Al Aaraaf  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Al Aaraaf" is an early poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1829. It is based on stories from the Qur'an, and tells of the afterlife in a place called Al Aaraaf. At 422 lines, it is Poe's longest poem.

"Al Aaraaf", which Poe claimed to have written before he was 15, was first published as the major poem in Poe's 1829 collection Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. The book and "Al Aaraaf" in particular received mostly negative reviews for its complexity, obscure references, and odd structure. Some, however, noted the potential in the young poet, including John C. Neal, to whom Poe had shown "Al Aaraaf" prior to publication. Poe would later refer to Neal's response as the first words of encouragement he had received. Nevertheless, the negative response to "Al Aaraaf" may have inspired Poe's later poetic theory that poems should be kept short.

Years later, in 1845, Poe used "Al Aaraaf" to hoax members of the Boston literary circle during a reading. Poe claimed the poem was a new one and his audience was perplexed by it. He later claimed a Boston crowd did not deserve a new poem. He held a strong dislike for New England poets and the New England-based Transcendental movement and hoped by presenting a poem he had written in his youth would prove Bostonians did not know good literature.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Al Aaraaf" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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