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The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe

The stories of Edgar Allan Poe's life are even more deranged than his horror tales, haunting you to the bone.
by

Timothy Schmidt

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe

The Life and Times of Mister
EDGAR ALLAN POE of Edgar Allan Poe The Eerie Childhood Edgar Allan Poe's memories of his childhood may have had a deep impact on Poe's overall career. Mr. Poe was born on January 19, 1809, the same year Abraham Lincoln arrived into the world, to David and Eliza Poe, both local actors in the area. His parents did not have much influence on the young Edgar, but his mother, a well-known actress with an enchanting voice, would walk along the seaside with the youthful Edgar. His father, although a very diligent and tenacious actor, did not ever acquire such fame. Unfortunately, he did not live with his parents for long, states the Poe Museum Organization. Poor Edgar and his mother were stranded by his alcoholic father to be left to fend for themselves, and soon after, his mother succumbed to tuberculosis, and sadly perished... ...and Poe was taken to the household of John and Frances Allan as an orphan, explains Karen E. Lange in her photobiography entitled Nevermore (1) . His sister is taken to the renowned family of the MacKenzies, never to see each other again. Edgar Allan Poe was a truly extraordinary personality, and although most of Poe's personal information has been confirmed by various primary documents, some of his reasoning for his odd decisions in life is still yet to be uncovered. http://www.eapoe.org/ Young Edgar’s world is devastated, and he has to work very diligently to return it. Although his parents probably do not have much influence on his life while he lived with them, the chances are the way they would leave him scarred Poe for the rest of his life and lead him to make decisions that would distinguish him as an interesting addition to the modern world of literature. The Interesting Education and Military Experience of Edgar Allan Poe Poe is regarded as a master of literature, and there is reason for this appraisal. Poe briefly attends the University of Virginia, surpassing his fellow students in Latin and French according to the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. Unfortunately, Poe acquired a great amount of gambling debt, and his foster father John refused to bail him out. These debts are said to be around $2,500 according to Arthur Hobson Quinn's "Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography" (109). Allan pulled him out of the University as a result. Following his discharge from the Virginia University, Poe enrolls in the U.S Army by the pseudonym of "Edgar A. Perry" claiming he is 22, where in fact he is just eighteen. After less than two years of his enrollment in the army, he was ejected simply because his father would give him only one-third the money needed for his attendance, infuriating Poe, according to the “Poe Stories” Website. Poe’s adult life was full of both struggle and achievement, writing a grand amount of to-be famous and grotesque literature. The Adult Life of Edgar Allan Poe The impoverished, adult Poe after the army started to write poems to publish, one of these pieces going so far as to winning a contest financed by the Saturday Visitor. Winning such contests helped him become the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, a periodical in Virginia. Poe likewise lived an significant yet humble life with a fervor for writing and poetry. During his time as editor, he makes the Messenger one of the most sought-after magazines in Virginia, creating dramatic stories and writing scorching book reviews. He develops an unparalleled reputation as a bold critic, but was disappointed at his low pay. He attempted to find other work, and he composed his sole novel in his career, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. He later moved to Philadelphia, PA to write in other various magazines, such as Burton’s and Graham’s, according to the Poe Museum. Despite his compositional achievements, Poe was still barely earning enough money to live as a writer. Poe’s life must have been filled with a passion for writing, but he also might have had wonderful relationships with other people. The Personal Life of Edgar Allan Poe Poe has supposedly tried to have a relationship with quite a few women, and his family has been presumed as an important influence in Poe's life, according to the Poe Museum. Poe married his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm on May 16, 1836 in Richmond Virginia (at the age of 27), according to the Poe Museum. He even wrote a poem about his marriage with Virginia entitled “Eulalie." Subsequent to Poe’s death and meager funeral, Poe’s “literary rival” Rufus Griswold is the one who created the terrifying story on his “real” life, giving a manipulative twist on Poe’s personality, according to the Poe Museum. He also dissembled Poe's original feelings and motives while creating new ones of propaganda. During his famous lectures in New York, his wife’s decline in health forced him to leave the city, overcome with despair, according to the Poe Museum. Sadly, his wife Virginia died at the age of only twenty-four on January 30, 1847, and this death most likely had an immense effect on the rest of Poe’s career. Poe was so traumatized, he didn’t even live that much longer after his wife died. Near the end of his life, Poe fell for ladies in Massachusetts during a lecture tour. The renowned author could not write for months following her tragic death. Devastated, Poe could not capture the hearts of Nancy Richmond, Sarah Helen Whitman, or even his first fiancée Elmira Royster on his trip. Edgar Allan Poe, however, was not the only famous author of the nineteenth century. Charles Darwin Charles Dickens Nathaniel Hawthorne Great Link: The Contemporaries of Edgar Allan Poe Poe was engulfed in the culture and influence of other prominent artists of his time, from both the United States and other countries around the world. The Distinguished Battle of the Alamo transpired around the period of time in which Poe marries his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia in Richmond, in the spring of 1836, the Texian Soldiers struggling to declare their independence from Mexico. Nathaniel Hawthorne was a prominent author of short stories living in Salem, Massachusetts creating a collection named Twice-Told Tales in 1837, when Poe moves to New York, according to the Poe Museum. The scientific sensation Charles Darwin composed his acclaimed record of his Journey on the HMS Beagle, changing the views of Human Evolution when Poe became the assistant editor of Burton's magazine in 1839. During the time period Poe published A Tell-Tale Heart, Poe and Charles Dickens met each other in Philadelphia in 1842. Shortly after, Charles Dickens published his well-recognized novel A Christmas Carol in 1843, explains the Poe Museum. Broadly, Poe lives among some of the most famous writers, authors and events of his time