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Edgar Allan Poe: The Stephan King of His Day

Edgar Allan Poe's, The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe's, The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Early Life of Edgar Allan Poe

Poe was born in 1809 to David and Elizabeth Poe in Boston. Born simply Edgar Poe, he did not add the name Allan till later. Before Poe was even three years old, his father had abandoned the family, and his mother Elizabeth died of Tuberculous shortly thereafter, leaving him an orphan. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allen in Richmond, Virginia. His relationship with his stepmother was said to be solid but an argumentive one with his stepfather. Poe registered for college at the University of Virginia, and due to his gambling, his debt was increasing. His stepfather refused to pay his debt, and Poe dropped out of college.

He next enlisted in the U.S. Army under an alias, Edgar F. Perry then on to an appointment at U.S. Military at West Point. Poe realized he wanted no part of the military and deliberately managed to get court-martialed and thrown out of West Point for disobedience and rules breaking. After John Allan's death, his will left nothing to Edgar.

Poe Marries His Young Cousin

Poe went to stay with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter, Virginia, in Richmond. Before long, Poe and Virginia form a dubious relationship, and Poe marries his first cousin, Virginia Clemm, age thirteen in 1835. Back then, it was legal to marry first cousins. By 1841 Poe is working as an editor for Graham Magazine. Here he writes what is believed to be the first detective story, The Murder at The Rue Morgue.

By 1842, Virginia is taken seriously ill, and in 1844 Poe, Virginia, and her mother Maria leave for New York for fresh air with Poe nursing Virginia. At first, they board for a couple of years at the Brennan Farm, and here Poe pens The Raven. After it is published, Poe finally achieves instant success. They next rent a small cottage at Fordham, where Virginia dies in 1847, plunging Poe in deep depression.

Edgar and Virginia Poe

Edgar and Virginia Poe

First Detective Story by Edgar Allan Poe

First Detective Story by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe Struggles After Virginia's Death

Between Poe's dependence on opium and alcohol, he slips further and further into depression. Finally, two years after Virginia's death, Poe disappears under unusual circumstances. He is found battered and delirious and rushed to a hospital, where he died October 3, 1849. His cause of death is listed as "congestion of the brain." Rumors persist even today with various theories. Some say murder, suicide, drugs, rabies, or alcohol. Poe, Virginia, and Marie are all buried at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland. After his death, his rival Rufus Wilmont Griswold wrote his obituary casting Poe as a madman and a drunken drug-addicted writer.

With so much tragedy and personal losses in his life, it is no wonder his writings are full of sadness and horror. Was he a deranged madman or simply a genius? Certainly, darkness dominates his writings.

Edgar Allan Poe Grave Marker

Edgar Allan Poe Grave Marker

Some of Edgar Allan Poe's Best Works

Some of Poe's best works:

  • The Raven
  • Lenore
  • Annabell Lee
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • The Black Cat
  • The Fall of the House of Uster

There is a statue of Edgar Allan Poe in the Boston Common. Stephen Spielberg and Sir Conan Doyle both tribute Poe as making an impact on their own writings.

Is it any wonder that the NFL football team took the name The Baltimore Ravens as a tribute to their famous son of their city.

Both the Enoch Free Library and the George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland, hold many papers and mementos of Edgar Allan Poe.

Each year, the Mystery Writers of America give an award, The Edgar Award for Mystery.

Statue of Edgar Allan Poe Boston Common

Statue of Edgar Allan Poe Boston Common

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Poe and Commemorative U.S. tamp

Poe and Commemorative U.S. tamp


fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on May 19, 2021:

Thelma, I thank you for your visit. I appreciate it.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 19, 2021:

I have read The Raven and I was fascinated reading it that I memorised this poem ages ago. Thank you for sharing his life information on this article.

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 18, 2021:

I've read Edgar's Tales of Mystry and Imagination. I didn't know about his childhood. This I've come to know from your article.

I can imagine how difficult it was for him during his childhood days. Despite those obstacles of life he has left behind for us his immortal works.

Thank you.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 18, 2021:


Thanks for letting me know it was after his stepfather.

Here is the section where I saw it spelled differently.

Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allen

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 18, 2021:

I haven’t read much of Edgar Allan Poe’s work, but I’m hoping to explore more of it now that I’ve read your article. Thank you for sharing the information about the author’s life.

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on May 18, 2021:

Brenda, thanks for visiting. Poe added Allan after his stepfather. Perhaps I misspelled somewhere but it is Allan. I will check that out. Poe had such a tragic life.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 18, 2021:


This is an excellent article about Poe.

What is the reason he added Allan to his name?

I thought at first maybe because of his adoptive family but it's not spelled the same.

It is sad his wife ( first cousin) died at such a young age. That would have made her only 25.

Writers have a knack to write their best work from those feelings deep inside.

His work is excellent.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 18, 2021:

I use to have an Edgar Allen Poe book on his poems. They are grim, no doubt. This is an interesting article that covers his life very well.

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