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Biography of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849)

Best known for his poems and short fiction, Edgar Allan Poe, born in Boston Jan 19, 1809, died Oct 7, 1849 in Baltimore, deserves more credit than any other writer for the transformation of the short story from anecdote to art. He virtually created the detective story and perfected the psychological thriller. He also produced some of the most influential literary criticism of his time, important theoretical statements on poetry and the short story, and has had a worldwide influence on literature.

Early Life and Work
Poe's parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins, were touring actors; both died before he was 3 years old. He was taken into the home of JohnAllan, a prosperous merchant in Richmond, Va., and baptized Edgar Allan Poe. His childhood was uneventful, although he studied for 5 years (1815-20) in England.In 1826 he entered the University of Virginia but stayed for only a year. Although a good student, he ran up large gambling debts that Allan refused to pay. Allan prevented his return to the university and broke off Poe's engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster, his Richmond sweetheart. Lacking any means of support, Poe enlisted in the army. He had, however, already written and printed (at his own expense) his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), verses written in themanner of Byron.

Temporarily reconciled, Allan secured Poe's release from the army and his appointment to West Point but refused to provide financial support. After 6 months Poe apparently contrived to be dismissed from West Point for disobedience of orders. His fellow cadets, however, contributed the funds for the publication of Poems by Edgar A. Poe ... Second Edition (1831), actually a third edition - after Tamerlane and Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829). This volume contained the famous To Helen and Israfel, poems that show the restraint and the calculated musical effects of language that were to characterize his poetry.

Editorial Career
Poe next took up residence in Baltimore with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia, and turned to fiction as a way to support himself. In 1832 the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories - all comic or satiric - and in 1833, MS. Found in a Bottle won a $50 prize given by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond in 1835, and he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia, who was not yet 14 years old.

Poe published fiction, notably his most horrifying tale, Berenice, in the Messenger, but most of his contributions were serious, analytical, and critical reviews that earned him respect as a critic. He praised the young Dickens and a few other contemporaries but devoted most of his attention to devastating reviews of popular contemporary authors. His contributions undoubtedly increased the magazine's circulation, but they offended its owner, who also took exception to Poe's drinking. The January 1837 issue of the Messenger announced Poe's withdrawal as editor but also included the first installment of his long prose tale, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, five of his reviews, and two of his poems. This was to be the paradoxical pattern for Poe's career: success as an artist and editor but failure to satisfy his employers and to secure a livelihood.

First in New York City (1837), then in Philadelphia (1838-44), and again in New York (1844-49), Poe sought to establish himself as a force in literary journalism, but with only moderate success. He did succeed, however, in formulating influential literary theories and in demonstrating mastery of the forms he favored - highly musical poems and short prose narratives. Both forms, he argued, should aim at "a certain unique or single effect". His theory of short fiction is best exemplified in Ligeia (1838), the tale Poe considered his finest, and The Fall Of The House Of Usher (1839), which was to become one of his most famous stories. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) is sometimes considered the first detective story. Exemplary among his musical, mellifluous verses are The Raven (1845 )and The Bells (1849).

Virginia's death in January 1847 was a heavy blow, but Poe continued to write and lecture. In the summer of 1849 he revisited Richmond, lectured, and was accepted anew by the fiancee he had lost in 1826. After his return north he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. In a brief obituary the Baltimore Clipper reported that Poe had died of "congestion of the brain."

