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Three Men, Three Different Views of Romance

06 Dec 2017Essay Samples


When we read the work of an author we are not only reading the words that he or she wrote but also the heart and soul of that author. Regardless of how they may try and remain objective we are closely tied to our feelings and emotions and regardless of how we try we cannot separate ourselves from them. They come through in the work of every author. Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving all made it into the realm of classic and enduring authors. Each of them has a style of his own however there are similarities to their ideas as well as differences. When it comes to the topic of romance their styles and inner feelings seem to have many things in common as well as things that are opposed. All three men view romance with a bit of skepticism but they are at different levels of mistrust in their writings, which is most likely influenced by their personal experiences and lives.

Irving is the man who seems to have the most belief and respect in the institution of the field of love and romance. We can see and hear it in his writings including the Cider House.

“There exists an important link between the two seemingly unrelated predilections illustrated here--the focus on fathers, present and absent, and the inclination toward selfconscious form--perhaps best explained in terms of the "family romance."

His novels usually have an underlying romantic notion or fantasy that we can create those that we love to be the types that we want them to be and if they are not going to measure up we can easily replace them, whether they are our father, mother sister brother or lover. His views seem to be more optimistic than the other two authors when it comes to the idea of romance in any form. However, while he seems more readily optimistic we also see an undercurrent of agreement with Poe and Hawthorne in that mistrust is just below the surface when it comes to accepting those that we love at face value (Shostak pp 129).

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the all time classic authors. He is and has been known for generations as the representative for moody, melancholy and depressed viewpoints in his work. When we compare Poe to Irving we soon discover that Irving held a much brighter belief and ideal in the arena of romance even when he was not happy with the fictional situation. He provided relief in the ability to change the facts and make them suit our need. Poe wrote his entire life about gloom doom and depression. When comparing him to Hawthorne there are many more similarities as they both seemed to scorn love and have a basic mistrust in the fact that a woman can be good and loving. However, they both wrote about women that are strong and resilient when it comes to societal norms while Irving chose a more accepted female traditional path (Columbia 154).

While Poe is actually most well known for his detective ventures, of which he is considered the father of the genre, he also wrote romance. He penned a poem titled the Romance in which many of his lost feelings and early rejections come forth in the fabric and underpinnings of the poem.

Poe had both parents die. His mother died during his birth and his father died before he turned three years old. He was adopted by a family and raised well however, his gambling and alcoholism caused a rift in the family when he became an adult and his relationship with his adoptive parents was harmed. He married a 13-year-old girl when he was in his late 20’s, which was telling of his emotional development when it came to love and romance. When he wrote of romance it often times seemed he was writing from the standpoint of a forlorn teenage rather than an adult who had some experience behind him (Columbia 154).

He and Irving and Hawthorne all differed here. Hawthorne who wrote The Scarlet Letter was bitter and it showed. His novel and other works were telling that he had little faith in the absolute ability to love openly and honestly while Irving seemed to believe it was possible and it showed in his work. Poe was the most immature romance writer if one looks solely on the attitude that came through in his works when they dealt with the topic of love or romance.


The three authors went on to become some of the most famous and classic authors in history. Hawthorne with his Scarlet Letter, Poe, with The Romance and Irving with Cider House have all attained a certain recognition as romance writers. While the three had a similar view about love in that it was important to write about they all chose different approaches and end results. These writings and underlying messages came from their personal lives, loves and beliefs. This is what makes an author unique and distinct from the others and it is what made them the great writers that they were.


  • Poe, Edgar Allan ( The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition ) ; 01-01-1993
  • Hawthorne Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter (1990)
  • Shostak, Debra, The family romances of John Irving.. Vol. 21, Essays in Literature, 03- 22-1994, pp 129(17). 

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