Articles/Biographies/Writers/Poe, Edgar Allan

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. Both his father David Poe Jr. and mother Elizabeth Hopkins Poe were involved in acting. Unfortunately, his father died in 1810 and his mother died in 1811, both of tuberculosis.

After the deaths of his parents, he was unofficially adopted by a wealth merchant in Richmond, Virginia, John Allan. From 1815-1820, Edgar lived in England, where he was able to study at a school in Stoke Newington. Even at the age of five, his teachers commented that he was a true poet and had genuine writing talent.

John Allan never really liked Edgar and thought of him as a bastard son. However, his wife absolutely adored Edgar, but she died of tuberculosis, leaving Edgar to the mercy of John Allan.

In 1826, he was accepted in the University of Virginia, but became addicted to gambling. When his debts built up to massive proportions, he was expelled from the university when John Allan refused to pay off the debts. John was furious about the incident and completely disowned Edgar, leaving him homeless on the streets.

A desperate Edgar enlisted in the US Army in 1827 and was allowed into West Point University in 1830. However, he was dishonorably discharged within a year for neglect of duty. It was later found that the charges had been contrived in order to allow him to leave the Army and pursue his writing career.

In 1833, Edgar moved to Baltimore, New Jersey to live with his aunt. At one point, he entered his story "MS. Found in a Bottle" into a writing contest and won a prize of $50 (a good deal of money at the time). The story caught the attention of literary magazines in the city and soon he found himself working for the Southern Literary Messenger as a professional writer. He continued working there until 1837, when he was partly forced to leave as a result of his addiction to alcohol. In 1839, he obtained a position as a writer for "Burton's Gentleman's Magazine", but left in 1840. His last official writing position was at "Graham's Magazine" from 1842 to 1843.

During his stay in his aunt's home, Edgar became very fond of his 13-year old cousin, Virginia Clemm. He soon discovered that he had fallen in love with her and they were married in 1836. Unfortunately, after breaking a blood vessel in 1842, Virginia became invalid and caught tuberculosis. In 1847, she died from the disease, causing Edgar to plummet into a state of total despair. To help cope with her death, Edgar penned the poem "Annabel Lee" in 1849 and began becoming seriously addicted to drugs and alcohol.

In 1840, he published a collection of now-famous works that included "The Fall of the House of Usher". In 1841, he published "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter". In 1845, he published his most famous work, "The Raven". The poem was immensely popular and sold many copies throughout the United States.

Despite his literary success and fame, Edgar continued to suffer from depression and occasional madness. In 1848, he attempted suicide, but failed. In 1849, he became engaged to a beautiful woman named Elmira Royster. On his way to see his fiancee, he disappeared for three days after getting drunk at a birthday party and reappeared in a Baltimore gutter. His mental state had collapsed and he was admitted to an asylum, where his delirium continued until he died on October 7, 1849.

Numerous theories have been developed about Edgar Allan Poe's death, ranging from him being infected with rabies to murder by thugs forcing people to vote. Today he is remembered for his poetry and stories, which are finally recognized for their incredible depth and emotion. It is difficult to imagine the amount of emotional pain that he endured after seeing the deaths of all of his loved ones by the terrible disease tuberculosis.