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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


Page ViewsPoemComments
37347 Annabel Lee Comments and analysis of Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe 128 Comments
33713 Song Comments and analysis of Song by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
33555 Eldorado Comments and analysis of Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe 57 Comments
22950 The Bells Comments and analysis of The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe 128 Comments
21777 The City In The Sea Comments and analysis of The City In The Sea by Edgar Allan Poe 16 Comments
21652 To My Mother Comments and analysis of To My Mother by Edgar Allan Poe 263 Comments
19666 To Helen 1 Comments and analysis of To Helen 1 by Edgar Allan Poe 314 Comments
18153 A Dream Comments and analysis of A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe 39 Comments
17488 The Haunted Palace Comments and analysis of The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe 8 Comments
16399 The Lake. To-- Comments and analysis of The Lake. To-- by Edgar Allan Poe 21 Comments
15642 Bridal Ballad Comments and analysis of Bridal Ballad by Edgar Allan Poe 125 Comments
15193 An Enigma Comments and analysis of An Enigma by Edgar Allan Poe 17 Comments
12756 The Valley Of Unrest Comments and analysis of The Valley Of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe 91 Comments
12568 Dreamland Comments and analysis of Dreamland by Edgar Allan Poe 7 Comments
12265 Stanzas Comments and analysis of Stanzas by Edgar Allan Poe 254 Comments
12172 Dreams Comments and analysis of Dreams by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments
11172 Fairy-Land Comments and analysis of Fairy-Land by Edgar Allan Poe 55 Comments
10430 A Valentine Comments and analysis of A Valentine by Edgar Allan Poe 5 Comments
7549 To One Departed Comments and analysis of To One Departed by Edgar Allan Poe 11 Comments
7332 In Youth I have Known One Comments and analysis of In Youth I have Known One by Edgar Allan Poe 1 Comment
7069 Israfel Comments and analysis of Israfel by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
5766 The Forest Reverie
5755 To F--S S. O--D Comments and analysis of To F--S S. O--D by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments
5279 Al Aaraaf Comments and analysis of Al Aaraaf by Edgar Allan Poe 2 Comments
4991 To Helen 2 Comments and analysis of To Helen  2 by Edgar Allan Poe 40 Comments
4968 Eulalie
4498 The Coliseum
4162 Sancta Maria
4118 Sonnet- To Zante
3716 To F--
3683 To M.L.S. Comments and analysis of To M.L.S. by Edgar Allan Poe 9 Comments
3658 Hymn to Aristogeiton and Harmodius
3439 To M-- Comments and analysis of To M-- by Edgar Allan Poe 4 Comments
3189 To -- --
3007 Alone Comments and analysis of Alone by Edgar Allan Poe 609 Comments
2921 Spirits Of The Dead Comments and analysis of Spirits Of The Dead by Edgar Allan Poe 299 Comments
2365 To One In Paradise Comments and analysis of To One In Paradise by Edgar Allan Poe 27 Comments
1882 Sonnet - To Science Comments and analysis of Sonnet - To Science by Edgar Allan Poe 119 Comments
1877 The Raven Comments and analysis of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe 520 Comments
1815 Romance Comments and analysis of Romance by Edgar Allan Poe 303 Comments
1701 For Annie Comments and analysis of For Annie by Edgar Allan Poe 519 Comments
1409 The Conqueror Worm Comments and analysis of The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe 20 Comments
1239 In the Greenest of our Valleys Comments and analysis of In the Greenest of our Valleys by Edgar Allan Poe 61 Comments
1037 Elizabeth Comments and analysis of Elizabeth by Edgar Allan Poe 8 Comments
843 Tamerlane Comments and analysis of Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe 1 Comment
661 Serenade Comments and analysis of Serenade by Edgar Allan Poe 702 Comments
611 Imitation Comments and analysis of Imitation by Edgar Allan Poe 5 Comments
540 Evening Star Comments and analysis of Evening Star by Edgar Allan Poe 3 Comments
332 A Dream Within A Dream Comments and analysis of A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe 753 Comments
286 Hymn Comments and analysis of Hymn by Edgar Allan Poe 8 Comments
168 To -- Comments and analysis of To -- by Edgar Allan Poe 2 Comments
75 The Sleeper Comments and analysis of The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe 34 Comments
72 The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour Comments and analysis of The Happiest Day, The Happiest Hour by Edgar Allan Poe 457 Comments
69 Lenore Comments and analysis of Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe 113 Comments
21 Sonnet- Silence Comments and analysis of Sonnet- Silence by Edgar Allan Poe 24 Comments


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