55 Poems written by Edgar Allan Poe

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | Page Views | Comments | [First Lines]

First LineComments
"Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce, Comments and analysis of An Enigma by Edgar Allan Poe 23 Comments
A dark unfathomed tide Comments and analysis of Imitation by Edgar Allan Poe 8 Comments
Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever! Comments and analysis of Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe 113 Comments
At midnight, in the month of June, Comments and analysis of The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe 35 Comments
At morn- at noon- at twilight dim- Comments and analysis of Hymn by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, Comments and analysis of To My Mother by Edgar Allan Poe 263 Comments
Beloved! amid the earnest woes
By a route obscure and lonely, Comments and analysis of Dreamland by Edgar Allan Poe 7 Comments
Dim vales- and shadowy floods- Comments and analysis of Fairy-Land by Edgar Allan Poe 60 Comments
Elizabeth, it surely is most fit Comments and analysis of Elizabeth by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes, Comments and analysis of A Valentine by Edgar Allan Poe 5 Comments
From childhood's hour I have not been Comments and analysis of Alone by Edgar Allan Poe 613 Comments
Gaily bedight, Comments and analysis of Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe 57 Comments
Helen, thy beauty is to me Comments and analysis of To Helen 1 by Edgar Allan Poe 314 Comments
How often we forget all time, when lone Comments and analysis of Stanzas by Edgar Allan Poe 255 Comments
How often we forget all time, when lone Comments and analysis of In Youth I have Known One by Edgar Allan Poe 1 Comment
I Comments and analysis of The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe 128 Comments
I dwelt alone
I SAW thee on thy bridal day - Comments and analysis of Song by Edgar Allan Poe 12 Comments
I saw thee once- once only- years ago: Comments and analysis of To Helen  2 by Edgar Allan Poe 40 Comments
I. Comments and analysis of In the Greenest of our Valleys by Edgar Allan Poe 61 Comments
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell Comments and analysis of Israfel by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
In spring of youth it was my lot Comments and analysis of The Lake. To-- by Edgar Allan Poe 21 Comments
In the greenest of our valleys Comments and analysis of The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe 8 Comments
In visions of the dark night Comments and analysis of A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe 40 Comments
It was many and many a year ago, Comments and analysis of Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe 128 Comments
Kind solace in a dying hour! Comments and analysis of Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe 1 Comment
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne Comments and analysis of The City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe 16 Comments
Lo! 'tis a gala night Comments and analysis of The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe 21 Comments
Not long ago, the writer of these lines,
O! I care not that my earthly lot Comments and analysis of To M-- by Edgar Allan Poe 4 Comments
Of all who hail thy presence as the morning- Comments and analysis of To M.L.S. by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream! Comments and analysis of Dreams by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments
Once it smiled a silent dell Comments and analysis of The Valley Of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe 91 Comments
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Comments and analysis of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe 520 Comments
PART I Comments and analysis of Al Aaraaf by Edgar Allan Poe 2 Comments
Romance, who loves to nod and sing Comments and analysis of Romance by Edgar Allan Poe 303 Comments
Sancta Maria! turn thine eyes -
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! Comments and analysis of Sonnet - To Science by Edgar Allan Poe 121 Comments
Seraph! thy memory is to me Comments and analysis of To One Departed by Edgar Allan Poe 11 Comments
So sweet the hour, so calm the time, Comments and analysis of Serenade by Edgar Allan Poe 704 Comments
Take this kiss upon the brow! Comments and analysis of A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe 754 Comments
Thank Heaven! the crisis- Comments and analysis of For Annie by Edgar Allan Poe 519 Comments
The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see Comments and analysis of To -- by Edgar Allan Poe 2 Comments
The happiest day- the happiest hour Comments and analysis of The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour by Edgar Allan Poe 458 Comments
The ring is on my hand, Comments and analysis of Bridal Ballad by Edgar Allan Poe 125 Comments
There are some qualities- some incorporate things, Comments and analysis of Sonnet- Silence by Edgar Allan Poe 26 Comments
Thou wast all that to me, love, Comments and analysis of To One In Paradise by Edgar Allan Poe 27 Comments
Thou wouldst be loved?- then let thy heart Comments and analysis of To F--S S. O--D by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments
Thy soul shall find itself alone Comments and analysis of Spirits Of The Dead by Edgar Allan Poe 300 Comments
Type of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary
Wreathed in myrtle, my sword I'll conceal
'Tis said that when
'Twas noontide of summer, Comments and analysis of Evening Star by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments

Books by Edgar Allan Poe
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