Edgar Allan Poe

Better Essays
Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allen Poe’s contributions to American literature have become increasingly more prominent as the years have passed. As short fiction has become a more accepted genre in literary circles, Poe’s theories are studied with more passion. Although he lived a rather melancholy life, Poe did experience moments of joy, and desired to capture the beauty through poetic form. Indeed, what he left behind for the literary world was his gifted genus, revealed through his poetry, fiction, and criticism. The darkness that seems to surround Poe’s life began as an infant. Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the second son of David and Eliza Poe, but soon after he was born, David abandoned the family. Then two years after that occurrence, Eliza died from tuberculosis. After her death, Edgar, his little sister, Rosalie, and his brother, William, were separated. While William was sent to live with his grandparents, and Rosalie was sent to a family in Richmond, Virginia, Poe moved to live with John and Fannie Allan (Silverman 1-15). John Allan was a well-known businessman, and Poe was no longer surrounded in poverty. John made sure that Poe was given a good education, and when living in England with the Allan’s, he went to private academies. The then moved back to the states, and Edgar enrolled at the University of Virginia in 1826. When he was there, he spent much of his money, and soon found himself in debt. He asked Mr. Allan to pay for it, but he refused, because he assumed that the debt was due to Poe’s constant gambling and consumption of alcohol (Silverman 29-38). It can be assumed that the greatest contributor to Poe’s disturbance was his addiction to alcohol. His foster family’s status made this problem a shameful vise, and a source of conflict. Poe used drinking as an escape of sorts, and his life was greatly affected by the substance. It disrupted his writing, his first engagement, and his time with his foster family. After he left home, he tried to make a life for himself in Boston. He was reunited with his brother, but at the young age of 24 he died which upset Poe very much. His writing became more insistent after being rejecting constantly by newspapers. Soon afterwards, he married his own cousin, Virginia, who was his symbol as the perfect woman. In 1837, he moved to New York, where competed wit...

... middle of paper ...

...erished possession. Finally, he asks once again, whether it is fantasy that is only a dream, or is it that reality itself is but a dream as well. Edgar Allan Poe always seemed to desire creating another world, an artificial creation, but in this process conveys the beauty he always craved for. Poe’s life was one full of despair and depression, which later lead him to create literary masterpieces. Perhaps it was this state of mind which made him appear fearless, allowing him to voice his opinion in spite of the criticism directed at him. In this day and age, his words are to be regarded with a newfound significance, for literature has become a genre in and of itself. His theories on writing will continue to be studied for generations to come. Though his place in literary circles was uncertain in his own time, his place in the literary cannon is undeniable today.


Hart, James David. The Oxford Composition to American Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. May, Charles E. Edgar Allan Poe: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne Publications, 1991. Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar Allan Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper, 1992.
Get Access