Edgar Allen Poe
Who is Edgar Allen Poe? He was a 19th century American writer born to Elizabeth (‘betty’;) Arnold Hopkins and David Poe. (Internet source) Poe was an well-educated individual. He would attend a private school in London and then an academy in Richmond. Later being accepted to the University of Virginia, this however would not work out for him. He then would travel to Boston for work in which there would be none. Defeated he enlisted in the Army and soon regret the decision. Once out he would again try a military career, he was accepted to the U.S Military Academy. (Encyclopedia Britannica) This time he immediately regretting the decision. After his expulsion he entered a contest sponsored by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. His story ‘MS. Found in a Bottle’; ‘was considered to be the one of the world’s first science fiction stories, he won both the $50 prize and acclaim for its 24-year-old author.’; (Internet source) He would then work at several different editorials, none of which really worked out for him. His dream though would be to own a magazine or paper of his own. He would come close twice but never succeed in keeping them alive due to his different habits.
What made Edgar Allen Poe? Through his lifetime many different misfortunes and disasters would strike him. All of these would shape him and his writing to what we now associate as the father of modern diabolic fiction. (Internet source) The first of the tragedies to plague him would be the abandonment by his father. He would grow never knowing who his real father was. His father had left his family when Edgar was only an infant. The next misfortune would be the death of his mother when he was three. There was yet another factor that would shape him throughout his lifetime. He would also come how from his studies in England to find that his sweetheart from childhood was engaged. This caused him to write his first serious poem ‘Tamerlane’; out of heartbreak. His luck with women throughout his lifetime would be rather in the bottom end of the barrel. He would eventually marry Virginia Clemm, his thirteen-old cousin. He would later lose her to tuberculosis and stop writing for a while, only to concentrate on ‘Ulalume’; to express his mourn. He would try to remarry on two different occasions the first was ruined by rumor the second by his drinking habit.
How his habits effected his writing? Poe’s writing would be greatly influenced by the habits. The greatest of these that would eventually end his life would be his love for the drink. This would cost him many opportunities in life where he would waste away some of the greatest chances he had to be successful. His gambling debt of $2,000 (a small fortune in that day) and drinking would get him kicked out of the University of Virginia. He would also suffer a nervous breakdown on two different occasions. The first of which would come when he was trying to get out of the Army after enlisting. Another great opportunity that he ruined due to drinking was getting kicked out of the U.S Military Academy. To him it was not, he drank on purpose to get court marshaled out of the academy. A little while after he would start to experiment with opium. Then his drinking struck again he was dismissed from the South Liberty Messenger for repeated womanizing and drinking problems. This would not be the last time by far that something like this would happen. His job at Graham’s Magazine would end up being the same old story. It would even cost him his dream of owning his very own newspaper. The Broadway Journal would fold four month’s after he had resumed drinking again. He would then try again to own his own newspaper now titled ‘The Stylus’;. This adventure would end up in a nervous breakdown and even several attempts at suicide. Then eventually the inevitable occurred he killed himself one night in Baltimore after drinking to heavily. ‘The truth, one of America’s greatest writer was dead at the age of forty.’; (Internet source)
It seems as if the more problems an artist has the better his works are. The pain that Poe had to suffer was probably his best creative tool. That is probably why all his poems and stories are so dark and dreary. He really had two main types of tales the Grotesque and the Arabesque. The Grotesque was his humorous piece and the Arabesque was his horror stories. Some would argue that at times he was slightly romantic (with a satanic sort of twist). None the less his poems, stories, and tales all fell into different varieties. He was said to be the father of all diabolic fiction and the writer of the first science fiction story. The different categories that his writings fell into were Romanticism, Gothicism, symbolism Decadence, and Surrealism.
All in all what ever it was that sparked his creativity it worked. Whatever it was from his drinking problem to his lack of a family, he was one of the most creative writers in the nineteenth century. If it was not of that fateful day in Baltimore Oct. 7, 1849 where he went out with some friends, we would not have lost one of the greatest and most remembered American writers. As it was Edgar Allen Poe died at that age of forty in Baltimore.