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