Edgar Allan Poe

American Poet and Author (1809-1849)

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Brief Biography

  • Poe was born in Boston to parents who were actors, but he was orphaned at the age of three when his mother died and his father abandoned the family.
  • He was separated from his siblings and sent to live with John and Frances Allan. They were wealthy and even though they didn't adopt Poe, they sent him to expensive private schools.
  • As a teenager, he often clashed with John Allan, who didn't want Poe to be a writer. Allan stopped supporting Poe with money, so Poe resorted to gambling to survive at university. He soon developed a gambling and drinking habit.
  • Poe began writing poetry but wasn't making any money, so he joined the US Army. He was dismissed from his position and went to live in Baltimore with his aunt and her daughter.
  • He continued writing poetry and mystery stories and was employed at a newspaper. During this time, he married his 13 year old cousin Virginia. When he lost his job for excessive drinking, it affected his mental state greatly.
  • He moved around, taking different newspaper jobs and continuing to publish his poems and stories. He also continued to drink, gamble and fight with his bosses.
  • Despite his writing becoming more and more popular, Poe experienced tragedy again when Virginia died from tuberculosis.
  • Poe's troubles were reflected in his writing, which focused more on mystery and horror themes.
  • In 1849 he re-connected with a childhood sweetheart, and they were engaged to be married, but shortly before the wedding he was found unconscious and died in hospital four days later. The cause of death was never confirmed.