Edgar Allan Poe: Life and Works

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Short story, Tamerlane and Other Poems Pages: 7 (2901 words) Published: May 9, 2002
Edgar Allan Poe was a literary genius of his time. His works may seem eccentric but beneath the words and stories lies a solemn, alone boy whose only way of comfort and relief was through his pen. Of the critical reviews I have studied pertaining to Poe, never has such a varied difference of opinions been presented or suggested towards a writer. It is thought that his life had a major influence on his writing and by reading many of his pieces I agree with that statement. Edgar Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809 to actors Elisabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe Junior. Edgar had a brother Henry, who was a year older than him, and a younger sister, Rosalie. His mother and father separated a couple months after Rosalie's birth. When Edgar was two his mother passed away and a few weeks later his father died as well. As a result, Edgar and his siblings became separated. John Allan took in Edgar where he was christened as Edgar Allan Poe. Three years later the Allan's moved to England where he attended Manor House School for three years. Even though Edgar performed very well in school, he only seemed to remember his school days in London as lonely and unhappy. After three years, they returned to Virginia but Poe felt abandoned constantly. Mr. Allan was always busy with work and his wife was in a constant state of illness. The Allans never legally adopted Poe; resulting in many cards and greetings sent to the family that would fail to mention Edgar.

When Edgar was a teenager the Allans moved around frequently. In 1822, the family finally settled in Richmond, in a house rented from William Galt. Edgar continued with his education, and by the age of fourteen, he was attending the Academy of Joseph H. Clarke. He did very well academically and the academy not only encouraged his studies but nourished his gift for language. Poe excelled in Latin and French, and at age sixteen he wrote the poem "Oh Tempora! Oh Mores!" While at school Poe excelled at writing by authoring countless numbers of poems. My research indicates that Poe had the potential to publish a book of poetry. For reasons unknown the Academy of Joseph H. Clark was not receptive to this venture and persuaded Poe's stepfather not to entertain such notions. The school also brought out the athlete in Poe. He was a good runner, leaper, boxer, and swimmer and at age sixteen swam six miles in the James River.

Poe was in constant search of a maternal figure. When his family returned to Richmond he was known as Edgar Poe rather then Edgar Allan to put emphasis on the fact that he was not formally adopted. Edgar adored Fanny Allan, but her constant illnesses made her less than an ideal mother. When Edgar was fourteen he became infatuated with a fellow classmate's mother, Jane Stonard. Whenever he felt discouraged or unhappy he would visit her. He only knew her for a year when suddenly she died of tuberculosis. Edgar was notably affected by her death, and his behavior drastically changed. Conflicts arose at home which resulted in Edgar becoming sulky and ill tempered towards his family. Mr. Allan interpreted Edgar's bad mood as a sign of "thanklessness" for all he had done for Edgar. On March 26, 1825 William Galt, the owner of the Allan's house, died. The Allans inherited his estate, which equaled to an astounding sum of three fourths of a million dollars including the house and three land estates. Afterwards, John Allan bought a house called Moldavia, which was very impressive and appeared to more of an estate than a house. By this time, Edgar was now sixteen and a half years old. He had finished his early education and was now preparing for the university and his life.

In February of 1826, Edgar enrolled at the University of Virginia. Edgar had high ambitions in the area of languages. His courses included ancient and modern languages including the study of French, Italian, and Spanish. His ability to complete "precisely correct"...
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