Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusets, January 19, 1809. His parents were touring actors, and they both died before Poe was three years old. After their death, Poe was taken in by a wealthy merchant named John Allan in Richmond, Virginia. There he was baptised Edgar Allan Poe. From 1815 to 1820, Poe studied in England. Later, in 1826, he went to the University of Virginia, where he stayed for a year. Poe owed a large gambling debt, but Allan refused to pay it and consequently, prevented Poe’s return to the university. Allan also broke off Poe’s engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster. After leaving the university, Poe enlisted in the army as a means of support. In 1827, Poe had his first book, Tamerlane And Other Poems, published at his own expense. Although he refused to provide financial support, Allan arranged Poe’s release from the army, and had him appointed to West Point. Poe was dismissed after only six months for disobeying orders, but his fellow cadets gave Poe the money for his second publication. Poems by Edgar A. Poe — Second Edition was published in 1831, although in 1829 another edition of Tamerlane and minor poems had been published, actually making it a third edition. In this book were the poems To Helen and Israfel, which later became famous. These two poems show Poe’s use of language in a musical way, which makes his poetry stand out from all other.
Poe moved in with his aunt and cousin, Maria and Virginia Clemm, in Baltimore. Using fiction as a means of support, five of his stories were published in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier in 1832. In 1833 he won a fifty-dollar prize from the Baltimore Saturday Visitor with his short story M.S. Found In A Bottle. In 1835, Poe, his aunt, and Virginia, moved to Richmond where he married Virginia. She wasn’t even fourteen when they married. Poe became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, and published many criticisms and reviews. He also published his short story, Bernice, which is known as his most horrific work. He earned great respect as a critic and wrote reviews about many of his contemporaries. Although he was extremely critical of most, he praised a few authors, such as Charles Dickens. Poe’s work made the publication very popular, but the magazine’s owner found his work offensive. Poe also had a drinking problem, which earned him disfavor with his employer. In January of 1837 Poe withdrew as editor of the Messenger, however, the issue announcing his departure also contained five of his reviews, two of his poems, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Poe’s career as an artist was successful, but his employers only found in him dissatisfaction. Trying to make himself known in the world of literary journalism,Poe moved to New York City in 1837 and to Philadelphia in 1838 and back to New York in 1844. At that he only had little success, but he did establish himself as the inventor of the detective story with his works The Murders In The Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, and The Mystery of Marie Roget. Poe mastered the art of musically flowing language evident in all his poems and very noticable in The Raven. His literary theories have remained very influencial in both short prose and poetry, and he states that both should have “a certain unique or single effect.” Of all his tales Poe considered Ligeia to be his best, yet “The Pit and the Pendelum”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, and “The Masque of the Red Death” have come to be his most popular.
Poe was devastated with the death of Virginia in January of 1847, yet he continued his work. He revisited Richmond in 1849 where he lectured, and met again his former bride-to-be which had been taken away from him in 1826. In 1849 he was found unconscious on a street in Baltimore. His obituary in the Baltimore Clipper said that he had died of “congestion of the brain.”He was thought to be crazy, maybe he was, we will never know how Poe really died. He probably wanted it to be a mystery. Get it, mystery?
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