Edgar Allan Poe

by Rhea from Annapolis

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Edgar Allan Poe had a very hard early life. He was born in Boston in 1809, the son of impoverished traveling actors. Very soon after he was born, his father deserted the family, then a year later, his mother died.

The family of John Allan took him in and treated him as their own, but they never officially adopted him. Later in life, the Allan's paid for his education, but understandably, they refused to pay for his gambling debts. He was expelled from the University of Virginia because of those debts.

Poe joined the army under an assumed name in 1827. During this same period of time, he also began his professional career as a writer. He published his first volume of poetry called, Tamerlane and Other Poems. Two years later, he wrote the second volume, Al Aaraaf. In 1830, his stepfather, John Allan, helped Poe win an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point. Within a year, however, Poe was expelled for academic violations. The expulsion resulted in an irreparable break in ties with his stepfather.

During the second half of his short life, Poe went after a literary career in New York, Richmond, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. He worked as an editor for many magazines, but just barely supported himself. In 1831, Poe wrote his third volume of poetry called, Poems. This volume did not bring him any money or recognition, so he turned to writing fiction and literary criticism. Five of these short stories were published in newspapers in 1832. Later though, in 1838, he published his one and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Also, in 1845 Poe wrote The Raven, and gained some recognition, but he still was never able to rise above financial poverty.

In 1847 Poe’s wife, Virginia, died. Two years later, in 1849, Poe passed away to the heavens as well.

In his stories, Poe used a literary method called single effect. He believed that every character, event, and even the smallest detail needed to support the main theme. He stated that if a writer's “very initial sentence tends not to outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step.” He was obviously a very talented and devoted writer who knew what effect he wanted to create for the reader.

I believe that Poe is a hero because of the legacy he left behind. Even through hardships, Poe managed to rise above, to keep trying, and to still love others. Since his death, his work has “been a magnet for attention.” He is known as the inventor of the detective story, and has also been widely recognized as the inventor of the psychological thrillers. His ability to keep working showed his very strong work ethic, and I admire this very much in him. I think that he is an incredible role model. His hardships just go to show how the human spirit can rise above anything if it is determined enough to do so.

Page created on 5/7/2005 2:10:02 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 7:34:09 PM

Related Links

The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
Poe Museum
Edgar Allan Poe as a philosopher hero - MY HERO story by Amanda from San Diego - is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

Extra Info


1)Netscape Search: Edgar Allan Poe Pictures
3)Netscape search results: The Works of Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849(Page created by Gibson Grafx Graphics Copyright © 1996-2002 Gibson Grafx. All Rights Reserved)
4) and sites listed above

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