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Edgar Allen Poe

Powerful Essays
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born at 33 Hollis Street, Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809. Poe’s parents were struggling actors. His father deserted him, and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was three years old. Young Edgar was taken in by a wealthy tobacco exporter by the name of John Allan, from whom he took his middle name. Most of his early life was lived in Richmond, Virginia, with the exception of a five-year period when the Allan family lived in England. His life in England was described as rather uneventful. Poe, even in his early years, had a proficiency for writing poetry. When he moved back to Virginia, Poe grew attached to young girl in his neighborhood named Sarah Royster. They frequently visited, where they sang songs and drew pictures. They were secretly engaged at the time, although their intentions were not made known to the adults of either household (Allen 9).

His mid-life began when Poe entered the University of Virginia in 1926. He withdrew less than a year later. Initially, his grades were brilliant, but soon thereafter they began to deteriorate. It is reported that Poe gambled heavily and owed large sums of money to various shopkeepers (Benet 34). He also began drinking quite heavily. Mr. Allan refused to pay Poe’s debts. He also broke off Poe’s engagement to Sarah Royster. Without any visible means to support himself, Poe left for Boston. In the spring of 1827, he arrived penniless and enlisted in the army under the name of Edgar A. Perry. In 1829, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant major. At his own request, was honorably discharged in April of 1829 (Gullete 5).

Temporarily reconciled, Mr. Allan secured Poe an appointment to West Point. But still refused financial support. After six months, Poe purposely got himself discharged from West Point, by purposely neglecting his military duties and for disobedience of orders (Encarta [CD-ROM]).

Poe then moved to New York, and with the help of some money raised by his West Point friends, he published his first poems in 1831. Poe next took up residence in Baltimore, with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia. He turned to fiction as a way to support himself. The Philadelphia Saturday Corrier published five of Poe’s stories. In 1883, one of his pieces won a fifty-dollar prize given by the Baltimore Sunday advisor (Regan 2,3).

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...il in a story should contribute to the story. Words must not be wasted. Poe’s life was short. He died at the age of forty. He did not appear to waste a moment of his life. He moved from Boston, to Philadelphia, to New York, and to Richmond in the early 1800’s. He even spent five years in London, England. All of these experiences shape his odd life. All of his experiences in his lifetime, including the bad memories, reflected how he wrote his literature. The reader had to understand every aspect of his life to better understand his stories and poems. His writings have been teachings and inspirations for the authors today. Poe is one of the most famous authors in today’s world because of his odd tales, and his eerie life.

Works Cited

Abbey-Cormier. Magill’s Survey of American Literature New York Marshall Cavendish Corporation

Benet, Laura. Young Edgar Allan Poe. New York Dodd, Mead and Company, 1966

Gullete, Alan. “In the Valley of the Shadow” http://www.creativnet.net/~alang/lit/horror/poebio.htm

Microsoft Encarta. “Edgar Allan Poe” http://owleyes.org.htm

Regan, Robert. “Poe, Edgar Allan {poh}” 27 March 2000 http://baud.ubik.ac.at/sg/poe/Bio.html 14 December 2000
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