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Overview for Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe


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Also Known As: Edgar Poe Died: October 7, 1849
Born: January 19, 1809 Cause of Death: Undetermined
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA Profession: Writer ...


Credited by many as the father of the modern mystery story, Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in Boston in 1809. Poe's father abandoned him while he was still an infant, and his mother died a year later, leaving the young Poe to be taken in by a successful Scottish merchant in Virginia named John Allan. Poe was subsequently educated at various English boarding schools before returning to the U.S. to attend the University of Virginia. Hounded by romantic woes and gambling problems, he only lasted at the school for only a year. Next, he enrolled at West Point, but soon discovered that he was no better suited to the military environment, and purposefully neglected his duties so that he would be kicked out. All the while, Poe nurtured a love of writing. He published books of poetry under various pseudonyms and eventually moved into prose, winning a prize from the Baltimore Saturday Visiter in 1833 for his story "MS. Found in a Bottle." This led to Poe becoming the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and later, . He added to his dubious reputation in 1835 when he married his first cousin Virginia Clemm when he was 26 and she was just 13. He published stories now considered classics, such as "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum," to middling acclaim, and suffered a breakdown when Virginia died of tuberculosis in 1842. Though Poe's famous poem "The Raven" did prove to be a sensation when it was published in 1845, he nonetheless earned only nine dollars from the piece. Indeed, much of the respect and admiration that would one day make Poe a vital figure in American literature would not come within his lifetime. Dogged by alcohol addiction and continually defrauded by the poor copyright laws of the time, he died in 1849 at the age of 40.

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