Edgar Allan Poe

On January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe's father and mother, both professional actors, died before the poet was three and John and Frances Allan raised him as a foster child in Richmond, Virginia. John Allan, a prosperous tobacco exporter, sent Poe to the best boarding schools and later to the University of Virginia, where Poe excelled academically. After less than one year of school, however, he was forced to leave the University when Allan refused to pay his gambling debts.

Poe returned briefly to Richmond, but his relationship with Allan deteriorated. In 1827, he moved to Boston and enlisted in the United States Army. His first collection of poems, Tamerlane, and Other Poems, was published that year. In 1829, he published a second collection entitled Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. Neither volume received significant critical or public attention. Following his Army service, Poe was admitted to the United States Military Academy, but he was again forced to leave for lack of financial support. He then moved into the home of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Poe began to sell short stories to magazines at around this time, and, in 1835, he became the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. He brought his aunt and twelve-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, with him to Richmond. He married Virginia in 1836. Over the next ten years, Poe would edit a number of literary journals including the Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and Graham's Magazine in Philadelphia and the Broadway Journal in New York City. It was during these years that he established himself as a poet, a short-story writer, and an editor. He published some of his best-known stories and poems including "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Raven." After Virginia's death from tuberculosis in 1847, Poe's life-long struggle with depression and alcoholism worsened. He returned briefly to Richmond in 1849 and then set out for an editing job in Philadelphia. For unknown reasons, he stopped in Baltimore. On October 3, 1849, he was found in a state of semi-consciousness. Poe died four days later of "acute congestion of the brain." Evidence by medical practitioners who re-opened the case has shown that Poe may have been suffering from Rabies.

Poe's work as an editor, a poet, and a critic had a profound impact on American and international literature. His stories mark him as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. Many anthologies credit him as the "architect" of the modern short story. He was also one of the first critics to focus primarily on the effect of the style and of the structure in a literary work; as such, he has been seen as a forerunner to the "art for art's sake" movement. French Symbolists such as Mallarmé and Rimbaud claimed him as a literary precursor. Baudelaire spent nearly fourteen years translating Poe into French. Today, Poe is remembered as one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature.



Poems found:
A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood's hour I have not been
An Acrostic by Edgar Allan Poe
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe
By a route obscure and lonely
El Dorado by Edgar Allan Poe
Gaily bedight, / A gallant knight,
Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe
Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Sonnet—Silence by Edgar Allan Poe
There are some qualities--some incorporate things
Sonnet—To Science by Edgar Allan Poe
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe
Thy soul shall find itself alone
The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe
Hear the sledges with the bells--
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe
In the greenest of our valleys
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
The Valley of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe
Once it smiled a silent dell
To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe
Helen, thy beauty is to me
To My Mother by Edgar Allan Poe
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above
Ulalume by Edgar Allan Poe
The skies they were ashen and sober

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