Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe was a unique American writer. He had a dark and perplexing way of writing that appealed to readers. Even though a good number of people despised Poe with a passion, almost all who read his creations gave him credit for being a genius. Poe was known for being a poet, editor, literary critic, and American writer. He was also involved in the American Romantic Movement, but he is more known for his mysterious and gruesome tales. Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known works include the poems “To Helen”, “The Raven”, and “Annabel Lee”, the short stories of corruption and wrongdoings “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado” and the supernatural horror story “The Fall of the House of Usher” (Leary).

Poe was a fantastic author. He should be taught today in schools. The famous Edgar Allan Poe’s youth started on January 19th, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe’s Parents are Eliza and David Poe Jr. (“The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe”). He had one brother and one sister. His sister is Rosalie Poe and his brother is William Leonard Poe (“The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe”). He left Boston within 3 years of his parents’ deaths and moved to Richmond, Virginia. (Kennedy). John Allan, was a wealthy man and his wife Frances Allan took him in. When Poe was 6, he went to school in England for 5 years. He learned Latin and French, as well as math and history. Poe was sent to the best boarding schools (Wright). All in all Poe was a dedicated student.

Later in Poe’s life he also received an extra education to try and help get into the University of Virginia early. On February 4th, 1826, Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia. He was the 136th of 177. Poe excelled academically. Even when unprepared, he would get good grades because of his outstanding memory. Poe did very well in French and in Latin, and he was said to be excellent by both professors. He was elected to the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society and served as its Secretary pro tem (Giordano). After less than one year of school, however, he was forced to leave the university.

The money his stepfather had sent was insufficient despite his many attempts to get help. He had no other choice but to borrow credit from Charlottesville merchants. When this problem occurred he tried to earn money by gambling to try and keep up with his bills. Unfortunately, Poe was not lucky at all, and by the end of the ten-month session, he had owed a debt of over $2,000 (Giordano). He sent a letter to John Allan begging to help him with his financial problems but none came. Poe returned briefly to Richmond, but his relationship with Allan deteriorated. John Allan had shunned Poe. Later, Mrs. Allan died. John Allan died in 1834 and did not mention Edgar in his will. Before John Allan died, he tried to be friendly towards Edgar and signed Edgar’s application to West Point.

While waiting to enter West Point, Edgar lived with his grandmother and his aunt, Mrs. Clemm. Also, living there with him was his brother, Henry, and young cousin, Virginia (Giordano). Edgar went to West Point, which is a military academy. Poe passed his West Point entrance examinations easily but lied about his age a second time because the academy required that entering cadets be younger than twenty-one. Though he was actually twenty-one years and five months old, he gave his age as nineteen years, five months. Military Academy at West Point, an institution conspicuously absent from the list of top party schools. Poe tried hard to get kicked out of West Point, and in 1831, he succeeded (Wright).

There comes a time in everyone’s life where a job is needed. In 1835, Poe finally got a job as an editor of a newspaper because of a contest he won with his story, ‘The Manuscript Found in a Bottle’. He was the editor for the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe was very successful and managed the paper as well as increasing its publication from 500 to 3500 copies. In 1836 Poe left the paper once again because of low pay. (Kennedy). Edgar went to New York. He wrote ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym’ but he could not find any financial success. (Giordano).

He moved to Philadelphia in 1838, where he wrote ‘Ligeia’ and ‘The Haunted Palace’. His first short story, ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque’, was published in 1839. Poe received the copyright and 20 copies of the book, but no money (Giordano). Sometime in 1840, Edgar Poe joined George R. Graham as an editor for Graham’s Magazine. While working for Graham in those first two years he published his first detective story, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. In 1842 Pe left Grahams because he wanted to try to attempt to start his own magazine. When Poe failed to start his own magazine he found himself without a job. The Stylus which was another magazine Poe tried to start but failed (Giordano).

Poe published some short stories in 1843, but they did not sell well enough. One of Poe’s short stories won Poe 100 dollars. ‘The Gold Bug’ and a few other short stories Poe also sold to a magazine. Poe started to have money troubles, he barely had enough money to support him and Virginia. Mrs. Clemm had to help financially. In 1844, Poe moved back to New York. Even though ‘The Gold Bug’ had a circulation of around 300,000 copies, he could barely make a living (Giordano). In 1845, Edgar Poe became an editor for The Broadway Journal. About a year later, the Journal ran out of money and Poe no longer had a job (Giordano).

