Edgar Allan Poe

Personal life

Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in 1809. He was born in Boston, but his father left the family when Poe was still a baby, and his mother died soon afterwards, making him an orphan very early in life.

Young Poe was instead raised by John and Frances Allan, which was how he got his middle name. Edgar had a number of conflicts with John while growing up, usually in relation to the subject of money.

Poe had a brief career in the US Army, but after failing to become an officer, he instead focused his attention on poetry and literature. He worked as a literary critic for various literary journals, gaining a reputation for vicious criticism, but in between he also published his own work, and slowly gained more recognition - particularly when he published the gothic poem “The Raven” in 1845.

In 1836 Poe married his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, though she died of tuberculosis just 11 years later, in 1847. Her illness and death are thought to have inspired some of his later works; especially “Annabel Lee” (1849), which is focused on the untimely death of a young woman and the speaker’s efforts to cope with his loss.

Poe himself died of unknown causes just two years after his wife, when he was only 40 years old. He was discovered in the streets one morning in great distress and speaking incoherently, and was taken to a hospital. He died shortly afterwards, but all medical records of the case have been lost, so it is unclear how he died.

Though Poe managed to gain recognition as a critic, poet and author during his lifetime, his work never made him wealthy. He also struggled with alcoholism for much of his life, which may have contributed to his early death.

Literary career

Most of Poe’s work falls into the gothic horror genre. His stories are often focused on protagonists who descend into madness,...

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