Edgar Allan Poe
Quote: “The death of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetic topic in the world.” –Edgar Allan Poe
Job: Poet and writer
Cause of death: probably drinking
Spouses: Virginia Clemm (m. 1836-1847)
Famous Works: “The Raven”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”
By Richard Ware 1/8/2013
Citable Works- http://www.biography.com/people/edgar-allan-poe-9443160
Edgar Allan Poe was born to traveling actors David Poe, Jr. and Elizabeth Poe (née Hopkins) in 1809. He had an older brother, William, and a younger sister named Rosalie. David abandoned the family early on and Elizabeth died of tuberculosis in 1811. Young Edgar was sent to live with tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances, while his siblings were adopted by other families. John Allan wanted Edgar to be a gentleman like him, but Edgar favored poetry, drawing inspiration from the writings of Lord Byron. This disconnect continued into Poe’s college years when he went to the University of Virginia. Allan did not provide Poe with even a third of the funding he required to cover college expenses, leading Poe to gamble and to burn his furniture to stay warm. Those actions only worsened his debts, so Poe returned to Richmond only to discover his fiancée, Elmira Royster, had gotten engaged to a different man. After a few months of frustration with the Allans, he left to join the military. Poe enrolled at West Point under the name “Edgar A. Perry”, releasing two poetry books along the way. But he and Allan had more fallings-out, and Poe threatened to be tried in military court, due to his debt nightmares returning. He apparently succeeded, leaving West Point after roughly a year of attendance.
He moved to Baltimore, the home of his deceased father, in 1831, where he lived with his aunt Maria Clemm and her young daughter Virginia, the latter of whom became his wife in 1836. By this time Poe had become an editor for the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. He became known for his scornful reviews of books and their authors. Two of his victims were Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Rufus Griswold. Unfortunately, his attacks hurt his reputation with the magazine, so he deserted his position in 1837.
In 1841, Poe published a new kind of detective story called “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Misfortune revisited him the following year when Virginia developed tuberculosis, the same disease that had claimed his mother and stepmother. Poe based the poem “The Masque of the Red Death” on that unavoidable killer.
In 1845, he released “The Raven”, one of his most classic works. Then in 1846, “The Cask of Amontillado” came out. The very next year, Virginia died at age 24, leaving Poe grief-stricken. In 1849, he left Richmond to visit Philadelphia and vanished. He was found feverish in a bar in Baltimore and was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later of “congestion of the brain”. To this day, no one is sure how he actually died, although many have proposed alcoholism, a brain lesion, rabies, or epilepsy.