Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer. He is famous for writing horror stories and poems. His most famous poem is "The Raven." It is a poem telling a story of a man's mourning and loss, as well as mentioning demons and death. Other works include "The Tell-Tale Heart," The Black Cat," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Cask of Amontillado."
Early life[change | change source]
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 to two touring vaudeville actors, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins. David left the family under unknown circumstances while Poe was still an infant. When Poe was two his mother died of tuberculosis, leaving Edgar an orphan. The wealthy John Allan took Edgar into his home in Richmond, Virginia. In 1815, the Allan family moved to England where Poe went to an English private school. After five years, the family moved back to Richmond, Virginia.
After moving back to Virginia, Poe registered at the University of Virginia in 1826. While there, he lost a lot of money because of gambling, and he went into debt. John Allan became angry at the debt, and cut off all contact with Poe. In 1827, he published his first work, a collection of poetry named Tamerlane and Other Poems. Poe did not have his name published in the book and it was listed only "by a Bostonian."
Military life[change | change source]
Poe enlisted in the army. He used the name Edgar A. Perry and lied about his age. He was successful as a soldier and quickly became a sergeant major. While in the army his foster-mother Frances Allan died. Poe decided to attempt to rebuild his relationship with John Allan. Poe soon left the army and enrolled at West Point in New York state to study how to become an officer.
Poe did not enjoy his time at West Point and got very bored during the time he spent in the army so decided to get himself expelled in March 1831. At this point, John Allan disowned him. Poe was well-liked by other cadets who contributed money to pay for Poe to publish a book of his poems called Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. He soon moved to Baltimore, Maryland..
Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York[change | change source]
In Baltimore, Poe lived with his aunt, Maria Poe Clemm. She was the sister of Edgar's real father. Clemm also had a daughter named Virginia Clemm. Virginia also admired Poe very much. In 1836, when Virginia was thirteen, she married Poe.
Poe was writing a lot by this time. He sold his first short story in 1832. His writing did not earn very much money. He also worked as an editor for various magazines over the years, become very well known for his literary criticism. Poe also was drinking off and on during these years.
In 1842, while Poe was living with Clemm and Virginia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Virginia became sick with tuberculosis. The family moved to the New York City area in 1843 before settling in The Bronx. On January 29, 1845, Poe published his most famous poem, "The Raven", making him very popular. Virginia died a couple years later on January 30, 1847.
Death[change | change source]
Poe's death is very mysterious. On September 27 1849, Poe left Richmond after a short visit. It is unknown what happened to him until October 3, when he was discovered outside of Gunner's Hall by a man named Joseph W. Walker in Baltimore. He was taken to Washington College Hospital. While in the hospital he became delirious and started seeing hallucinations. He died on October 7 1849, in the hospital. Though it is not known what was his cause of death, there are several possible theories, including congestion of the brain, alcohol withdrawal, tuberculosis, and rabies.
Poe was buried in the grounds of the Westminster Church and Burying Ground after a small funeral with only a few people. On May 17, 1875, Poe was reburied at the front of the churchyard after a city-wide campaign to raise money to build a large monument. He is buried there alongside his wife Virginia, and Virginia's mother Maria Clemm.
Selected works[change | change source]
Short stories[change | change source]
- "Berenice" (1835) Horror story about obsession
- "The Black Cat" (1845) Horror story about a cat
- "The Cask of Amontillado" (1846) A story of revenge
- "A Descent Into The Maelström" (1845) Man vs. Nature, Adventure Story
- "Eleonora" (1841) A love story
- "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845) Talking with a dead man
- "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) An old house and its secrets
- "The Gold Bug" (1843) A search for pirate treasure
- "Hop-Frog" (1845) A midget seeks revenge
- "The Imp of the Perverse" (1845) Procrastination and confession
- "Ligeia" (1838) A haunting supernatural tale
- "The Man of the Crowd" (1845) How to follow someone
- "Manuscript Found in a Bottle" (1833) Adventure at sea
- "The Masque of the Red Death" (1842) The horror of the plague
- "Mesmeric Revelation" (1849) Conversation with a hypnotized dying man
- "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) A detective story
- "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" (1841) A comedy with a moral
- "The Oval Portrait" (1842) A tragic love story
- "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1842) A torture chamber
- "The Premature Burial" (1844) About being buried alive
- "The Purloined Letter" (1845) A detective story
- "Silence - A Fable" (1838) A dream
- "Some Words With a Mummy" (1845) A mummy speaks
- "The Spectacles" (1844) A comedy about love at first sight
- "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether" (1845) Inside an insane asylum
- "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843) A murderer's guilt