Edgar Allen Poe

Kameron Selvig

Who Was Edgar Allen Poe?

Edgar Allen Poe was a writer who wrote many different kinds of writing such as short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. When his name is heard today, images of murderers, madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women risen from the dead come to mind. Poe was a successful writer of his time.

What was Poe's childhood like?

Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the second of three children. Within three years of Edgar's birth, both of his parents died and the Allen family took him in. Mr. Allen wanted Poe to be a businessman, but Poe was set on his dream of being a writer. By age 13, Poe had enough poetry to publish a book.

How big a part of his life was filled with sickness and death?

A very big part of Edgar's life had to do with sickness and death. His father died when he was very young, and his mother died of tuberculosis also when he was very young. After being taken in by the Allen family, his foster mother later died of tuberculosis as well. Later in his life, after marrying his wife named Virginia, she also died of tuberculosis. Poe faced many deaths in his life.

When did he publish his first written work?

Edgar Allen Poe published his first book in 1827 when he was 18 years old. The book was called Tamerlane and Other Poems.

What was his most significant work?

Poe's January 1845 publication of The Raven was a very significant writing because it made Poe a household name.The book made him famous enough to draw large crowds to his lectures and he began to demand better pay for his work.

What themes from his life are evident in his work?

The theme of death is shown in his work, connecting back to all the death Poe went through in his life. Also themes of misery and darkness were evident, again referring to his rough life filled with sickness and grief.

Why was his death such a mystery?

After his wife died in 1847, Poe's lifelong struggle with alcohol and depression worsened. He later returned to Richmond in 1849, and then set out for an editing job in Philadelphia. On the way, he stopped in Baltimore for unknown reasons. On October 3, 1849, he was found in a state of semi-consciousness. He died 4 days later in a hospital due to "acute congestion of the brain." Further investigation shows that he may have been suffering from rabies.

What was Edgar Allen Poe's influence on the world?

Poe's work as an editor, writer, and critic had a great impact on American literature. His stories mark him as an originator of both horror and detective fiction. Many people credit him as the "architect" of the modern short story. Edgar Allen Poe was one of the first critics to focus on the effect of style and structure in a literary work. Some writers such as Mallarme and Rimbaud called Poe a literary precursor. Poe is remembered as one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature.

What genre are his stories classified under?

Edgar Allen Poe's stories are classified under the horror/detective genre because of the reference to murders and madmen in his writings.