Saturday, November 23, 2013

Edgar Allen Poe

Pretty much everyone has heard of Edgar Allen Poe for his poetry like "Lenore" and "The Raven."  Poe's short stories like "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Masque of the Red Death" are well known too.  Here are a few facts about the first American to make writing a full-time career.

Edgar Poe (January 19, 1809-October 7, 1849) was born to Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and David Poe in Boston, MA.  He had a brother and a sister.  When Edgar was just a year old, his father left the family.  A year later, his mother died of tuberculosis. 

Left an orphan, Edgar went to live with John and Frances Valentine Allen.  The Allen's raised Edgar and gave him the name Edgar Allen Poe, but they never officially adopted him.

Poe joined the United States Army on May 27, 1827.  He lied and said his age was 22, but he was only 18.  In the same year, he published his first book of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems.  Eventually, Poe was discharged and went to West Point where he graduated on July 1, 1830.

Poe secretly married his cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm, when he was 26.  Virginia was 13, but their marriage certificate said she was 21.  During his lifetime, Poe was best known as a literary critic.

On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious.  He was hospitalized and ended up dying four days later.  His cause of death is still a mystery.

My favorite work of Poe's is "The Tell-Tale Heart."  What's yours? 


  1. Ooooo - wow. I knew his life was creepy, (had to be, right?) but you pulled out the creepiest bits, no doubt. What is my favorite Poe work? I don't know, I'll have to go back and read some now to decide!

    1. Yes, just goes to show you that writers can use their own experiences as ammunition. Though Poe is well-known for his Gothic literature, he really only wrote in that genre because it was so very popular at the time when he was writing.