April 29, 2013

Edgar Allan Poe Quick Facts

Edgar Allan Poe

A 19th Century American poet , critic, and short-story writer
  • Full Name: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Birth: January 19, 1809
  • Death: October 07, 1849
  • Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Place of Death: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Cause of death: Unknown
  • Buried at: Westminster Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
  • Father: David Poe, Jr. (1784 –1811)
  • Mother: Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe (1787 –1811)
  • Foster Father: John Allan (1779-1834)
  • Foster Mother: Frances Keeling Valentine Allan (1785–1829)
  • Siblings: One elder brother: William Henry Leonard Poe (1807–1831), and one younger sister: Rosalie Poe (1810–1874)
  • Marriage: September 22, 1835
  • Spouse: Virginia Clemm
  • Children: None       
  • Education: University of Virginia, U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Known for:  initiating the modern detective story
  • Criticised for: drug and alcohol abuse
  • Influences: was filled with tragedies that all influenced his craft.
  • Influenced: Charles Baudelaire (1821 – 1867), Jules Verne (1828 – 1905) and H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937)


“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
 Only this, and nothing more."
Edger Allan Poe, "The Raven"

Major Themes:

  • Death
  • Insanity
  • The subconscious self
  • The double self
  • Curiosity
  • Impermanence and uncertainty
  • Obsession
  • Nature
  • The human imagination
  • Hope and despair
  • Love and hate
  • The power of human resolve

Notable Works:

Poetry Collections
  • Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827)
  • Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829)
  • Lenore (1843)
  • The Raven and Other Poems (1845)
  • Ulalume (1847)
  • Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848)
  • Annabel Lee (1849)
  • Berenice (1835)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
  • Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1939)
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
  • The Masque of the Red Death (1842)
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (1842)
  • The Black Cat (1843)
  • The Tell-Tale Heart (1843)
  • The Purloined Letter (1845)
  • The Cask of Amontillado (1846)
  • The Oval Portrait (1850)
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1850)

Did You Know?

  • His parents were actors.
  • Both of his parents died of tuberculosis.
  • He was born the same year as Abraham Lincoln.
  • His parents died when he was only 3 years old.
  • At the age of 26 he married his 13 year old cousin Virginia Clemm.
  • During marriage Virginia listed her age as 21 on the marriage certificate.
  • Virginia was the biggest source of Poe’s literary inspiration.
  • Poe usually wrote with cats sitting on his shoulder.
  • Many critics ascribe him as the "Father of the Detective Story".
  • Poe has been called the American Shakespeare.
  • His undoubted masterpiece The Raven is attributed to the death of his wife.
  • He was paid only 9 dollars for The Raven.
  • He attempted suicide in 1848.
  • He died at the age of 40.
  • During death his last words were "Lord, help my poor soul".
  • Poe never had financial success in his lifetime.
  • His poetry collection Tamerlane and Other Poems  was published anonymously at his own expense, but it failed to attract notice.
  • On Nov 1824, Poe wrote his first notable poem “Last night, with many cares & toils oppres'd,/ Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest."
  • On Jul 1838, Poe's first novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, was published.
  • He is buried next to his mother-in-law and his wife.
  • He joined the army under the false name Edgar A. Perry.
  • Poe was found half dead on a street; the cause of his death was unknown it was either too much alcohol, a heart attack, murder, rabies or various diseases.
  • Poe established the detective genre with his  The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841's).
  • Poe assaulted Longfellow in written by calling him a plagiarist.
  • Poe is assumed to have been named after character in William Shakespeare's King Lear, a play in which his parents performed in 1809.
  • By 1843 Poe’s financial condition worsen to such an extent that he had to stand on the street for asking money from people.
  • The Baltimore Ravens football team is named after Poe's poem The Raven.
  • John Allan, his foster father was against Poe’s ambition to become a writer.
  • John Allan was so disappointed with Poe that he excluded him from his will.
  • Majority of his works were inspired by his life.
  • Poe drank excess in numerous occasions in his life.
  • Most of the houses that he lived in are now museums.
  • As he did not receive sufficient money from John Allan to continue his study at University of Virginia, Poe resorted to gambling to cover that expense.
  • After his demise his literary opponent Rufus Griswold sought to violate Poe’s reputation by writing a false biography.
  • On Feb 28, 1829 Poe's foster mother, Frances Allan dies in Richmond.
  • On Aug 1, 1831 Poe's older brother Henry died of either tuberculosis or cholera.
  • Poe hardly used his middle name as he had a bad relationship with his foster father.
  • On January 30, 1847, Virginia Poe died of tuberculosis.
  • On November 1848, Poe proposed to a poet named Sarah Helen Whitman, who agreed on the condition that he should quit drinking. A month later Whitman cancelled the engagement as Poe failed to keep his promise.
  • On August 1849, Engaged Again with his childhood beloved Elmira Royster Shelton.
  • The death of his mother, foster mother and wife provided him inspiration him to write poems and short stories.


 “Edgar Allan Poe.”. Wikipedia. 2013. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 5 April 2012
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe>.

 “Edgar Allan Poe.” Biography. 1996–2013. A+E Television Networks, LLC. 5 April 2012
< http://www.biography.com/people/edgar-allan-poe-9443160>.

“Edgar Allan Poe Biography.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2013.
Advameg, Inc. 5 April 2012

“5 interesting facts on Edgar Allan Poe.” Raul Gomez. 2013. Raul Gomez. 5 April 2012

“5 Things You Didn't Know About Edgar Allan Poe.” 2012. Mental Floss.
Mental Floss. 5 April 2012
< http://mentalfloss.com/article/26905/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-edgar-allan-poe>.
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