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The Beautiful Torment of Poe

Updated on December 5, 2013

Death Becomes Him

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe | Source

Poe's Life

Edgar Allan Poe is one of America’s favorite and most
respected authors.He is also my one of my favorite
authors, and I've fallen in love with his dark
writing. I've noticed that the themes and styles of
his works were as capricious as his mood and life.
Though not celebrated in life, he has gained enormous
value and importance worldwide since his death.

Edgar Poe was born on January 19,1809 in Boston
Massachusetts. His parents
( David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins ), were
both actors and had two other children(another boy and
a girl). Allegedly Edgar’s father left the family and
Elizabeth was left to take care of her three
children.By the time Edgar was three he was an
orphan, both of his parents having died, the father's
death mysterious while his mother succumbed to an
illness. Edgar was taken in by by John and Frances
Allan and was christened Edgar Allan Poe shortly
after.Between 1814 and 1825 Edgar traveled back and
forth from England to Virginia, from school to
school.In 1824 young Edgar writes his first poem, a
two-liner:from “…Last night, with many
cares & toils oppres’d, Weary, I laid me on a couch to

In 1826 Edgar Allan Poe, when he was 17 years old,
started his first and only year of college. Edgar was
a bright student but was addicted to gambling and
this led to him being in debt.There were times where
Poe would use his poems as currency but it was not
enough to keep his troubles with money away. Poe's
debts led to the infamous quarrel between John Allan
and Edgar Allan Poe, where Edgar pleads with John
Allan for him to pay off his debt but to no avail.
Edgar leaves the Allan residence and joins the United
States Army under the alias “Edgar A. Perry”. That
same year, 1827, Edgar has Tamerlane and other poems
published without any fanfare.

In 1829 Edgar Allan Poe was discharged from the Army
and Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and other poems is released
by the Baltimore by Hatch and Dunning publisher.In
1830 Poe got accepted to West Point , but by the end
of that year he was dismissed from there because he
never followed the commands.From that point on Poe
develops a pattern in both his professional and
personal life, a cycle, if you will. Edgar went from
job to job, varying from literary critic to poet, to
short story writer and editor.Poe was also unlucky
with love, experiencing rejection, sickness and death.
His alcoholism played a big part in the cycle, causing
him to live in near poverty, getting fired and being
depressed.In a way, I've had a similar fate as Poe,
and I feel that he had a lot of talent but, like me,
we tend to manipulate our destinies and use our
Capricorn-like traits to our disadvantages.

In Edgar Allan Poe’s works one can see not only the
dark side of life, but also his way with words “…
Poe’s extraordinary manipulation of rhythm and sound
is particularly evident in ‘The Bells’(1849), a poem
that seems to echo with the chiming of metallic
instruments..”from Mr. Poe
had an astonishing
vocabulary and style, his poems flowing like a song,
hypnotizing the reader, while his short stories were
filled with little surprises, twisting and turning
around until you get bombshell.
That’s why Edgar is considered to be the author of
the first modern detective story(Murder in the Rue
Morgue)-he leads you through the story and when you
think you're going left, he takes you right! Edgar was
also known as a very witty and sarcastic literary
critic, who poked fun at other author's works while
thouroughly analyzing them. Poe was influenced by Lord
Byron and Mary Shelley amongst others, having a
peculiar mix of romance and horror.

Edgar Allan Poe won his first prize($50)for “Ms.
Found in a Bottle” in 1833, and ten years later Poe
won another prize, $100, for “The Gold-Bug” in a
contest by the Dollar Newspaper.It was “The
Raven”(January 19,1845) though, that made Poe popular,
finally having one of his works reprinted. After this,
Poe started to give lectures and gained some
recognition. Mr. Poe continued, a few years after, to
write and travel while courting a couple of women. On
October 7, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe was found on the
streets of Baltimore, delirious, and dies a while
after.Up until his death Edgar Allan Poe struggled
with life while producing countless literary works. In
1880 John Henry Ingron released Edgar Allan Poe:His
life, Letters, and Opinions, a biography, and in 1910
Edgar Allan Poe was inducted in the Hall of Fame in
New York.

According to www.encarta “Poe’s theories on
the nature of fiction and, in particular, his writings
on the short story have had a lasting influence on
American and European writers.”, including Conan
Doyle, Nathanael West, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Even
though I've not read the aforementioned authors, they
have counted Poe as an influence, and maybe that would
influence an avid poe reader such as myself to read
their works also. Since Poe’s works ranged from Gothic
to poetic to constructive criticism it is easy to see
why various authors from all over would consider Edgar
Allan Poe an influence.

Edgar Allan Poe when he was 10 years old

A young Poe with "Mrs. Allan"
A young Poe with "Mrs. Allan" | Source

"With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion"

Poe's personal struggles may have added appeal to his macabre persona

"Each time I felt all the agonies of her(Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe,Poe's wife) death—and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly & clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive—nervous in a very unusual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."-Edgar Allan Poe wrote in a letter

The Tell-Tale Heart by Annette Jung

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."


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