularly take alcohol in some form before artistic work and what effect do you ascribe to it?

2  If you don’t regularly take alcohol before artistic work, but have occasionally done so, did you observe an increase or inhibition in your work performance?

3  Your viewpoint on the alcohol question in general and especially your observations on the interaction between alcohol and poetry are valuable to us.

But alcohol is just one of many more or less used narcotics. If van Bleuten wanted to limit his questions to alcohol he should have at least asked the sub-question:

“In addition to or instead of alcohol do you make use of any other narcotic?”

Then for example it would be obvious that the responses of anti-alcohol respondents that were cocaine users would be worthless. A few respondents were aware of this deficiency in the questions. They spoke of their enjoyment of nicotine while still clinging to the narrow borders of the questions and considered themselves competent apostles of temperance.

It was almost laughable for the insider when one of the gentlemen, an outspoken morphine user, proudly wrapped himself in his toga and stormed against alcohol. When you have one hundred Marks it is the same whether you possess it in paper, gold, silver, nickel or copper. Likewise it is the same for the fact of intoxication, whether it is produced by alcohol, hashish, cocaine or mescaline. He should never have limited his questions to just alcohol, but attempted to answer the connection between narcotics and poetry with the understanding that stimulants like tea and coffee are also narcotics. The issue is not whether they are “Temperate” and abstain from alcohol but whether they abstain from any other narcotic as well!

I am convinced that the outcome would have been very different. Yes, perhaps if they were all honest they would have to concede that there is scarcely one writer that doesn’t use some stimulant, consciously or unconsciously.

Van Bleauten’s questions contain nothing about the difference between using narcotics as stimulants for artistic creation and how artistic works are created through the intoxication itself. Naturally the vast majority of respondents didn’t either.

Stimulants are now so extraordinarily diverse and intermixed so often that it seems almost impossible to note anything about their use. Alcohol can hardly even be considered.

Question 1 could be answered negatively by almost anyone. The rotten apples of Schiller, the tops of Wagner, Balzac’s dressing gown for Wilde, the violet paper of one, the cat on the writing desk of another, a bowl of mocha, Greek pottery, a bush of chrysanthemums- these and hundreds of other things are all stimulants. By themselves they have absolutely nothing to do with artistic creation. They are unique and it is seldom known how they evoke creative art out of the psyche.

But the majority of van Bleuten’s questions are framed in such a way that they are only related to the use of alcohol as a stimulant and therefore with good reason could be rejected. Anyone without a wine bottle near his inkstand could proudly answer the first question negatively.

Herbert Eulenberg writes with priceless humor:

“I never drink immediately before or during the work of alcohol.”

This is directly honest. It could be inserted into fifty other replies. In fact, the use of alcohol as a stimulant, or any other narcotic, is completely irrelevant. Its use in getting “there and back” awakens no more interest than the use of any other coincidental stimulant.

The question that counts is this:

“Can the intoxication induced by a narcotic help contribute to the creation of a work of art?”

I will answer that question here. It is not only capable of it, but can even under certain conditions spawn completely new works of art. I will prove that it is capable, that it is the “law of the artist” that the “alcohol question” only points at. It is a law like all the other customs and laws that govern the artist.

In general it is certain that an individual’s intelligence determines what he is able to accomplish in the state of ecstasy. It is precisely this state of ecstasy that is important, not whether it is achieved naturally or through the use of narcotics. If the creator of a magnificent work of art uses natural means to achieve ecstasy so much the better, but the grandeur of his work is no less if that is not the case. This remains true of most artistic creations.

The causes that bring about suitable conditions for artistic ecstasy are not as common as blackberries. The ecstatic inner experiences of every living person come less frequently as the person ages. The mature person is less capable of inducing an artistic ecstasy through natural means. The youth swims in ecstasy and passion but doesn’t know what to do with it. The mature person knows what to do but the ecstasy and passion may stay away for months and years at a time.

That is the truth behind these phrases:

“The passion of youth, the tranquility of age.”

“The average life of the talented artist: In youth, passion without skill. In old age, skill without passion and never a completed work of art!”

However, if the intoxication produced by a narcotic is capable of producing a suitable state of ecstasy under certain conditions, why not use it? Because it is not natural? Ice machines produce ice that is just as cold as the ice on frozen ponds. The value of a great work of art is completely independent of whether it was created out of the ecstasy of a great love or that of a wine bottle.

The real issue is whether this ecstasy remains unconscious or can be brought into consciousness and worked with, not if it was brought about naturally or artificially. A creation through intoxication is as difficult to put into words as a creation through the emotions of heartbreak and misery. But both intoxication and strong emotions are capable of vibrating the strings of the artist and perhaps occasionally producing a state of ecstasy.

This creation of a state of artistic ecstasy is always accompanied by a physical, thoroughly sober mental state. The most beautiful state of intoxication is not capable of bringing art out of a person that has none inside to begin with. You can take any person off the street and put him into the most beautiful hashish delirium and it will never result in the creation of a work of art unless they are painters, sculptors, poets or musicians in the first place. Such experiments with intoxication will be completely futile.

In any case the habitual use of any narcotic over a long period of time is to be avoided. In most cases the habitual user finds it increasingly more difficult to achieve the needed condition of ecstasy. This includes the habitual drinker, smoker, morphine user, cocaine user and hashish user. Opium alone appears to consistently lead to ecstasy. It is also the only narcotic not intended for artistic creation. Such use leads to only random and unpredictable results making it the narcotic of choice for pleasure instead.

The artistic process of working through intoxication and bringing art into conscious awareness is gained only later after both the intoxication and the emotions are gone. Short sentences, words and symbols written down while intoxicated are often enough to call up, even years later, the entire sequence of memories and images of the original experience. That is the moment when it can be fashioned into a work of art.

Here are a few ways the artist can work through intoxication to obtain material that can later be fashioned into works of valuable art.

Enhancement of memories, including the remembrance of early childhood. (Hashish)

Profusion of images, intense color scales. (Peyote)

Grotesque distortion of everything seen, chaotic emergence of new forms. (Muscarin)

Deep mood swings that last for weeks, division of the personality, living with two or more “I’s”.  (Hashish)

Inner rhythm, capturing the necessity of dance. (Kava Kava)

Unlimited refinement of all the senses, the process of spontaneous artistic creation. (Hashish)

Sculptural vision, incredible lust (Opium)

Postponement of the concept of time, flying (Henbane)

Etc. etc.

In general, immense treasure lies concealed within the narcotic for the artist. It is an almost untouched land of gold from which the wise and lucky finder can again and again fashion new works of art if they desire.

Admittedly the resources of intoxication in no way facilitate or help the conscious work of artistic creation. On the contrary, the subsequent work of the artist is generally much more difficult, often extremely difficult.

In conclusion the average writer or painter would not be able to fashion these bits and pieces of captured phrases and words into works of art. They would remain cryptic nonsense.

The man on the street says, “Art is not work, it is a pleasure!”

This is the most belittling lie ever invented by the rich, the experts and the great masses that thoughtlessly chatter about it without ever having experienced even a tinge of ecstasy, let alone created a work of art! This ecstasy is always an agony, a suffering; even when- in rare cases the basis of its production was a pleasure.

Intoxication is not some miraculous method that will allow anyone to quickly paint, compose or write magnificent works of art. On the contrary, bringing material out from the subconscious into consciousness and fashioning it into art is something that only a person of high intelligence combined with strong talent is capable of.