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Edgar Allan Poe Trivia

Updated on September 12, 2012
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He lived one of the most troubled, saddest, and complicated lives of anyone. Here are some highlights and low points of his life.

He was abandoned by his father David Poe, and his mother Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe died in 1811 when he was just 3 years old. He was taken in by John Allan, a tobacco merchant and his wife Frances. He took the family name though never fully adopted, and moved to Richmond Virginia. He was raised to be proper Southern gentlemen in antebellum America. His stepmother loved him dearly, but his step father berated him constantly. She died when he is 20, making her the second mother Edgar had lost. He was left nothing by his stepfather when John Allan died in 1834. Edgar was 25; abandoned again by another father.

Poe attended West Point briefly, and even went to the University of Virginia for one semester before he could no longer afford it. In 1836, he married his cousin Virginia Clements who was 13 years his junior.

He worked tirelessly as a writer and poet. He became the assistant editor of “Burton’s Gentlemen Magazine” in 1839. He worked for “Graham’s Magazine” in 1840. He worked for the “Evening Mirror” for a short time. He worked for, and then owned, the “Broadway Journal” in 1845, but the paper failed in 1846.

He attempted to meet and secure an appointment with the Tyler administration around 1842, and tried to get a job at the Custom House in Philadelphia, which didn’t go through. He even missed a meeting to discuss a position, because he was drunk.

In January of 1845 he published “The Raven” he most famous and critically acclaimed and made some 14 dollars for it.

He struggled his whole life to make enough money to feed his wife. When she became ill in 1842, he worked 14 hours a day and still could barely keep enough wood in the fireplace to stay warm. She died at the young age of 25 of consumption (tuberculosis) on January 30, 1847. At this point in Poe’s life, he had hit rock bottom. He tried hard to piece his life together but nothing ever became of his efforts.

Edgar Allan Poe was found lying in the gutter in someone else’s clothing in Baltimore, Maryland on October 3, 1849 and taken to the hospital. After 5 days of semi-consciousness, he died on Sunday October 7, 1849 at 5:00 am from an unknown ailment and under mysterious circumstances at the age of forty. His last words were, “Lord, help my poor soul.”

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He’s remembered mostly as a drug abuser and an alcoholic, but he wrote some of the greatest America horror fiction in history and even influenced the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, a literary legend in his own right, and Stephen King.

He’s known as the father of modern detective story with the classics, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Purloined Letter” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget”. He invented the classic detective archetype with C. Auguste Dupin. This character would influence the creation of later detectives such Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Bruce Wayne aka Batman, and more modern television characters on such as Gregory House, and The Mentalist‘s Patrick Jane.

Over 200 films or television shows have been based on his works; many Vincent Price movies such as Tales of Terror, The Pit and The Pendulum and The House of Usher are dramatizations of his stories. Countless books and biographies have centered on him. Even Jim Morrison of The Doors was influenced by him.

It’s an amazing journey; A struggling writer whose published work brought him no income, and yet his poetry is embraced and celebrated two centuries later. His legacy is still with us today as fans pay tribute to him by visiting his grave every year; The Poe Toaster, an unknown person, has left three roses and half a bottle of cognac at his grave for 60 years (1949-2009); the last time marking Poe’s 200th birthday. May his work live on through those who enjoy it, and may his story be a reminder that even a troubled soul can beget greatness.


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      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      You have honored one of the greatest poets that lived, be it as poverty ridden and consumed with alcohol and drug related problems. Nevertheless his genius would be hailed and recognized for his mighty talent 200 yrs plus after his demise. I lift a glass to this great man and I honor him in from my soul. a toast to thee fellow poet and scribe. RIP always.

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      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from Modesto, CA

      Thank you for reading. I'm glad you found it interesting!

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Thanks for this hub. I also wrote about Poe because I'm a fan of his writing. Yes, it's sad about his relationships and early life and sadder still to think maybe it was his alcoholic tendencies that caused him to deteriorate. But, we will never really know for truth.

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      Poetic Fool 5 years ago

      Poe led such an interesting and tragic life. Unfortunately, it wasn't uncommon for great writers to go relatively unnoticed in their generation only to receive adulation long after their passing. It makes you wonder what else he might have written had his life taken a different track! Thanks for the interesting and educational hub.

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      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from Modesto, CA


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      Edgar Arkham 5 years ago from Modesto, CA

      Thanks for the vote up! I thought a fitting tribute to him on his birthday was in order.

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      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      My wife's been on a Vincent Price mood lately, so I've seen a lot of Poe on Netflix. Good stuff.

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      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Great hub about this tortured genius of a writer. I often think that it was the tradgedy and the sadness of his life that brought out so much creativity within him. Even after 200+ years Poe is still being read and admired - I wonder how many modern authors will have that tribute when they are gone?

      Excellent hub + voted up!