Edgar Allen Poe: The Story Within

By: Sanaa El Chami

Edgar Allen Poe: Death and Birth

Edgar Allen Poe Was born on January 19th, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts from Eliza Poe, and David Poe Jr. And at the age of just 3 years old, that same year both his parents pass away. Although not sure, scientists do not exactly know how Poe passed away. But some say it was from a Brain Tumor, but we are still not sure. He died on October 7th, 1849, in Baltimore, Maryland. Poe had addictions to pills and drugs such as alcohol. People say that those addictions caused his death.
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Childhood and Family

Poe never really knew his parents. His parents were traveling actors. The family was dirt poor. By 1811, his father had abandoned the family, leaving Elizabeth Poe alone with two-year-old Edgar, his elder brother Henry, and his infant sister Rosalie. And things soon got worse. On 8 December 1811, Elizabeth Poe died of Tuberculosis in Richmond, Virginia. News soon arrived that David Poe had also died of the same disease, within days of his estranged wife. So he had to live with some one else. The three Poe children were split up. Henry went off to live with his paternal grandparents. Rosalie was adopted by the Mackenzie family of Richmond. So he decided to go live with John and Francis Allen, both tobacco merchants in Richmond, Virginia. He and Francis seemed to create a bond, but he never meshed with John. Preferring poetry over profits, Poe reportedly wrote poems on the back of some of the Allen's business papers.

His Education

Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia in 1826, less than a year after the school founded by Thomas Jefferson first opened its doors to students. "In 1825 went to the Jefferson University at Charlottesville, Va.," Poe later wrote, "where for 3 years I led a very dissipated life — the college at that period being shamefully dissolute. In typical fashion, Poe intentionally misstated both the date of his enrollment and the length of time he was at college. In reality, Poe was a good student with a bad gambling problem. By the end of his first semester he had run up a $2,000 debt, which John Allan refused to pay. Poe ditched both the Allan's and Virginia, and headed north to live with relatives in Baltimore.In 1827, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name "Edgar A. Perry." He did well as a soldier, rising to the rank of sergeant major. He also continued to write. A book of his poetry was published anonymously (the author being listed only as "A Bostonian"). In April 1829, he entered the U.S Military Academy West Point. A few months later, he published his second book of poetry, Al Aaraaf,Tamerlane and other poems.
Poe soon realized that West Point wasn't for him. He decided to get himself kicked out of school, which he successfully accomplished by refusing to attend chapel or classes. He was court-martial-ed and dismissed. "The army does not suit a poor man — so I left West Point abruptly," he later wrote, "and threw myself upon literature as a resource. I became first known to the literary world thus." Poe published several anonymous short stories plus another book of poems. Almost immediately after he left West Point, his brother Henry died of Tuberculosis.

Important Life Events

1. A fifteen-year-old Edgar Allan Poe pens his first known poem: "Last night, with many cares & toils oppress,/ Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest."

2. Poe takes a job as editor of the Southern Literary Messenger magazine. He publishes critical reviews of other writers' work as well as his own stories and poems.

3. Poe—now 27 years old—marries his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm at a ceremony in Richmond, Virginia.

4. Poe begins as an editor at Graham's Magazine, where he works until May 1842. The magazine runs Poe's short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," the first-ever entry in a genre now known as the detective story.

5. While singing at the piano, Virginia begins to bleed from her mouth, a symptom of untreated tuberculosis. Her illness grows progressively worse.


Poe's wife Virginia dies of tuberculosis at their home in the Bronx. Poe has been so despondent during the final months of her illness that friends thought he was going insane. The loss of his wife sends Poe into a downward spiral of alcoholism.

Contributes to Change

Poe was the father of the modern-day detective story and also the short story. He also wrote primarily of the macabre and introduced his readers to ambiguity of the characters and places so they would focus on the plot and theme. Changed the way horror was seen through him, and how it was written.

Intresting Facts

1. Edgar was very obsessed with cats. So, when he wrote a poem, he always had a cat on his shoulder or lap to help him write.

2. When he made the name The Raven, for his book, he almost did The Parrot, but thought it didn't fit the book.

3. When he entered the army, his name was actually different. He went as Edgar Allen Perry.