Edgar Allan Poe was a well renowned author who still influences many authors and movies today. Edgar Allan Poe was an author who lived in the 1800’s but only for a short time. In his lifetime both his parents died in 1811 leaving him as an orphan at the age of 3, he also married his cousin who was 13 at the time while he was 27. His life was ended abruptly due to a brain tumor and a case of rabies. He was known for his dark and well-rounded short stories. One famous story we know of is “The Raven. (Poetry Foundation 1) This short-story had readers wondering what was going to happen next. This short story basically had you on the edge of your seat throughout it the whole time. Poe accomplished much in his short lifetime. He is a renowned author because he inspired many authors from various generations, he was always able to capture his reader’s attention, and his ability to write such wonderful stories.
Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was conceived on January 19, 1809, both of his parents were actors based on facts from resources. But he lost them before he turned three years old. His mother died from tuberculosis and his father left the family. He then went into foster care. He was foster cared by John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia. Poe had to grow up with a different family. He even got his middle name from Frances and John Allan. He started to develop a bond with Frances but was facing hardships with John.
Poe was able to gain some knowledge at some extent. When Poe was six years old, he went on to learn French and Latin. As he grew up, he wanted to go to college. He went to the University of Virginia. He enrolled there on February 14, 1826, the 136th of 177 students. The classes he attended were Schools of Ancient and Modern Languages, under Professors Long and Blaetterman. He excelled in his classes while he attended them.
Money was a struggle for Poe while he attended college. His foster dad, John, didn’t want to give Poe any money because of the hardships they had. Poe couldn’t complete college due to his funds not being able to pay for it. Poe turned to gambling but he eventually went into debt. Poe was so in debt his first term of college he had to burn his furniture to keep warm. But these was only a few hardships he faced. He was embarrassed by his poverty. He had to drop out of college because he could no longer afford it. Once he returned home, he found out his wife was with someone else and this caused him heartbreak.
After Poe’s tremendous heartbreak, he stormed out of his house to become a great poet and find adventure. Shortly after, Poe enlisted into the United States Army. He was only eighteen years old. He was enlisted from 1827-1829, where he served in Boston and Virginia. 8 years later he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. 8 months later he was kicked out due to fact he stopped going to class, parade, roll calls, and chapel in January 1831.
After Poe was kicked out of West Point he returned to Baltimore. Poe was broke and alone and was robbed by his cousin in the night when he let him stay there. Poe’s Aunt, Clemm, became his new mother and accepted him into her house. Clemm’s daughter, Virginia, soon became Poe’s desire.
While Poe was in Baltimore John Allan died on March 27, 1834. Poe was left out of the will. By then Poe was living in poverty but had started publishing his own short stories, one of which won a contest sponsored by the Saturday Visiter. Poe established connections through the contest which allowed him to publish more stories. When Poe had gained an editorial position at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, he had finally found his life’s work as a magazine writer. Within a year Poe helped make the Messenger the most popular magazine in the South. Poe soon developed a reputation as a fearless critic who not only attacked an author’s work but also insulted the author and the Northern literary establishment.
At the age of twenty-seven Poe brought Maria and Virginia Clemm to Richmond so he could marry Virginia. In 1836 he married, Virginia, who was thirteen years old at the time. The marriage proved to be happy one, but money was always tight. Over the next ten years, Poe would edit several literary journals including the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia and the Broadway Journal in New York City. It was during these years that he established himself as a poet, a short story writer, and an editor. He published some of his best-known stories and poems, including ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue,’ and ‘The Raven.’ Poe was dissatisfied with his low pay and lack of editorial control at the Messenger. Despite his fame Poe still couldn’t make a living.
One of the main stories that made Poe gain a lot of fame was ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’. Poe published this in 1841 for Graham’s Magazine. It has been described as the first modern detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his ‘tales of ratiocination’. A quick excerpt from “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”:
Coincidences, in general, are great stumbling blocks in the way of that class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the theory of probabilities- that theory to which the most glorious objects of human research are indebted for the most glorious of illustration. () This excerpt has been called Coincidences.
Virginia’s death from tuberculosis in 1847 worsened Poe’s lifelong depression and alcoholism. During his remaining years he devoted himself to develop and publish an early version of the “Big Bang” theory entitled Eureka. “By the time Poe wrote Eureka: A Prose Poem, the last major work he published before his premature death in 1849, his attitude toward certain men of science had softened.”(Paris review) He would soon become a champion for the cause of higher wages for writers as well as for an international copyright law. To change the face of the magazine industry, he proposed starting his own journal, but he failed to find the necessary funding.
Not much happened in the last days of Edgar Allan Poe. A week before his death, his doctor advised him not to travel. He returned to Richmond in the summer of 1849 and reconnected with his first fiancée, Elmira Royster Shelton who was now a widow. They became engaged and intended to marry again. However, on his way to Philadelphia for an editing job, Poe stopped in Baltimore and disappeared for five days. He was found in the bar room of a public house that was being used as a polling place for an election. Some place to be found considering he suffers from alcoholism. Poe didn’t know where any of his luggage was. The magazine editor Joseph Snodgrass sent Poe to Washington College Hospital, where Poe spent the last days of his life far from home and surrounded by strangers. His wife and mother-in-law didn’t find out until they read it in the newspaper. Poe died on October 7, 1849 at the age of forty. His obituary was written by Rufus Wilmot Griswold. Rufus didn’t like Poe. The article portrayed Poe as a mad, drunken, womanizing opium addict who based his darkest tales on personal experience.(Biography) Griswold expanded this account into a brief memoir of the author, and Griswold’s distorted picture of Poe influenced popular opinion of the author for over a century.(Biography) Poe was buried in an unmarked grave in his grandfather’s plot in Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore. Eleven years later, a cousin paid for a monument, but the stone was destroyed by a train that crashed into the stone carver’s shop.(Biography) Many researchers say he died from drinking binge, but it still will remain a mystery due to lack of evidence and not being reliable.
“The breadth of Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on our culture is incalculable. He invented the detective story, contributed to the development of both science fiction and the horror genre, and wrote about the only American poem anybody knows—certainly the only one popular enough to have an NFL team named after it.” (Biography 1) His aesthetic and themes have influenced such cultural figures as Salvador Dali, Charles Baudelaire, and Alfred Hitchcock, who credited Poe’s works with inspiring him to make suspense films.
A century and a half after his death, Poe still makes appearances on television shows like The Following and South Park as well as the upcoming movies The Tell-Tale Heart starring Rose McGowan and Stonehearst Asylum with Kate Beckinsale and Michael Caine. In addition to numerous Poe societies (including ones in Denmark and the Czech Republic).
There are museums devoted to him in Richmond, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the Bronx. Opened in 1922, the Poe Museum in Richmond boasts the world’s largest collection of Poe’s personal items and memorabilia. There are even lots of websites that are devoted to Edgar Allan Poe’s life.
Some of Poe’s famous quotes from his stories are still used today and some of those quotes Poe use really makes you relate to them. One famous quote is from Eleonora:
“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence whether much that is glorious whether all that is profound does not spring from disease of thought from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.” (Poe Stories) Entitled Madness vs. Intelligence.
Edgar will always influence the American culture from Generations on in. And he will always be one of Ms.Fulcher’s favorite poets and that’s a proven fact.