Edgar Allan Poe had lived in many places in his lifetime. Before Poe died, in the Fordham section of the Bronx, NY was the last place Poe lived. IN Bronx, NY, a few of Poe’s most famous poems are written here, such as “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells.” (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”). For about six years of Poe’s life, he and his wife Virginia lived in Virginia. Some of Poe’s productive work was written here. All of the following poems had been written in Philadelphia such as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”). Poe is originally from Boston but didn’t stay very long. After Poe’s father had abandoned him in 1810 and another tragedy happened. John and Frances Allan took Poe in. The house Poe grew up in as a boy is still standing to this day (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”).

As a boy, Poe lived in the Allan home in Richmond, Virginia on the west side of 14th street between Frank and Main (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”). After leaving West Point, a military academy. Poe lived at 203 Amity Street in Baltimore with his aunt and his wife. (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”). Later on in his life a few homes had been made by Poe in New York. Poe moved to Greenwich Village in 1844 at the corner of Cedar and Greenwich Street. Poe wrote a poem about the first ever balloon crossing of the Atlantic at that very location; this poem was “The Balloon Hoax” (“The Many Homes of Edgar Allan Poe”) (“Where Poe Lived and Why”).

The prominent author Edgar Allan Poe had self published books, but some of them did not get as popular as the other ones. Poe self-published his first book, Tamerlane, which was not very popular (“Edgar Allan Poe”). His second poetry collection, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems, was published in 1829 (“Edgar Allan Poe”). “The Raven”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Fall of the House of Usher” , ‘Metzengerstein’, ‘The Gold Bug’ are his most famous works (“Edgar Allan Poe ”).

Although Poe did not have very many friends. He was considered to be a loner. The people Poe did consider his friends inspired some of his greatest poems. Charles Dickens, a long-lost friend, inspired him after having a meeting with him, he then published one of his most famous poems, “The Raven.” Poe later told people that Charles was his inspiration. Dickens and his raven inspired Poe to write the most famous poem of his life, ‘The Raven,’ for which he will be remembered forevermore. (Kennedy). E.T.A. Hoffmann helped Poe influence German in his works (Kennedy). Poe was influenced by De Quincey to write his first fictional tale. Which is “The man of the Crowd.” (Kennedy). Poe wasn’t directly inspired by Elizabeth Bennet Browning. It was her poem “Lady Geraldine’s” that inspired Poe to write his romance poems (Kennedy).

Poe had many lovers but was only married one time. Poe had fallen in love with his cousin Virginia and must have made it known to his Aunt Maria(Giordano). Frances Sargent Osgood was one of Edgar Allan Poe’s girlfriends that many people got suspicious about. Poe and Osgood had been first introduced by Nathaniel Parker Willis in March 1845. Poe’s wife, Virginia, was not dead but was very ill. At this time Osgood and her husband had been separated but not divorced. Poe and Osgood had been attracted to each other but Poe and Osgood claimed to be just “friends’ ‘.

Virginia was not worried about the relationship between her husband and Osgood, in fact she approved of the relationship and would invite Osgood to their house. Poe’s wife thought that the friendship between the two had a “restraining” effect on her husband. Poe had given up drinking to impress Osgood. Virginia was aware that she was gonna die soon. It was possible that Virginia was looking for someone who could help Poe. As far as Osgood’s husband Samuel went, he did not object either and was aware of his wife’s reckless behavior. Although this was true, Osgood’s husband was innocent; he had a reputation of being a womanizer. Another poet Elizabeth F. Ellet, who Poe rejected, had been spreading rumors about Osgood and Poe’s so-called friendship.

Ellet was so outraged she even contacted Virginia. Fanny Fay, the third child of Osgood, had been accused of being Poe’s daughter by Ellet(Kenney). As an adolescent, Sarah Elimira Royster Shelton was another sweetheart of Poe’s. These two became engaged shortly before Poe passed away. Shelton was 15, but the relationship sadly ended because Shelton’s father interfered. Shelton ended up marrying Alexander B. Shelton two years later. In 1848, Poe and Shelton ran into each other and renewed the relationship.

Even though the two had just started dating again, Poe was pressuring Shelton into marrying him. Shelton was not sure if she wanted to go through with the marriage also her children were not happy with the arrangements. Poe and Shelton did not marry. Poe died not too long after that in October 1849. Poe pressured her to marry him, though she was hesitant and her children did not approve.(Girodano). Annie Richmond was another one. He had written intimate letters confessing his hopes and dark forebodings. In February, he wrote a “hop-frog” which appeared in a Boston weekly. He also published a poem “For Annie” dedicated to Mrs.Richmond (Kennedy).