period, and he also became one of these distinguished heroes. http://www.poemuseum.org/life-timeline.php One Splendid Link: The "Fame and Fortune" of Edgar Allan Poe The Great Works of Edgar Allan Poe Poe’s works are not to be forgotten in history, and he will always be remembered as the genius of detection and horror stories. His story Murders in the Rue Morgue, released in April of 1841 by Graham’s Magazine, is criticized as Poe’s first detective story... ...but they “suggested to Poe that he attempt a story in which a crime is solved." The Tell-Tale Heart, published in January of 1843, and published by James Russell Lowell in The Pioneer, is sometimes referred to as his “companion” composition to his piece “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Many of his audiences take into account the fact that the narrator is describing his story in the past tense, commemorated as “an almost perfect illustration of Poe’s own theory of the short story, for every word contributes to the central effect” (394, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography). Poe’s third of his most honored pieces, The Raven, produced in January of 1845 by the New York Evening Mirror, is so popular he makes “Edgar Allan Poe” to become a household name. “So he chooses an effect which is universal in its appeal. He thinks deliberately of the most universal of all effects, and he decides it is Beauty, beauty of the soul” (441). This statement by Arthur Hobson Quinn in his biography Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography details Poe’s explanation for his decision behind this poem by saying that the human soul has a vast amount of control. A wonderful performance of The Raven by Vincent Price: Ultimately, bone-chilling account of “The Cask of Amontillado,” published in November of 1846 by Godey’s Lady’s Book, is a “powerful tale of revenge..." ...the audience for this narrative responds with great excitement, and remarks, “the interest of this tale lies in the implacable nature of the narrator” (500, Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography). This observation reflects that the critics for this story loved the suspense and detail of the plot and characters, for they can only look to the narrator for reference. The magnificent fictional accounts of Edgar Allan Poe bring compositional masters around the world to acknowledge Poe’s splendid art as the foundations of the definitions that the American People have come to known as the horror and detective stories. Poe’s intriguing short stories and poems fascinate readers across the country, and he will always remain in the minds of the horror and mystery aficionados. "The Raven" remains his most prominent work of art, according to the Poe Museum. According to Arthur Hobson Quinn in his biography Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (666), some of Poe’s most famed years as an author were when he was the editor of The Southern Literary Messenger, where he wrote some of the most esteemed poems and stories of literature. Berenise Morella Most of his readers did not really know Poe’s personality... ...but it was only until after his death when the rumors and later biography of Poe by Rufus Griswold Edgar changed the world's view on Poe forever. Poe is known as the “Father of the Detective Story” because of the plot, characters and suspenseful arrangement of his novels The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter, as stated by author Arthur Hobson Quinn (305: Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography). Although he wasn't necessarily the inventor of these twisting tales, his fluency in his books is unmatched. Mr. Poe has acquired unsurpassed stardom, however ironically, he is still just as impoverished towards his final years as he is in college, according to the Poe Museum. Edgar Allan Poe was a phenomenal author of blood-curdling and mystifying stories, but his ability to convey his thoughts and reports on the human mind soon came to a puzzling conclusion. The Strange Death of Edgar Allan Poe The death of Edgar Allan Poe baffles historians ever since the night of October 7, 1849. Poe grew up with his brother and parents perishing at a young age, and his foster parents and wife deceased out of the blue with great sorrow, and may have brought desolation to his life. According to the Poe Museum Organization, Poe was somehow desperately trying to marry a second wife, yet did not find great success, only claiming his engagement to his first love, Elmira Royster. Following his lecture in Lowell, Massachusetts, Poe headed on a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, yet he vanished sometime in his journey. Discovered in the street outside an improvised polling building, the Magazine Editor Joseph Snodgrass delivered Poe to the Washington College Hospital, according to the Poe Museum. Despondently, Edgar Allan Poe’s final days of his life were occupied in this foreign environment, encompassed by outsiders from afar. His actual cause of death is currently and may eternally be unknown, but there are multiple yet questionable theories regarding his death. As claimed by the letter from Joseph W. Walker to Joseph Snodgrass, a man in “great distress” who preferred the designation of Edgar A. Poe, was spotted at “Ryan’s Fourth Ward Polis”, and even stated that he needed the aid of Snodgrass himself (a letter from the Poe Museum). This was the first “verifiable evidence” of Poe’s discovery. Poe started to switch between multiple mental states of dementia, haphazardly hailing the name “Reynolds” on the fourth night at the hospital. Reynolds! Finally, after days of an uncontrollable condition of instability, Poe said a prayer at the dawn of October 7, 1849, with the simple words, “Lord, help my poor soul”, and died. This possible theory of epilepsy is not the only theory of Poe's death. Others believe that he could have been beaten, died of alcohol addiction, heart attack, toxic disorder or low blood pressure. According to Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography (642), Poe received hasty a funeral, and fewer than fifteen people attends on the chilly morning of October Ninth, 1849, for his dreary sendoff. Poe does, however, receive a more proper funeral on October 11 of 2009, marking the bicentennial of his birth, explains the Poe Museum. A false corpse was made, and was placed on the grounds of Westminster Hall in England with hundreds of attendants. The Poe Toaster was a mysterious figure originating in 1949 or earlier, rarely being made known to the public, who donates three roses and an un-filled bottle of Cognac at Poe’s grave, according to the Poe Society of Baltimore. Some people have even tried to imitate him. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes series, attributes Poe for the example of the plots of his various mystery stories. Poe Edgar Allan Poe still inspires future authors of horror and suspense as an idol, and will always be renowned for unlocking another key element in the human mind: the aspect of anticipation.
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