Dénouement: the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work; the outcome of a complex sequence of events; the end result
Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its dénouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only with the dénouement constantly in view that we can give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention.
In 1846, a year after “The Raven” was published, Edgar Allan Poe wrote “The Philosophy of Composition”, a prose essay explaining his famous poem. A friend and former employer of Poe’s, George Rex Graham (who had declined to be the first to print “The Raven” — a poem he didn’t like — the previous year), would publish the essay in his April issue of Graham’s American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art.
There are some critics who contend that Poe’s essay is purely fictitious, meant to be nothing more than a piece of imaginative writing instead of a serious examination of his haunting poem. In my opinion, this idea is absolutely ludicrous. “The Philosophy of Composition” is a remarkable piece of literature revealing Poe’s carefully thought-out process of writing. It is an invaluable tool to writers, both professional and amateur alike. Why this essay isn’t a mandatory study in every high school English class in the world is beyond me. Continue reading