Poe’s most known significant other was Virgina Clemm, and even though people questioned his loyalty to Virginia, she always held a special place in Poe’s heart. Virginia and Poe were first cousins. They got married when Vigiania was 13 and Poe was 27. Virginia and Poe did not live together constantly before the marriage they lived with each other off and on for several years. Edgar Allan Poe loved Virginia, but having kids was not in the books for them. However, it is said to be he had an affair with Frances Osgood and that he had a child with her. do not know if these allegations that Poe and Osgood are being accused of are true or not(“Edgar Allan Poe”).

The couple would move to help Poe with his employment. The two moved between Balitimore, Philadelphia and New York. After the wedding of the two, Poe was involved in a scandal with Osgood and Ellet. These claims against her husband affected Virginia so much that she told people Ellet murdered when on her deathbed. After her death, her body was eventually placed under the same memorial marker as her husband’s in Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland (Kennedy).

Edgar Allan Poe is known for his Gothic writing style. His style is created through his use of punctuation, sentence structure, word choice, tone, and figurative language. Punctuation-wise; dashes, exclamation marks, semicolons, and commas are a favorite of Poe. (Leary). For example, the raven personifies the feeling of intense grief and loss, while other symbols throughout the poem reinforce a melodramatic mood that emphasizes the main character’s grief, loss, and undying devotion, and the lingering grief that cannot be diminished. I think this provided a foundation for Poe’s writing. (Kennedy).

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is considered by some to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre(Leary). Poe is most famous for his dark and morbid themes, although he also wrote some lesser known light-hearted works. ( Leary). The lesser known light-hearted works are the Tell-Tale Heart. (Leary). Poe is famous for his tales of mystery and the macabre. He was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. (“Edgar Allan Poe’).

Edgar Allan Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields. J. Gerald Kennedy is Professor of English at Louisiana State University. He was a consultant and on-camera authority on Poe on the television special, ‘The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe,’ for the Arts & Entertainment cable channel. (“Poe’s Works”). From boyhood Poe aspired to be a poet. At the beginning of the 21 century, Poe was more popular than ever. The Raven and many more gothic detective short stories/poems are more known in the english language.

These poems had been the first works of literature and often what young adults read. However, Poe’s work was not famous in his time but more favorable in the last half of the twentieth century. New works in critics all find his work suggestive. Few of these critics are interested in making aesthetic judgments, however, and those who concern themselves with such things continue to express doubts about Poe’s achievement. He is one of those writers who are either loved or hated. (“Edgar Allan Poe”).

However, Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on American literature was nothing short of great. Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world. He is considered as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. He also influenced many great writers, among those William Faulkner and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Even though Poe is most often remembered for his short stories, he considered himself first and foremost a poet, and many of his poems have directly influenced American culture (Leary).

Like most great things, they all come to an end. Edgar Allan Poe died October 7, 1849. As you know, Poe wasn’t a very popular person, so he didn’t have a proper burial in the beginning. He finally got proper send off in Baltimore on Sunday. An elaborate funeral service was organized for Poe, whose original funeral was attended by only seven people. A life-size replica of Poe’s body went on display in a pine casket at the Poe House in Baltimore on Oct. 7 for visitors to pay their respects, according to Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe Museum. The casket was loaded onto an old-fashioned hearse and taken through the city to Westminster Burying Ground where the writer is buried (Leary).

The death of Poe has always remained a mystery. Everything that led up to Poe’s death is also uncertain. In Baltimore in October Poe was found being delirious. “in great distress, and … in need of immediate assistance’, according to Joseph W. Walker, the man who found him, Poe was taken to Washington College hospital. On Sunday October 7th at 5am Edgar Allan Poe had left this world. Poe was only 40 years old.

How Poe came to be in these conditions was never determined Poe himself didn’t even know. If anyone had anything that helped know how Poe died such as medical records or documents all of that is gone if it ever existed. The exact cause of Poe’s death was never determined. Hypoglycemia is one of the conspiracies of Poe’s death. Poe suffered from depression. Committing suicide is was an option for Poe. Poe also used drugs in 1848 he almost died overdosing on laudanum. This too might have been another suicide attempt and may haved been a mess up on Poe.Another theory is that Poe died of alcoholism. (Wright).

Behind every story Poe has written there is a meaningful reason as to why he wrote that particular poem. His work wasn’t boring and students will stay interested. All the gore and the mystery in his stories/poems keep you focused instead of just dozing off. Just because he wasn’t famous in his day doesn’t mean he can’t be famous in today’s time. Edgar Allan Poe has brought a whole new meaning to wicked and peculiar stories. Poe is a well-known author that will forever be remembered(Leary).


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Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/life-and-work-of-edgar-allan-poe/

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