Edgar Poe

Edgar Poe

Date of Birth: 19.01.1809
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Writer and Predecessor of Decadence and Modernism
  3. Childhood and Youth
  4. Literary Career
  5. Personal Life
  6. Death
  7. Bibliography

Biography of Edgar Allan Poe

Writer and Predecessor of Decadence and Modernism

Edgar Allan Poe, a writer known for his cult dark stories with a mystical subtext, was a literary figure who attempted to take readers beyond trivial thinking through his novellas, philosophical fantasies, and rationalizations. He engaged in artistic exploration of human intellect. He is directly credited with the creation of detective and psychological thriller genres. The best minds of the 19th century, including symbolist writers Charles Baudelaire and Konstantin Balmont, admired the realism of the "cursed poet's" portrayal of emotional suffering and the professionalism with which Poe balanced between the horror of life and the joy of death. People of imaginative thinking believed that the name of the romantic suffering creator would go down in the history of world literature even during Poe's lifetime.

Edgar Poe

Childhood and Youth

The future spiritual mentor of Howard Lovecraft was born on January 19, 1809, in the northeast of the United States, in the capital of the state of Massachusetts - the city of Boston. The poet's parents, Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins and David Poe, were talented individuals. His mother was an English actress who had emigrated to America, and his father was a law student from Baltimore who chose the path of deceit over the well-paid profession of a lawyer. From the biography of the literary arabesque genius, it is known that he had two other siblings: an older brother, William Henry Leonard (1807-1831), and a younger sister, Rosalie (1810-1874). The head of the family left his wife when Edgar was only a year old. Nothing is known about the man's fate. In 1811, the poet's mother died of tuberculosis. All three children were officially adopted. Edgar ended up in the family of a co-owner of a trading company engaged in the sale of cotton and tobacco - John Allan and his wife Frances. The couple, who were highly respected individuals, had great influence in the elite circles of Richmond, where they lived before leaving for England. In the Allan household, the boy, who had never known warmth or affection, found the care he had been missing. Frances adored Edgar and treated him as her own child. John did not share his wife's enthusiasm. He did not understand why his beloved wife chose to adopt a child instead of giving birth to one naturally. Despite some misunderstandings, the merchant also spoiled his adoptive son. As a child, Edgar had everything he desired. His parents did not impose any limitations on his whims and needs at the time.

Edgar showed academic ability at an early age and started school at the age of 5 in 1815. In 1815, the Allan family moved to the UK for work. There, Edgar was exposed to the harsh climate and strict customs of English educational institutions. He returned to America as a strong and mature teenager. The knowledge he gained in the Old World allowed him to easily enroll in a local college in 1820. However, financial difficulties faced by the family upon their return home and the periodic conflicts between Frances and John negatively affected Poe. Once a cheerful boy, he increasingly withdrew into his room, preferring the company of books to the noisy company of peers. It was during this period of voluntary seclusion that Edgar's interest in poetry emerged. Allan did not understand his son's new passion. According to the man, who lacked creative thinking, Edgar would be better off working diligently in the family store, where he could eventually secure a share in the business. During the quarrels, caused by different life priorities, John constantly reminded his adopted son that his life depended entirely on his guardian.

Being a college student, Poe fell passionately in love with the mother of his friend, Jane Stannard. The communication between the mature lady and the passionate youth consisted of secret meetings and all-night conversations. Later, Edgar dedicated a poem called "Al Aaraaf" to his beloved, whom he called Elena. Poe was happy for the first time in his life. However, the pleasures of mutual love were short-lived. In 1824, Jane contracted meningitis, lost her sanity, and died. Edgar, devastated by grief, was plagued by nightmares. The young man was most afraid when, in the pitch-darkness of night, he felt as though an icy hand was touching his face. It was during this time, according to biographers, that the first symptoms of the writer's mental disorder began to appear, which later transformed into frequently occurring apathetic states, persecution mania, and thoughts of suicide. In the spring of 1825, Poe's stepfather inherited numerous bills from Edgar's creditors. In a fit of rage, the merchant came to Charlottesville and informed the former student that his short-lived university adventure was over.

Despite Poe's obvious academic success and successfully passed exams, he could no longer stay at the university and left on December 21, 1826. The budding poet deeply felt the shame of his situation. His stepfather added fuel to the fire and accused the former student of irresponsibility. After another argument, John kicked Poe out of the house. Edgar took up residence at the "Court-House" tavern, from where he wrote letters to Allan, continuing their relationship through correspondence. After spending a couple of days in the room of the infamous establishment, Poe traveled to Norfolk and then to Boston.

