My heart laid bare

Poe told us to expect [humiliation], too. When, near the end of his career, he laid out a formula for making great art, he said:

If any ambitious man have a fancy to revolutionize, at one effort, the universal world of human thought, human opinion, and human sentiment, the opportunity is his own—the road to immortal renown lies straight, open, and unencumbered before him. All that he has to do is to write and publish a very little book. Its title should be simple— a few plain words—“My Heart Laid Bare.”

There’s just one catch, Poe said: “this little book must be true to its title.” And that is why “no man ever will dare write it.”

“No man could write it, even if he dared,” Poe concluded. “The paper would shrivel and blaze at every touch of the fiery pen.”

Catherine Baab-Muguira, author of the fantastic Poe for Your Problems, in a post about Edgar Allen Poe and “Why you should aim for 100 humiliations a year.”



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