Edgar Allan Poe- notorious poet, author, and critic- was born on January 19th, 1809, in Massachusetts. Poe was born in Boston and left in the care of his godfather, John Allan, in Richmond, Virginia, after both of his parents passed away early in his youth. According to History.com, John Allan was a tobacco merchant with a thick pocketbook, but had a roller-coaster relationship with Poe. PoeMuseum.org explains that Allan did his best to raise Poe to become a “businessman and a Virginia gentleman,” but that Poe had bigger dreams of achieving success as a writer. In fact, by the time Poe reached the age of thirteen, he had enough poems written to publish his own book. Edgar Allan Poe left Allan’s home in Richmond, Virginia, to attend the University of Virginia in 1826.
John Allan sent Poe off to school with only a fraction of what Poe needed. Desperation set in and Poe turned to gambling to try to raise money for his studies. Although college students are usually tight on money, Poe’s poverty went a step further when he found himself having to burn his furniture to stay warm by the end of the first term. Dejected, Poe returned to Richmond only to find that his fiancee engaged another man while he was away. Rightly so, Poe was angry at the world and his relationship with John Allan deteriorated because of it. Poe stormed off in search of fame and adventure. Before enlisting in the United States Army, Poe published his first book, “Tamerlane.”
Poe’s life after the Army included tragedies, successes, and even more tragedies. He moved to Baltimore, his godfather died and left Poe out of his will, Poe won a writing contest for one of his short stories, and he began climbing the social latter. He gained popularity as a magazine editor, and was known for his “scathing book reviews.” He married his thirteen-year-old cousin, and the family was very happy together. He spent the middle of his life traveling around in search of better pay and more writing opportunities. It wasn’t until January of 1845 that Poe became a household name with the publication of his story, “The Raven.” In 1847, Poe’s beloved wife died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four, and Poe only lasted a few more years after her death. After he died his literary rival, Rufus Griswold, painted Poe as a mysterious, womanizing, alcohol-loving gambler who didn’t have any morals. Griswold was still upset about Poe’s harsh criticism of Griswold’s own literary work. Ultimately though, Griswold’s portrayal only catapulted Poe’s after-death sales higher.
Have you read any of Poe’s short stories? What do you think of Poe’s life? Share your thoughts and comments in the box below!
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