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The Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who were traveling actors. His father David Poe Jr. died probably in 1810. Elizabeth Hopkins Poe died in 1811, leaving three children. Edgar was taken into the home of a merchant from Richmond named John Allan. The remaining children were cared for by others. Poe's brother William died young and sister Rosalie later became insane. At the age of five Poe could recite passages of English poetry. Later one of his teachers in Richmond said: "While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet." Poe was brought up partly in England (1815-20), where he attended Manor School at Stoke Newington. Later it became the setting for his story 'William Wilson'. Since Poe was never legally adopted, he took Allan's name for his middle name. Poe attended the University of Virginia (1826-27), but was expelled for not paying his gambling debts. His expulsion led to a quarrel with Allan, who refused to pay the debts. Allan later disowned him. In 1826 Poe became engaged to Elmira Royster, but her parents broke off the engagement. During his stay at the university, Poe wrote some stories, but not much is known of his beginning works. In 1827 Poe joined the U.S. Army as a common soldier under an assumed name, Edgar A. Perry. He was sent to Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, which provided settings for his tales 'The Gold Bug' (1843) and 'The Balloon Hoax' (1844). Tamerlane and O...
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