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Edgar Allan Poe
Death Theories
Writing Style
Poe's Influence on Lit
Selected Texts
Poe Psychological Analysis
Photo Gallery
Additional Commentaries

The Life of Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe created and is most noted for the short story, detective fiction, science fiction, lyric poetry and the horror story.


Poe was born in Boston January 19, 1809 and died October 7, 1849 in Baltimore. Poe's parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins died before he was 3 years old. He was taken into the home of John Allan, and baptized Edgar Allan Poe. Form 1815 to 1820 he studied in England. Six year later, he entered the University of Virginia, where he studied for a year, before Mr. Allan stopped supplying him with money causing Poe to run up debts and

eventually leave Virginia and head to Boston where he released Tamerlane and Other Poems.


In Boston, Poe enlisted in The United States Army as a private using the name Edgar A. Perry. After two years of service, during which he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant-major, he secured, with Mr. Allan's aid, a discharge from the Army and went to Baltimore. He then went on to live with his aunt, Mrs. Maria Poe Clemm, on the small amounts of money sent by Mr. Allan until he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


During this time, Poe published a second book of poetry in 1829, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems. After yet another fight with Allan, who had married a second wife in 1830, Poe no longer received aid from his foster father. Poe then took the only method of release from the Academy, and got himself dismissed.



AFter Poe left West Point, a third volume was released, Poems by Edgar Allan Poe, Second Edition. While living in Baltimore with his aunt, Mrs. Clemm, young Poe began writing prose tales. Five of these appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier in 1832.


 Poe began editing the Southern Literary Messenger for Thomas W. White in Richmondin the December issues of 1835; he held this position until January, 1837. During this time, Poe married his young cousin, Virginia Clemm in Richmond on May 16, 1836.



Poe's  reviews and tales made him a widely renouned author; however, he failed to find a publisher for a volume of burlesque tales, Tales of the Folio Club. Harpers did, however, print his book-length narrative, Arthur Gordon Pym in July of 1838.



Not much is known about Poe's life after he left the Messenger; however, in 1838 he went to Philadelphia where he lived for six years. He was an editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine from July, 1839 to June, 1840, and of Graham's Magazine from April, 1841 to May, 1842. In April, 1844, with barely car fare for his family of three, [including his aunt, Virginia's mother, who lived with them], Poe went to New York where he found work on the New York Evening Mirror.



In 1840, Poe's Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque was published in two volumes in Philadelphia. In 1845, Poe became regarded as a celebrity with the success of his poem "The Raven," and in March of that year, he joined C. F. Briggs in an effort to publish The Broadway Journal. Also in 1845,Wiley and Putnam issued Tales by Edgar A. Poe and The Raven and Other Poems.



TIn 1846, Poe rented the little cottage at Fordham, where he lived the last three years of his life. In 1886, the Broadway Journal failed, and Virginia became very ill and died on January 30, 1847. After his wife's death, Poe often bent towards alcoholism to help him cope.


Poe's death remains a mystery; after a visit to Norfolk and Richmond for lectures, he was found in Baltimore in a pitiable condition and taken unconscious to a hospital where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849. He was buried in the yard of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

A Coral Gables High School Webquest Project