Edgar Allen Poe
Historical Figure Project by Jacob Hochfelder
"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."
- born January 19, 1809
- parents Elizabeth Hopkins and David Poe Jr.
- both parents were traveling stage actor
- David abandoned the family, and both parents were dead by the time Poe was 2
The Allan Family
- John and Frances Allan, a wealthy family from RIchmond
- never fully adopted Poe, but were his family
- changed Poe's name to Edgar Allan Poe
- John and Edgar had a difficult relationship, and fought frequently
- The Allan's paid for Poe to go to West Point, but Poe was discharged on purpose
- Edgar inherited none of the Allan's huge estate when they died
- Poe married his cousin, Virginia, in 1836, when she was 14
- he couldn't support her very well with his minimal income
- In 1842, Virginia started to show signs of tuberculosis
- in 1847, Virginia died of tuberculosis
The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe
A Different Time Period
Edgar Allan Poe in the 1960's
Had Poe been alive more than one hundred years after his life, he would have been much more successful. The American public had a much greater appreciation for the horror genre in the 1960's. Even though Edgar created horror, and most themes within it can be traced back to him, Poe didn't live to see his very different ideas become popular and mainstream. The classic scary movies, like Psycho (1960) or Rosemary's Baby (1968), have very similar themes, techniques, and styles that Poe employed in his writing. Both Poe's writing and classic horror movies take advantage of repetition as a means of building up suspense. Also, both refrain from giving the audience all of the details at once. The slow revelation of details is a typical technique that scary movies use to become scary, and Poe mastered this technique. Had Poe been alive to communicate with the growing film industry, he would have been able to share his terrifying ideas with more gruesome imagery than before. In fact, in the 60's alone, 12 movies premiered that were adaptions of Poe's poems and short stories, most notably House of Usher (1960) and Tales of Terror (1962). In short, the American public of the 1960's had a much greater appreciation for Poe than the American public of antebellum America.
Poe's American Experience
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