Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe Allan Poe could probably be named one of literature’s most controversial writers of all time. Over the years, Poe’s works have endured much criticism as well as much praise. Many professionals who have researched Poe’s life and his writings feel that many of his writings strongly show reflections on Poe’s real life. Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. He was born the son of Elizabeth and David Poe.

David attempted to make a living by performing on stage, but he seemed to be giftless in this area. Elizabeth died being poverty stricken in the year 1811. Poe then was separated from his brother and his sister because his father was unstable to care for them. A Scottish tobacco merchant and importer named John Allan decided to take Poe in and Poe remained with the Allan’s until December of 1826, where he began his studies at the University of Virginia. As a writer, Poe became very well known for his interests in death, dying, pre- mature burials, revenge, guilt and fear.

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His works such as: “The Cask of Amontillado”; strongly show his feelings of revenge. Although these characteristics of Poe’s writings made him a questionable figure in literature. At the time, the general public were taken back by the horrors that Poe wrote about, people still read them with suspense. One critic wrote, “Poe’s attraction to the problem of death is so conspicuous that the reticence of modern criticism on the subject seems inexplicable” ( Kennedy 3). Many critics also thought that Poe’s interests in such dark subjects were due to early traumatic experiences (Kennedy 5).

Poe felt that death had held contradictory meanings, and it’s tangible climax changed through the course of his engagement in writing (Kennedy). Many modern critics of Poe fail to realize that although Poe’s tales took an unusual perspective, at the time, death was looked at as being an elaborate celebration, it wasn’t more acceptable, but it was more of a subject of quiet fascination (Kennedy 17). While Poe was primarily known to be a lonely dark man, he had a burning desire to be loved. Some believed him to be a prose-poet of love. In Poe’s tale, “My Heart Laid Bare”, he reveals his most deepest attachment of all, his passion to have a woman (Bloom 81). This tale is a round about way of telling the truths of his own soul (Bloom 81).

Poe had a serious problem with alcohol and it strongly affected him in his later life. In a few of Poe’s writings he expresses his character’s feeling guilty for actions that took place while they were sober, but as soon as intoxication occurs again, the remorse fades away. In “The Black Cat”, the main character is a husband who becomes drunk, strikes and kills his wife, and goes on to cut out one of the eyes belonging to his beloved cat, he only feels remorse when he sobers up (Bloom 84). In 1836, Poe married his fourteen-year-old cousin, Elizabeth E. Clemms. This would fill the gap in Poe’s heart for the longing of love. Poe deeply loved Virginia, even though by the time he married her he had already reached 27 years of age.

During the winter of 1846, Virginia became seriously ill, and Poe would have to face the sorrow that had threatened him for so long, Virginia was going to die. At the same time, Poe himself grew ill and was unable to care for his wife. Poe had lost much money and he greatly required a caretaker for his wife and himself. Prior to Poe’s illness, he had been working on “Eureka”, his prose poem dealing with the universe. Poe’s alcoholism had increased tremendously since Virginia’s illness and up until after her death.

Poe himself stated in a letter to a personal friend, “I’m constitutionally sensitive and nervous in a very unusual way”. “I’ve become insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”‘During these fit of unconscienceness I drank, God only knows how often or how much.” If drinking were ever excusable, it was in this desperate effort to forget” (Quinn 347). Poe became quite unstable after the death of his wife. In a testimony from a personal friend, Dr. English, he commented on Poe’s drug usage: “Had Poe the opium habit when I had known him, (before 1846), I should both as a physician and as a man of observation, had discovered it during my visits with him at his house and our visits with each other elsewhere” (Quinn 350). Poe had written letters and many had given off self revelation that we can see in Poe’s poems and tales as the end of his life grew near. Many of these poems revealed information about his immediate family, letters that reveal his poverty at different points of his life, his impulsiveness and rebelliousness, as well as his too often periods of intoxication and his final attack of insanity (Campbell 126).

There are few specific references to Poe’s immediate family in his sonnet to “To My Mother”, where he describes his own mother, his devotion to her, as well as his devotion to his own wife (Campbell 126). There is every reason to believe that Poe records his own faith in the divine nature of beauty in his critical essays, “The Poet Principle”, as well as “Al Aaraff”(Campbell 141). In his story, “The Haunted Palace”, it is believed that this may have been a confession from Poe, believing that at times his own mind was unhinged (Campbell 133). In the end lines of Poe’s famous,”Stanzas”, it is believed that Poe was giving an acknowledgement about his own sense of imperfection in the eyes of his maker, and likewise an expression of his faith in a Supreme Being (Campbell 134). Although Poe’s life wasn’t perfect, his writings are still admired all over the world.

