Known as a top-tier American writer, Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in the United States. He was such a great writer and was seen to be far ahead of his time. He wrote poetry, criticism, and fiction, and was also a magazine editor. He explored his inner world of imagination and dreams, giving rise to profound arts, tales, and poems such as ‘The Raven,’ ‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’ ‘The Cask of Amontillado,’ and ‘Annabel Lee.’ His parents were stage actors, and there are speculations that he was named after a character in Shakespeare’s tragedy, “King Lear.” We think that is pretty awesome since Shakespeare was and continues to be an icon. Let’s toast to this great poet right here on his special day!
Edgar Allan Poe
Tomahawk Man, Father of the Detective Story
January 19, 1809
October 7, 1849 (age 40)
His mysterious and macabre tales continue to send a chill down our spines, but we wouldn’t have it any other way while we delve into Edgar Allan Poe’s creative mind through his poetry. Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. He had two siblings, an older brother and a younger sister, and their parents were David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth ‘Eliza’ Arnold Poe. In a series of unfortunate events, their father, David, abandoned the family in 1810 and his mother passed away the following year, leaving the three children orphaned at young ages. The children had to be taken to live in different homes. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond. He took Frances’ name ‘Poe’ later on in his life as his middle name.
Although Poe was never fully adopted, Allan showed affection for him, but as Poe grew up, Allan disapproved of his writer ambitions. He had previously been educated in private academies but was cut out of John’s will because he thought Poe was being ungrateful. This made Poe venture out on his own with the little money he had and he joined the University of Virginia in 1826. After months of gambling and trying to make money, he lost 2,000 dollars, which affected his relationship with John Allan for a number of years. It was in 1827 that Poe published “Tamerlane and Other Poems,” after enlisting in the United States Army. He, however, failed as an officer cadet and firmly declared his wish to be a writer and poet. During this time he parted ways with John Allan, even though they had reached a rapprochement in 1829 after his death.
Poe moved to Baltimore with his aunt, Maria Clemm, who had a seven-year-old daughter, Virginia, whom he married in 1836, and they all moved to Richmond. Poe continued writing different items, including poems and essays, and received the opportunity to work as the editor of “Graham’s Magazine” in 1841. Sadly, Poe did not have the best lifestyle habits, and he was greatly affected by Virginia’s illness, who began showing signs of consumption and later died in 1847. Poe was to be married to Mrs. Shelton but, unfortunately, while on his way to bring his aunt back from New York City where she lived to Richmond for their wedding, something strange happened. Poe was found unconscious on October 3, 1849, in Baltimore, Maryland, where he had made what was supposed to be a brief stop. He was taken to a hospital where he passed away four days later.
Poe gets his first job working at the “Southern Literary Messenger” in Richmond, landing an editorial position after winning a short story contest.
He receives the opportunity to work as the assistant editor of “Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine,” publishing several stories, articles, and reviews.
After submitting a story, ‘The Gold-Bug,’ as an entry to a writing contest, Poe wins the grand prize of $100, and his story is published in three installments in Philadelphia’s “Dollar Newspaper.”
‘The Purloined Letter’ shows what can be done with the detective story form; posthumously, Poe is given credit for the invention of detective stories by featuring C. Auguste Dupin, through whom the world discovers fictional detectives such as Sherlock Holmes.
Poe writes a poem that instantly becomes very popular and appears in the “Evening Mirror,” a daily newspaper, making Poe a household name.
Why We Love Edgar Allan Poe
His work has inspired authors
His work in mystery and psychological thrillers has inspired many more authors to walk the same path. One such author is the late Agatha Christie, who wrote 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections.
Poe gives us all the feels
He connects with human emotions so deeply through his writing. Through his work, we understand grief, fear, sadness, admiration, horror, nostalgia, and many other emotions.
His writing is timeless
His writing has not aged a bit, even though it is two centuries later. It has gone as far as influencing music, art, and even literature taught in schools.
5 Surprising Facts
Poe used the ‘short story’ term first
Poe, in his preface to “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,” once wrote, “‘I have written five-and-twenty short stories whose general character may be so briefly defined,” making him the first person to use the term.
Baltimore Ravens’ name honors Poe
The Baltimore Ravens, an American football team, is named in honor of Poe and is from his 1845 poem, “The Raven.”
“The Simpsons’” episode on “The Raven”
In “The Simpsons” episode, ‘Treehouse of Horror,’ Lisa reads “The Raven” by Poe, where Bart plays the raven, Homer narrates, and satirically uses James Earl Jones’ voice in narration.
Poe inspired movie creations
There are five movies inspired by his stories and poems: “The Fall of the House of Usher and the Pit and the Pendulum,” “Lunacy,” “Extraordinary Tales,” “Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery & Imagination,” and “The Raven.”
Poe’s Siamese cat helped him write
He had a Siamese cat that he would place on his shoulder each time he was about to begin writing a poem.
Edgar Allan Poe FAQs
What influenced his writing?
Poe’s writing is largely attributed to the rough childhood he experienced. Through his work, we see how he greatly incorporated elements of dark romanticism.
Who provided Edgar Allan Poe’s coffin at his funeral?
Poe’s uncle, Henry Herring, provided a simple mahogany coffin for his funeral.
How many members of Poe's family died of tuberculosis?
His biological mother and his wife both died of tuberculosis, which was called ‘consumption’ back in the day.
Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday dates