EDGAR ALLAN POE BIOGRAPHY

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EDGAR ALLAN POE BIOGRAPHY



Through Edgar Allan Poe's magnificent style of writing, he provided the world with some of the most mystifying poems and short stories. Although not appreciated during his time, Poe has gained considerable recognition after his death. James Russel Lowell stated, in a book by Louis Broussard, "He combines in a very remarkable manner two faculties which are seldom found united: a power of influencing the mind of the reader by the impalpable shadows of mystery, and a minuteness of detail which does not leave a pin or button unnoticed" (7). Poe's controversial writing style, which has been given praise and criticism by others, cannot be compared to that of any other author.
Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Baltimore, Mass., to David and Elizabeth Poe. Poe's father David married an English woman, Elizabeth, who was in the same traveling company. Poe had a brother, Henry, and a sister, Rosaline. Poe's grandfather was referred to as "General Poe of Revolutionary fame," and his great-grandfather was an immigrant laborer who supplied the Revolutionary Army with clothing (Krutch 20).
On December 8, 1811, Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis at the young age of twenty-four. "The image of his mother's young, still, white face was to haunt Edgar for the rest of his life" (Wright 30). When Edgar's father was plagued with tuberculosis, he was taken into the home of John, a prosperous Richmond merchant, and Francis Allan. This is how Edgar received the middle name Allan. Mrs. Allan loved Edgar, but the story seemed different with John. Although the relationship between John and Edgar appeared bitter, John Allan provided Poe with some support during Poe's adulthood.
In 1826 Poe was engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster; however, her parents broke off the engagement. Apparently, she married and her husband passed away around 1848. In 1849 Poe proposed to Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, but she was having difficulty saying "yes"; probably because her late husband's will penalize her for remarrying. If she remarried, she stood to lose control of her late husband's estate and would only receive one-fourth of the income it generated.
The next stage of Poe's life was his enrollment at the University of Charlottesville. John Allan sent Poe here in February of 1826 to study law. Allan only gave Poe a fraction of the money he needed, so Poe was forced to gamble in order to improve his finances; through his gambling, Poe only succeeded in building up massive debts. Poe's gambling debts amounted to be $2,500, that amount would have been about five year's average income at the time (Anderson 21). "Poe, deep in debt, racked with guilt about his gambling… began to drink for the first time" (Wright 31).
After the University of Charlottesville, Poe went back home until March of 1827. Poe stormed out of the house with nothing but his clothes he was wearing, and took a ship to Boston. While in Boston, he persuaded a printer to publish a small edition of his early poems called Tamerlane and other Poems (Wright 31). Although this book received only limited recognition, Poe was not discouraged. In December of 1829, Poe published a second volume of his poems, while in Baltimore, called Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. This book was a revised and enlarged edition of his first book; however, it received hardly more attention than his previous volume (Asselineau 8).
Edgar A. Perry was the name that Poe used to enter the army at the age of eighteen. For eighteen months, Poe was the model soldier, and rose to the rank of sergeant. During his tenure in the army, he began to write poetry in Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. In March of 1829, Francis Allan was on her deathbed, with tuberculosis. When Poe head of this he returned to Richmond immediately, only to find his "mother" buried. While in Richmond, John Allan offered to assist Poe in getting out of the army by hiring a substitute; although, Allan only paid twelve of the seventy-five dollars needed to hire the substitute. When Poe dropped out of the army, John Allan promised to assist him in enrolling at West Point.
On July 1, 1830, Poe enrolled as a cadet officer at West Point. While enrolled at West Point, he published a third book of poems. The same thing happened to Poe at West Point as at the University of Charlottesville - John Allan didn't provide him with adequate funds. In January 1831 Poe wrote to Allan, "You sent me to W. Point like a beggar. The same difficulties are threatening me as before at Charlottesville - and I must resign" (Asselineau 8). Soon, Poe was court-martialed for neglect of duty and disobedience to orders. Poe didn't attend church on January 23, 1831; and refused to attend class on January 25, 1831. "He was not dismissed for drunkenness or rowdyism, as is often alleged" (Anderson 32). After West Point, Poe lived in obscurity in Baltimore and New York from 1831 to 1834.
On March 15, 1835, Poe pleaded with Mr. Kennedy for help in obtaining a position as schoolmaster. Mr. Kennedy replied to Poe's request with an invitation to dinner. Poe's response:

Dear Sir:
Your kind invitation to dinner today has wounded me to the quick. I cannot come and for reasons of the most humiliating nature - my appearance. You may conceive my deep mortification in making this disclosure to you - but it was necessary. If you will be my friend so far as to loan me twenty dollars, I will call on you tomorrow - otherwise it will be impossible, and I must submit to my fate.
Sincerely yours, E. A. Poe (Krutch 44-45).

Kennedy gave him clothing, food from his table, and a horse to use for exercise. He also helped Poe obtain a job as editor of the Southern Literary Magazine. Edgar Allan Poe's position at the Southern Literary Magazine paid ten dollars every week.
On the twenty-second of September 1835, Poe and Virginia Clemm, his cousin, were married in Baltimore. In May of the following year they arranged for a public weeding. On the affidavit, it declared that Virginia was "of the full age of twenty-one," although she was not quite fourteen. In 1842 Virginia was playing the harp and coughed up blood on her dress. This showed that she was in the early stages of tuberculosis. This disease, tuberculosis, had taken Edgar's father, brother, and all of the women he ever loved. Virginia died of tuberculosis on January 30, 1847.
After Virginia's death, Poe had been offered a job on the New York Review. When he had arrived in the city his job seemed to have evaporated in the Panic of 1837, which turned out to be one of the country's worst depressions. While in New York, Poe found an unbelievable offer waiting for him. This offer would allow Poe to finally publish his own magazine. A young man from Illinois, Edward Patterson, wanted to use the money he would inherit on his twenty-fifth birthday to start a literary magazine. Poe would act as the sole editor and Patterson as the publisher, and then the two men would share profits equally. Poe was cautious about this opportunity, and only agreed to the deal if it would be a "five-dollar magazine". Poe wanted the magazine to be elegant; therefore the price was twice that of any of the other popular magazines of the day (Anderson 113). Poe's next literary tenure was in Philadelphia, which he is said to have arrived there in the summer of 1838. While in Philadelphia, Poe had a brief period of success, writing The Fall of the House of Usher. Also, while he was there, he was the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine and then Graham's Magazine. Although Poe was successful in Philadelphia, this brought him no money.
In 1845 Poe reached the height of his fame. Poe was offered the editorship of Graham's Magazine, only if he gave up his irregular behavior (Nevins 287). Under his management Graham's Magazine had become perhaps the most important magazine in America. Before Poe began at Graham's Magazine the distribution of the magazine was five thousand copies, but with Poe at the helm, distribution rose to thirty-five thousand copies. At Graham's Magazine, Poe made a salary of eight hundred dollars a year, compared to the ten dollars a week he made at the Southern Literary Magazine.
On October 3, 1849, Poe was found in a terrible state, dressed in borrowed clothes and a fine malacca cane. When he was found, a note was written to J. E. Snodgrass that stated:

Dear Sir,
There is a gentleman; rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's fourth ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, and says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you he is in need or immediate assistance.
Yours in haste,
Jos. W. Walker (Walsh 46).

Poe was rushed to Washington College Hospital where he fluttered between violent delirium and rambling consciousness for four day

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