Literary Career

Back in his hometown, the writer coincidentally met a young printer named Calvin Thomas, who agreed to publish his first collection of poems, "Tamerlane." The work was published in 1827. In the preface, Poe apologized to readers for the immaturity of the works published in the book, explaining that he wrote these masterpieces at the age of 12-14.

In 1829, his second poetry collection, "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Other Poems," was published, and in April 1831, his third book, "Poems," was released, which included previously unpublished works such as "Israfel," "A Paean," "The Conqueror Worm," "To Helen," and "The Sleeper." The success of "The Raven" in early 1845 allowed Edgar to compile his new poems into a separate edition called "Tales," which was also released that same year.

It is worth noting that in Poe's work, the short story genre always occupied a central place. Poe's short stories can be divided into several thematic groups: psychological ("The Black Cat," "Ligeia," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Oval Portrait"), logical ("The Gold Bug," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter"), humorous ("The Spectacles," "The Man That Was Used Up," "A Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade"), and science fiction ("The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall," "The Sphinx," "The Balloon-Hoax").

With the four logical works in which the detective Auguste Dupin became the main character, the era of detective literature began. The imaginative ideas of Edgar Poe became the prototype for famous detectives such as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple. Although it was the short stories that made Poe popular, it was in poetry that the writer truly revealed himself to the world. Through poetry, Edgar established a closer connection with his readers.

Personal Life

Poe met his first and only wife in the year when his stepfather kicked him out of the house. Upon learning that his nephew had nowhere to live, Aunt Clemm gladly welcomed Poe into her estate in Baltimore. It was then that a love affair blossomed between the melancholic Edgar and the kind-hearted Virginia. They got married on September 12, 1835. The wedding was secret. Edgar was 26 years old at the time, and Virginia was only 13 years old. The relatives of Mrs. Clemm were against this marriage. According to them, it was extremely unwise to deprive Virginia of her childhood by marrying her off to an idle man (at the time, poetic work was not considered a suitable occupation for a worthy man). However, the elderly woman saw things differently: from the very beginning, she saw genius in Edgar and knew that there was no better match for her daughter.

Virginia became Edgar's guiding star in life, inspiring him to create outstanding works. She loved her "Eddy" so much that she was willing to accept both poverty, which persistently plagued their family, and Poe's difficult character. It is worth noting that Edgar strangely depended on his wife's well-being and mood. When his beloved Virginia died of tuberculosis in January 1847, the writer fell into a protracted depression. In his grief, the widower preferred alcohol to work and the embrace of other women. Only alcohol allowed the creator to forget the horror he had experienced.


Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849, at a hospital in Baltimore. According to the doctor who had been observing the writer's condition in his final days, Poe was brought to the hospital on October 3, 1849. The disoriented writer, who did not recognize his own name or his current situation, was dressed in clothes that did not belong to him. He was placed in a room with barred windows. In the few days he spent in the hospital, Poe never regained consciousness. He experienced hallucinations and seizures, mentioned his long-deceased wife, and repeatedly uttered the name Reynolds, the identity of which could never be determined.

Four days after his admission to the medical facility, the poet passed away. His last words were, "Lord, help my poor soul." All medical records, including Edgar Allan Poe's death certificate, disappeared. Newspapers from that time explained the writer's demise as a result of brain disease and inflammation of the central nervous system. In the 19th century, these diagnoses were often given to people who died from alcoholism. The true cause of the literary legend's death remains unknown. The funeral procession, attended by only a few people, took place on October 8 of the same year. Poe was buried in Baltimore's Westminster Cemetery in a cheap coffin without handles, a nameplate, a cover, or a pillow under his head.

On October 1, 1875, the writer's remains were moved to a grave closer to the entrance. With the help of the fans of his work, a monument was also made and erected. The literary legacy of the master of mystification has been preserved in collections of poems, epic poems, and short stories. In addition, works such as "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "Berenice," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "Metzengerstein" have laid the foundation for the plots of modern films and TV series.


- "The Spirits of the Dead" (1827)
- "Dreams" (1827)
- "Romance" (1829)
- "Metzengerstein" (1832)
- "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833)
- "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839)
- "Silence" (1840)
- "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1842)
- "Lenore" (1843)
- "The Masque of the Red Death" (1843)
- "The Premature Burial" (1844)
- "The Raven" (1845)
- "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" (1849)
- "Annabel Lee" (1849)
- "Hop-Frog" (also known as "The Frog") (1849).