Poe died over 100 years ago and his literature is still evaluated and discussed, and observed. Bibliography Bloom, Harold. Modern Critical Views of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985. Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Written and Contributed by SUGABUGA456 Edgar Allan Poe was one of America’s famous poets, fiction short-story writers, and literary critics. He is known as the first master of short story form especially in tales of horror, and mystery. The work he produced was considered to be some of the most influential literary criticism of his time. His poems made him one of the most famous figures in American literary history. His influence on literature is seen in all literature books in schools everywhere. Some of his famous writings is that of “Annabel Lee”; his detective story, “The Murders in Rue Morgue”; “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” are the best among his horror stories; and The Raven one of his best poems which among all these, made him very famous in 1845.

“The Fall of the House of Usher”, and “The Masque of the Red Death”, made him a forerunner of symbolism, and impressionism. Poe antagonized many people with a scathing campaign against an American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for supposed plagiarism. Later that year Poe admitted to being drunk, which further separated him from the public. Poe’s later years were full of economic hardship and ill health. Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.

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He was orphaned at the early age of two, his father deserted the family and his mother died all before he was three in 1811, then Poe became a ward and was raised as a foster child by John Allan, a wealthy merchant of tobacco, and his wife Frances in Richmond, VA but they never legally adopted him. Taken by the Allan family to England at the age of six, Poe was placed in a private school. In 1826 Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. where he acquired gambling debts that John Allan refused to pay. Eventually, Poe was forced to withdraw from the university, and Allan prevented his return to the university and broke off Poe’s engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster, his Richmond sweetheart. His relationship with Allan was declined and he moved from his foster father and enlisted in the army. Also in 1827, he went to Boston where he wrote his fist book “Tamerlane and other poems” that he sold for $.12 a copy but it didn’t sell.

He served a two year term while waiting for an appointment to the US Military Academy. While temporarily reconciled, Allan secured him an appointment to the academy. In 1830 Poe entered the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, where he excelled in languages but was expelled in 1831 and now his foster father disowned him permanently. Later on sometime after 1831 he moved to Baltimore where he lived with his aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter- his cousin, Virginia Clemm. March 27, 1834 John Allan dies leaving Poe with nothing.

In May of 1836 he married Virginia, his 13-year old cousin. For 10 years Poe worked as an editor for various periodicals and contributor to magazines in several cites on the pay of $10 a week, so he was unable to support his family, his aunt, Virginia, and himself. Lots of time they went without eating. But it was in one of those that his story “The Fall of the House of Usher” first appeared in 1839. He unsuccessfully tried to found and edit his own magazine which would have granted him financial security and artistic control in what he considered a hostile literary marketplace. The last years of Poe’s life was a tragic period. In January of 1842 Virginia broke a blood vessel while singing, and died of tuberculosis on January 30, 1847 after five years of illness.

Then Poe himself became ill, he had a deadly addiction to liquor and his alleged use of drugs which probably contributed to his early death. In the summer of 1849 he revisited Richmond, lectured , and was accepted anew by the fiance he had lost in 1826. After his return north he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. Poe was only 40 when he died in 1849. Newspapers gave the cause of death as “congestion of the brain” and “cerebral inflammation”, which my sources said was terms that suggest doctors didn’t have a definitive explanation but they thought it was a severe neurological disorder. Another doctor from the University of Maryland Medical Center reviewed his case and was assigned to make and explain a diagnosis based on available facts and he came to the conclusion that it was a rabies infection.

The case was known to be a antique because of the lack of lab data. Back then they didn’t have CT scans, or MRI’s. Before his death he was seen passing through Baltimore in later September 1849 and vanished. He turned up on Oct. 3 muttering incoherently and dressed in filthy, strange, and unusual clothing.

He was taken to Church Hospital then known as Washington Medical College on Broadway where he spend four days where his doctor put very simply: “talking with spectral and imaginary objects on the walls”. So in other words he was crazy, delirious and other times he was either in a coma. Despite the widely held belief that Poe was in a drunken stupor, he showed no signs of alcohol when he was admitted to the hospital. According to medical records he had abstained from drinking after and few months earlier attending a temperance league in Richmond. One theory says his condition seemed to improve for a time, but by the evening of his third day he became combative calling out the names of family, friends and somebody named Reynolds and had to be restrained. Another theory says that he was found unconscious and remained unconscious.

Bout both theories state that he died on the fourth day, October 7th at 5 am. His last words were said to be “Lord, help my poor soul”. He was buried near his grandfather in the Presbyterian cemetery. It was obvious that Poe was in a depressing situation most of his life. His life was exaggerated and exposed in a embarrassing manner.

He was hurt by his enemies and I think he was ashamed of himself or wanted more of his life. Poe was hounded by economic troubles, haunted by nightmares and visions, he had many fears, and a ot of imagination which he expressed in his stories. It has been 150 years since Poe’s death but since his death, but he has had more books published than any other American author. I think he will always be remembered.


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