Olivia Cantadori ‘23
History of Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allen Poe’s tales of horror and mystery have dominated the genre for decades, becoming staples of the Halloween season. “The Tell-Tale Heart” has had countless musical and artistic adaptations and his poem, “The Raven,” has influenced pop culture both on screen and in art. His works other have impacted writers and poets worldwide, yet few people know about Poe’s own peculiar life.
Poe was born in Boston, Mass. on Jan 19,1809 to an actress and an actor from Baltimore; when he was three, both of his parents died.
He was put into the care of his godfather John Allan and his wife in Richmond, who gave Poe a standard education before he attended the University of Virginia.
Matters went from bad to worse upon his return to Richmond, where he found his sweetheart engaged to someone else.
Poe promptly moved to Boston and soon published a volume of poems. Poverty drove him to the army under the name Edgar A. Perry. He entered a military academy, but was later expelled. Upon leaving the academy, Poe published another volume, titled “Poems,” which showcased some of his masterpieces. He returned to Baltimore and became the editor of the “Southern Literary Messenger.” He proceeded to marry his cousin, Virginia Clemm.
In his lifetime Poe wrote approximately seventy tales and around eighty poems, though no one is sure of the exact number.
Poe had a drinking problem, frequently being spotted publicly intoxicated. During this time, he became co-editor of “Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine” and wrote many short stories such as “The Fall of The House of Usher.”
Poe died on Oct. 3, 1849 at just 40 years old. The drinking is what is rumored to have led to his death.
On Oct. 3 1849, Poe entered a tavern in Baltimore nearly unconscious. He was soon admitted into a hospital in a fit of hallucinations and died on Oct. 7.
Poe’s funeral was a cold one, executed quickly and with only seven mourners.
Years later, the poet and author earned a proper burial in Baltimore, which, with the money raised from students and teachers, was adorned with a monument, 26 years after his death.
Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, et al. “Edgar Allan Poe.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 3 Oct. 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/Edgar-Allan-Poe.
Semtner, Christopher P. “13 Haunting Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s Death.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 3 Oct. 2019, www.biography.com/news/edgar-allan-poe-death-facts.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” FAQs | Edgar Allan Poe Museum, www.poemuseum.org/faqs.