Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe was a master of his craft, gifted with the talent of introducing each reader to his or her own fears. As the first writer to compose tales of horror, death, and mystery into literature and poetry, he is blessed, maybe even cursed, with an imagination that set higher standards in the field of writing. However sinister or dark it may be, Poe’s writing continues to have an impact on the world of writing. A look into Poe’s childhood might shed some light on where his fascination with death comes from. Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to drifting actor parents. Denying his parental responsibilities, Edgar’s father abandoned his wife and children, leaving her to support the family as best she could. He died somewhere around 1810. His mother traveled through various cities acting in as many stage performances as she could get, but the struggle eventually took a toll on her health. Towards the end of 1811, shortly after turning 2, while in Richmond, Virginia, she became ill and died. Her three children were put into homes. His brother William died young, his sister Rosalie later became insane, and Edgar was placed into the home of a well-off, yet unsupportive man named John Allan. Allan was emotionally detached from Poe, refusing to even legally adopt the boy. This move would begin a chain of events, eventually triggering a drinking problem, that would cause majority of Poe’s psychological troubles later in life. He was raised in an wealthy home, but lacked the emotional support needed to build determination and confidence in himself. Edgar would attend the finest boarding schools to train to be a proper gentleman. But, when it came time to go to the University of Virginia in 1826, his foster father barely gave him enough money to survive. In those days, the average college freshman was nineteen years old. Edgar was certainly wise beyond his years, enrolling in college only a month after his seventeenth birthday. This made it harder on Edgar to survive out on his own at such an early age. John Allan had always been strict and harsh, and sometimes even cruel to Edgar, but this was the first time he denied him the means to survive outside of his home. Adding insult to injury, he also forbade Edgar to study what his heart so desired: poetry.

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