Edgar Allan Poe: His Background and Writing Style

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Poe Many authors have made great contributions to the world of literature. Mark Twain introduced Americans to life on the Mississippi. Thomas Hardy wrote on his pessimistic views of the Victorian Age. Another author that influenced literature is Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is known as the father of the American short story and father of the detective story. To understand the literary contributions of Edgar Allan Poe, one must look at his early life, his literary life, and a summary of two of his famous works. "Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston'' (Inglis 505) "on January 19, 1809'' (Asselineau 409). He was born to a southern family that were in a traveling company of actors (Inglis 505). His father, David Poe, was from a Baltimore family. He was an actor by profession and a heavy drinker. Soon after Edgar Allan Poe was born, he left his family. Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was a widow at the age of eighteen. Two years after his birth, she died of tuberculosis (Asselineau 409). When his mother died, Poe was adopted by John Allan (Perry XI) at the urging of Mr. Allan's wife. In 1815, John Allan moved his family to England. While there, Poe was sent to private schools (Asselineau 410). In the spring of 1826, Poe entered the University of Virginia. There he studied Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin. He had an excellent scholastic record. He got into difficulties almost at once. Mr. Allan did not provide him with the money to pay for his fees and other necessities. Poe was confused and homesick. He learned to play cards and started drinking. Soon he was in debt in excess of two thousand dollars. Poe discovered that he could not depend upon Allan for financial support. His foster father refused to pay his debts, and Poe had to withdraw from the University (Asselineau 410). In May of 1827, Poe enlisted in the army as a common soldier. He did this under the name of Edgar A. Perry. He was stationed on Sullivan's Island in Charleston Harbor for over a year. Poe adapted very well to military discipline and quickly rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major. After a while, he got tired of the same daily routine involved in military life. Poe wrote regularly to Mr. Allan. He met with Mr. Allan after the death of Mrs. Allan in February of 1829.
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