Poe's Fall of The House of Usher Essay: Biographical Contexts
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Biographical Contexts For The Fall of the House of Usher
In the summer of 1838, Edgar Allan Poe left the city of New York, where he faced criticism and minimal recognition, and moved to Philadelphia, where he would soon gain profound success (Quinn 268). Just a year prior to this move, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who accompanied him to Philadelphia (Wagenknecht 18). Little is known of Poe's time in New York other than the fact that he faced severe poverty with total earnings amounting to under one hundred fifty dollars (Peeples 31). Therefore, since Philadelphia shared the prestige with New York as a publishing center, it offered Poe new publishing opportunities and opened the doors to success (Quinn 268). He found this success editing Burton's Gentleman's Magazine from 1839-1840 and then Graham's Magazine from 1841-1842 (Peeples 74). During this time, Poe delivered lectures on American poetry, published thirty-six tales including "William Wilson," "The Masque of the Red Death," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and also released a collection of stories in 1840 entitled Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (Peoples 74). It was during this peak of Poe's publishing career that he published "The Fall of the House of Usher." This tale relates to various aspects of Poe's life including his occupation as an editor, his battle with alcohol and drugs, his psychological and emotional well-being, and the impact of death on his life and work.
Although Poe found success while working for Burton and Graham, he did not find contentment, for neither Burton's magazine nor Graham's met Poe's expectations of his ideal publication. Poe was frustrated with his career and aspired to edit a magazine of his own, a magazine of ...
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...mes of his publishing career, yet Poe faced many obstacles in his private life during this time including poverty and alcohol abuse. Although his alleged alcohol and drug addictions are issues yet to be settled, they were clearly an influence in his life and work. In addition to his habits regarding alcohol and drugs, his psychological stability has also been called into question. The impact of death, which was prevalent throughout his life, was tremendous. Regardless of the many struggles Poe encounter, he has emerged as one the greatest Romantic writers in American history.
Peeples, Scott. Edgar Allan Poe Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1998.
Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. New York: Coopers Square Publishers, 1969.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Edgar Allan Poe: The Man Behind the Legend. New York: Oxford UP, 1963.