Edgar Allan Poe

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Gothic fiction, The Fall of the House of Usher Pages: 9 (2180 words) Published: August 30, 2013
Edgar12 Edgar Allan Poe

born January 19, 1809, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
died October 7, 1849, Baltimore, Maryland.

American short story writer, poet, novelist, essayist, editor, and critic, famous for his cultivation of mystery and the macabre.

The atmosphere in his tales of horror is unrivalled in American fiction, earning him, rightfully, the title of father of modern horror literature.

His tale "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) initiated the modern detective story.

His "The Raven" (1845) numbers among the best-known poems in the national (American) literature.

Regarded in literary histories and handbooks as:
* the architect of the modern short story,
* also the principal forerunner of the “art for art’s sake” movement in nineteenth-century European literature.


Poe was the son of professional actors who died before he was 3 years old, and he was raised in the home of John Allan (presumably his godfather), an exporter from Richmond, Virginia, who never legally adopted his foster son.

He was later taken to Scotland and England (1815–20), where he was given a classical education that was continued in Richmond.

He distinguished himself academically but was forced to leave after less than a year because of gambling debts and his guardian refused to let him continue.

Poe’s relationship with Allan disintegrated upon his return to Richmond in 1827, and soon after Poe left for Boston, where he enlisted in the army and also published his first poetry collection, Tamerlane, and Other Poems (1827).

Poverty forced him to join the army, but after the death of his foster mother, John Allan purchased his release from the army and helped him get an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Before going, Poe published a new volume at Baltimore, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829). Allan would neither provide him with sufficient funds to maintain himself as a cadet nor give the consent necessary to resign from the Academy, so he did everything he could to be expelled from the academy.

He went to New York City and brought out a volume of Poems, containing several masterpieces, some showing the influence of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

He then returned to Baltimore, where he lived at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm, and where he began to write stories. In 1833 his "MS. Found in a Bottle" won $50 from a Baltimore weekly, and by 1835 he was in Richmond as editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. There he made a name as a critical reviewer and married his young cousin Virginia Clemm, who was only 13.

Poe was dismissed from his job in Richmond, apparently for drinking, and went to New York City. He sank into gambling, dissipation, alcohol and laudanum abuse.

After his wife’s death from tuberculosis in 1847, Poe became involved in a number of romantic affairs. While he prepared for his second marriage that Poe, he arrived in Baltimore in late September of 1849 and on October 3, he was discovered in a state of semiconsciousness; he died four days later without regaining consciousness.

The outstanding fact in Poe's character is a strange duality. He was * gentle and devoted with those he loved,
* a sharp critic with others, who found him irritable and self-centred.

* Much of Poe's best work is concerned with terror and sadness, * in ordinary circumstances the he was a pleasant companion.

He was not a man of his time: Kenneth Silverman, a recent Poe biographer, observes:

“at a time when James Fenimore Cooper, Ralph Waldo Emerson [and others] were creating a feeling of space and self-reliant freedom, he was creating in his many accounts of persons bricked up in walls, hidden under floorboards, or jammed in chimneys a mythology of enclosure, constriction, and victimization.”

* a dissolute alcoholic,
* chronically short of money,
* irregular journalistic jobs to earn...
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