DEC. 27, 1998
Edgar Allen Poe is one of the most famous American writers, he is also known as a poet and a critic but he is most known as the master of the short story form. This essay will is about Edgar Allen poes life and it describes what a tough life he had for example his mother died when he was a kid his father was a drunk and after his mother died he and his brother and sister were orphaned his so called father didnt really consider him much of a son he sent Poe to college but thats as far as he went because once he got there he was on his own, and so on. This essay also includes some of the things that Poe had to go through to become a writer and some of his most famous works as THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, and THE RAVEN.
Edgar Allen Poe son of the actress Eliza Poe and actor David Poe Jr., was born January 19, 1809. His father was from a good Baltimore family and drunk heavily. His mother however was a good actress but she died of tuberculosis in Richmond Virginia in December of 1811.
After this at the age of 3, Edgar and his brother and sister were orphaned. Edgar went to the home of John and Fanny Allan who lived in Richmond, VA. John Allan was a successful merchant. In 1815 they went to England for five years where he attended private school. Edgar was athletic and smart. As Edgar got older though he started feeling worse and more lowly than the other boys. He fell in love with one of his friend’s mother whose name was Mrs. Jane Stanard. Her parents disapproved of the relationship so they broke it off. Though his foster father wanted him to go into business, he managed to go to the University of Virginia in 1826.
He then studied French, Spanish, Italian, and Latin and could read Byron and Campbell. He was in trouble from the day he stepped in. Mr. Allan had not given him enough money to pay for his expenses so he took to gambling and drinking. He reached points where his debt was up to $2,000. His father” refused to pay these debts so his education ended and he decided to leave for Boston in March 1827. He there enlisted as a common soldier under the name Edgar A. Perry. He was stationed at Charleston for over a year, he adapted well to the military discipline and moved through the ranks quickly. He soon became bored of military life and he wrote to his father reconciling with him after the death of his mother in 1829.
With his dad’s help he got discharged to West Point on July 1, 1830. At West Point the same thing happened. Mr. Allen did not give him enough money. He decided then to get expelled and he did so. In 1831 more desperate then ever he published a new set of poem untitled Second Edition. Poe had many difficulties. He had settled in NY, buthe couldn’t find a job. he asked his dad for help but got no answer. He finally set up with his aunt, Mrs. Clem in Baltimore. He failed as a poet but turned to story writing. Now is when his short stories started to surface. He competed for best short story with entries from the Philadelphia Saturday Courier. He did not win this contest but all the stories were eventually published in the paper.
In 1833 The Saturday Visitor of Baltimore announced a literary contest with prizes of fifty dollars for best short story and twenty five for best poem. Poe sent in many stories and MS. Found in a Bottle won the story prize and his poem would have won but they decided not to let the same person win both. It was not much money but a novelist took an interest to Poe and made friends with him by helping him to sell short story to the new Southern Literary Messenger of Richmond. Poe joined the staff of the magazine and soon became the editor. Many of his own stories appeared in the magazine. Once his job was set, he invited his aunt and her daughter to come live with him. Later he married his cousin Virginia who was much younger than him. He was good at his job making a name for himself and the magazine.
Poe had many problems, he still drank heavily and was dismissed from the magazine rehired and fired for the same reason again. They then moved to NY where Mrs. Clemm opened up a boarding house to support them. Poe couldn’t find a job but he published a story called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. This story was so convincing critics thought that it was a record of a real voyage. They moved again to Philadelphia where he started editing Burton’s Gentlemens magazine. A contract said he had to write one story of suspense or horror per month. These stories were collected and published under the title Tales of The Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840. When Burton’s was sold Poe became the editor of the new one, Graham’s magazine. In this magazine was printed his first detective story The Murders in Rue Morgue. This story attracted attention for his detective Duping and his method of “logical deduction”. In 1843 The Golden Bug won $100 prize from the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. A little later he left his job to once again live in New York.
At about this time he wrote the poem The Raven. This is Poe’s best poem. It is haunting and theatrical. With this poem Poe reached the height of his fame. His reputation brought him little money though. Poe got another editorial job and wrote sketches for Godey’s Lady’s Book. He never kept these jobs very long though. Alcoholism and a mental disorder led to Poe being quarrelsome and unreasonable. One of his stories was titled The Imp of the Perverse. This imp seemed to posses Poe.
He had tantrums and gave verbal attacks that offended the people that could have helped Poe’s career the most. Throughout this time in his life the two women, his wife and aunt were unconditionally loving and caring. Virginia was sweet and gentle but kind of simpleminded. She did not understand Poe’s moments of genius. She did give him unquestioned love which helped him. She liked clipping and pasting the long scrolls he wrote. Poe was at his best around these two, because they cared about him. He was affectionate toward his aunt and rather tender around his wife Virginia. She was slowly dying of tuberculosis. This family finally made the move to a cottage in Fordham, a village about thirteen miles outside New York. Mrs. Clemm tidied the place up and called the master room “dear Eddie’s study”. They made it through summer but in autumn they ran out of fuel to warm the house. Virginia, his wife got worse as he sank into deeper and deeper sadness. In the middle of winter Virginia died. With his wife gone, his last nerve went too. He worked vigorously on a book Eureka, which he believed was the truth. It was only a scientific theory, which came from his state of sadness. He then wandered from one city to another to Richmond and finally on to Baltimore where he died in 1849.
Poe began the American short story in his lifetime. Poe perfected the art of short stories and he influenced many famous authors. He has remained the best in creating a weary and scary atmosphere of horror and suspense. This comes out most in the raven and the fall of the house of usher. his poetry has not yet been matched. Poe was a genius but also a disturbed man. He always gave out a scary and sinking sensation in each story that he wrote. Poe gives an eerie feeling best proved by The Fall of the House of Usher. Poe’s life is best described by the quotation from Francis Bacon (Irish-born British painter, whose highly individual expressionistic style, based on images of terror and outrage made him one of the most original artists of the 20th-century) which says “There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in proportions”.