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  • 1/17/2004

Edgar Allan Poe

(January 19,1809 -October 7,1849)

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his poems and short fiction. Moreover, he was the father of the modern mystery. Additionally, Poe has had a worldwide influence on literature. Poe was born in BostonJanuary 19, 1809 and diedOctober 7, 1849 in Baltimore. Poe's parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins died before he was 3 years old. He was taken into the home of John Allan, and baptized Edgar Allan Poe. Form 1815 to 1820 he studied in England. Six year later, he entered theUniversity of Virginia, where he studied for a year.
While in the University, he ran up large gambling debts. To punish Pow, Allan prevented his return to the university and broke off Poe's engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster. Next, Poe enlisted in the army. By this time, he had already written and printed his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems.
After 6 months Poe was dismissed fromWest Point for disobedience of orders. Yet, in 1831, his fellow cadets, contributed the funds for the publication of Poems by Edgar A. Poe ... Second Edition. Poe's first love was poetry, but he was unable to make a living at it at first.
After the army, Poe moved in Baltimore with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter, Virginia. While there, he turned to fiction as a way to make a living. In 1832 the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories - all comic or satiric. In 1835, Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond. There, he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia, who was 13 years old. His marriage forced him to find a way to earn money. When the editor of the Messenger offered employment, Poe accepted.
At the Messenger, Poe was an editor and a contributor. In early 1836, Poe was credited with about 85 reviews, six poems, four essays, and three stories. He also wrote numerous editorials, and commentaries. Without a doubt, his contributions increased the magazine's circulation. Unfortunately, they offended its owner. The January 1837 issue of the Messenger announced Poe's withdrawal as editor. Poe attempted to establish a reputation in literary journalism inNew York City (1837), then inPhiladelphia (1838-44), and again inNew York (1844-49).
In February 1847, Poe's young wife died of consumption. Virginia's death in January 1847 was a heavy blow to Poe. After Virginia's death, Poe's life was falling apart. He suffered through a suicide attempt, several failed romances, and a long battle with alcoholism and depression.
He was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. Poe died at the age of 40 in October 1849. In a brief obituary the Baltimore Clipper reported that Poe had died of "congestion of the brain."  Notable worksPoems

·     "The Raven"

·     "Annabel Lee"

·     "The Bells"

·     "Lenore"

·     "Ulalume"


·     Auguste Dupin:

o    "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"

o    "The Balloon-Hoax"

o    "The Purloined Letter"

o    "The Mystery of Marie Roget"

·     "The Devil in the Belfry"

·     "The Fall of the House of Usher"

·     "The Pit and the Pendulum"

·     "The Black Cat"

·     "The Tell-Tale Heart"

·     "The Masque of the Red Death"

·     "A Descent into the Maelstrom"

·     "The Gold Bug"

·     "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdimar"

·     "The Cask of Amontillado" (seeCrime fiction for a discussion)


The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

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