Edgar Allan Poe

the Tale of a Miserable Poet

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Edgar Allan Poe was a poet and writer unlike most.

He wrote about mayhem, murder, and madness. He is seen as the inventor of mysteries.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.

Died in Baltimore, Maryland on October 7, 1849.

He was only 40 years old.

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Edgar Allan Poe was a very sad, mysterious, unlucky man. Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston Massachusetts. His dad left him and his family at a young age, leaving his mother to support 3 children on her own. Poe only knew his mother for the first 3 years of his life, before he watched his mother cough up blood and waste away, dying of tuberculosis. Young Poe sat in a room with his dead mother's body for a few days before they came and took it away. Leaving poor little Poe scarred for life. After that Poe slept with the blankets over his head, living in constant fear that a dead person would come and take him in the night. Poe was an abandoned orphan, taken away from his brother and sister and put into a foster home. He was raised by Fanny and John Allan. John Allen did not like Poe, but Fanny adored him, so they kept him. When Poe was 15 his first girlfriend died of tuberculosis. He had went to college, dropped out, joined the army, dropped out, and published his first book of poems; all by the age of 20.

Then, just Poe’s luck, his stepmom (Fanny) got tuberculosis, coughed up blood, and dropped dead. And since John didn’t like Poe, and now he had no reason to let him stay, he told Poe to leave. Poe then found his older brother, Henry, and they reconnected. Then, Henry got tuberculosis and died.

Poe then moved in with his aunt and first cousin Virginia. Virginia and Poe fell in love and got married (acceptable in his time). Virginia then died. Of tuberculosis.

So Poe had more than his fair share of bad luck. Poe used poetry to express his sorrow. His poem “The Raven” was published in The Evening Mirror, in 1845. It became an instant hit. It made Poe a celebrity, a lot of fame, but no fortune. He was paid pretty much nothing and since there were no copyright laws, people could claim his writings as their own. He was paid only $300 throughout his whole life. He was reduced to begging for help, sometimes writing letters to, very, distant relatives.

Through all the bad times, he never stopped writing. But, he did try to escape by drinking. When he walked into a room, he was expected to be drunk. He’d wander the streets looking disheveled, and drunk. He couldn't keep a job, or a relationship, because, I mean come on, being drunk doesn't make you any more attractive. He had written to his aunt, saying “My life seems wasted -- the future looks a dreary blank,”.

He moved to New York City, desperate for work. He first landed in Baltimore, where he lost his luggage and accidentally took someone else’s cane. Poe vanished for 6 days. No record saying where he was or what he was doing. He just fell off the face of the Earth for 6 days. Which was rare for a famous man.

On election day, Poe appeared in “Ryan’s 4th Ward Polls” in Baltimore, it was used as a place to hold elections. He was found drunk. and wearing someone else’s dirty clothing, inside out and backwards. 2 of his distant relatives found him and dropped him off at the hospital so he could sleep in the drunk ward.

The next day he was jumpy and agitated. He was talking gibberish, so people thought he was still drunk. Throughout the night he became less erratic, but still not making sense. He should’ve sobered up but didn't, doctors offered him water but he refused.

The next day he woke up delirious and began yelling “Reynolds.” until 3:00 the next morning. Poe died on October 7th, 1849, only 40 years old. The cause, they said, was “congestion of the brain,” which was a common medical phrase that didn't explain anything.

Throughout the years people assumed it was alcohol poisoning. But still drunk after 4 days? Records show that Poe hadn't had a drink of alcohol for 6 months, and the four days he was in the hospital. Not drinking a single drop? Didn't add up. Doctors reexamined his medical records. They found that it was quite possible he could have been bitten by a rabid animal. He was showing symptoms delirious with tremors and hallucinations. He had slipped into a coma, and when he came out of it he was calm and lucid, then he went into a hallucinating state, and shouting at imaginary people. He refused water from the doctors and when forced, had trouble drinking it. That is a symptom of Hydrophobia, which is a fear of water and is a common symptom of Rabies. It was thought that Poe was in an election scheme, where people would go and vote, then go change and come back and vote again so that their choice was sure to win, and got bit by a rabid animal (dog, raccoon, another person) on the way back to his Hotel.

Medicine and Technology

In Poe's time the main medicines used were pain killers and tranquilizers. Since it was an older time, they didn't have access or knowledge of many medicines and had little to no technology.
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The Significance of Poe

The reason Poe is so famous, so significant, is because he was the first writer of his time, and history, to write mysteries, and stories and dark poems. He is seen as the founder of american fiction. He is said to have changed the history of fiction writing. Poe is the reason we have fiction, mysteries, dark books and stories.
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How Poe Died

It is some what of a mystery of how Poe died. He was thought to have died from alcohol poisoning. But later it was shown that he showed more signs of Rabies. Though we aren't certain, it is more likely he had contracted rabies from a stray animal.
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Rabies Treated Today

To treat Rabies, clean the wound with soap and water very well. Get professional help immediately, they can clean the wound well and take out any foreign objects. Animals wounds shouldn't be stitched up, so the patient will be given a preventive vaccine 5 times a day for 28 days. A majority of patients are also given human rabies immunoglobulin, it's given the same day the patient was bit.

You should call your doctor right after you get bit or after you've been exposed to Bats, Foxes, and Skunks, in case they have rabies. Even if you weren't bit, you should still call your doctor in case of a possible bite. Treatment and Immunization for a possible bite and/or exposure should be done for 14 days. At least.

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Interesting Facts

It’s interesting, to me, to know that this man came up with some of the most famous poems and stories in his time, and they are still famous today. To think of how he came up with his ideas for writing and how he could put it down on paper so beautifully. What was going on in his head while writing them? What was he thinking about while he was writing? And how he thought of his ideas? What gave him inspiration for those twisted poems and mysterious stories? It's very interesting to think about and try to get an idea of that. He was a mystery that no one fully understood.

Another interesting thing is that we have so many ideas on how Poe could have died, but none of them are 100% proven. It’s still a mystery to us and it will remain that way for a long time. Poe was mysterious, in life and even more so in death. And that, in my opinion, is pretty fascinating.

How They Croaked Vocabulary

  1. Pendulum (Georgia, 109): P.O.S: Noun, Origin: Latin, Definition: a body so suspended from a fixed point as to move to and fro by the action of gravity and acquired momentum. Sentence: Poe wrote many poems, such as "The Raven," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Pit and the Pendulum,".
  2. Agony (Georgia, 109): P.O.S: Plural Noun. Origin: Middle English, Definition: Extreme and prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering. Sentence: Poe's misery and agony is why he wrote, to vent his feelings.
  3. Reduced (Georgia, 111): P.O.S: Verb, Origin: Latin, Definition: To lower the rank or status of; demote. Sentence: Poe was reduced to begging for money, because writing didn't pay much then.
  4. Miraculously (Georgia, 111): P.O.S: Adj. Origin: Medieval Latin, Definition: Of the nature of a miracle; Marvelous; Surprising. Sentence: Poe had a hard life, but he miraculously kept writing.
  5. Realm (Georgia, 113): P.O.S: Noun, Origin: Middle English, Definition: The region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails or dominates. Sentence: When Poe died he took his place in the realm of death.