Edgar Allan Poe and His Works

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Thesis: Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most influential, yet misunderstood writers in American Literature.

I. His Early Life

A. His Adoption

B. His Education

II. His Later Life

A. Books Published

B. Military Life

III. The Conclusion of His Life

A. His Marriage

B. His Death

IV. His Works

V. What Others Thought Of Him

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, known as a poet and critic but most famous as the first master of the short story form, especially tales of the mysterious and macabre. Since his early death, the literary qualities of Poe's writings have been disputed, but his works have remained popular and he influenced many major American and European writers.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Poe was orphaned in his early childhood and was raised by John Allan, a successful businessman of Richmond, Virginia. Taken by the Allan family to England at the age of six, Poe was enrolled in a private school. Upon returning to the United States in 1820, he continued to study in private schools. He attended the University of Virginia for a year, but in 1827 his foster father, displeased by the young man's drinking and gambling, refused to pay his debts and forced Poe to work as a bookkeeper. (Anderson, 9-22).

Poe quit this job, which infuriated John Allan. Poe then left and moved to Boston. There he published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems. After this, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army and served a two-year term. Poe published his second book of poems, Al Araaf in 1829. Poe then reunited with Allan, who obtained him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. After only a few months at the academy, Poe was dismissed for neglect of duty, and John Allan disowned him permanently (Anderson, 23-34).


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...nius." (Regan, 1) While some loved him, others despised him; almost all recognized the value of his works.


Anderson, Madelyn Klein. Edgar Allan Poe: A Mystery. New York: Justin Books, Ltd., 1993

Buranelli, Vincent. Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1961

The Collected Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: The Modern Library, 1992.

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc, 1966.

Fisher, Benjamin F. The Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.

Kesterson, David B., ed. Critics on Poe. Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1973.

Regan, Robert, ed. Poe. A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1967.

Stoudt, Ashley, ed. "An Edgar Allan Poe Reader". State Street Press, 2000.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that edgar allan poe was one of the most influential, yet misunderstood writers in american literature.
  • Explains that poe was orphaned in boston, massachusetts, and was raised by john allan, a successful businessman of richmond, virginia.
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