Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe

"The boundaries which divide Life and Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?" Edgar Allan Poe, The Premature Burial (Bartlett, 642). To venture into the world of Edgar Allan Poe is to embark on a journey to a land filled with perversities of the mind, soul, and body. The joyless existence carved out by his writings is one of lost love, mental anguish, and the premature withering of his subjects. Poe wrote in a style that characterized the sufferings he endured throughout in his pitiful life. From the death of his parents while he was still a child, to the repeated frailty of his love life, to the neuroses of his later years, his life was a ceaseless continuum of one mind-warping tragedy after another.

From the very dawning of his existence, Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of hardship; a quality which was reflected in his writings. Poe was born the son of a pair of traveling actors. His father, David, was at best a mediocre actor who soon deserted his wife and son. His mother Elizabeth, on the contrary, was a charming woman and talented actress. His life, no doubt, would have been much different were it not for the fact that she died of tuberculosis in 1811 when Poe was not quite three. This event scarred him for life, for he would always remember "his mother vomiting blood and being carried away from him forever by sinister men dressed in black." (Asselineau, 409).

After the traumatic passing of his parents, Poe was placed into the custody of John and Frances Allan – hence his middle name. The childless couple reared him as their own son, even though they would never officially adopt him. He never got along with his foster father, but grew alarmingly...

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...is oftentimes tinged with skepticism – but his skepticism is also tinged with fear. However, for all the skepticism and exaggeration, fear always prevails.


Allen, Henry. Poe, Edgar Allan. Dictionary of American Biography VIII. Ed. Dumas Malone. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963: 19-28.

Asselineau, Roger. "Edgar Allan Poe." American Writers Vol. III. Ed. Leonard Unger. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1974: 409-432.

Bartlett, John. Famous Quotations Fourteenth Edition. Ed. Emily Morison Beck. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1968: 641-644.

Bleiler, E.F. "Edgar Allan Poe." Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror Vol. II. Ed. E.F. Bleiler. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985: 697-705.

Poe Reference, The Definitive. http://www.gothic.net/poe/

Woodbury, George E. Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Chelsea House. 1980.
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