ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

short synopsis of Edgar Allen Poe

Updated on April 23, 2011

             Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1809 to Elizabeth and David Poe. His mother was a struggling actress. His father was on his way to a respectable acting career, but liquor destroyed his life. Edgar was their second child. He was born in Boston on January 19. One year after his birth his father deserted him. In December of 1811 Poe’s mother died at age 24 while acting in Richmond, Virginia. His father disappeared and died soon after at the age of 27.

Poe’s life was obviously very unstable for the first two years, but this period of turmoil was followed by a time of stability. John Allan a rich young man in Richmond took Poe into his family. “Master Allan” took Poe to England in 1815 with his family. In 1820 they returned and Poe continued his schooling. Poe supposedly had a time of depression over his past and uncertain future during this time. In 1824 his foster father’s attitude toward him changed somewhat. Some suggest that it all stemmed from Poe taking the side of his foster mother in an argument with his foster father. In 1826 he was attending the University of Virginia, and he was even doing well in his studies. However, he had begun drinking at college. He gambled under the excuse that Allan had not sent him enough money. Having lost about two thousand dollars Poe returned to Alan who refused to pay the debt. Allan and Poe got into an argument in 1827, which drove Poe to flee to Baltimore to meet up with his extended family. In 1829 Poe and Allan were somewhat “reconciled”. Poe joined the Army and went to West Point in 1830. He eventually was kicked out because he did not do his work.

Poe’s mature career began at age twenty-five and lasted until his death at age forty. These years were spent in four literary centers- Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York.

The Baltimore years (1831-1835) were years of great industry and sobriety. During this time Poe secretly married his cousin Virginia who was only thirteen. A few newspapers and magazines also published him during this time.

In 1835 he returned to Richmond and became assistant editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. He was paid good enough money to support his family.It was during this time that he became nationally acclaimed as a “literary hatchet man”.

In 1837 he was fired from the Southern Literary Messenger, and left for New York. During this time his career was hit and miss. He wrote here and there for some papers. In 1842 his wife burst a blood vessel in her throat. This led to her death five years later.

In 1844 Poe moved his family to New York. His best year was 1845 when his magazine articles took off. He also worked for the Sunday Times. He was even invited to lecture on poetry at large seminars, but Poe marred all of these opportunities the same way that his father had ruined his opportunities- alcohol. During much of 1847 Poe was ill. This seemed to cool off all of his new found fame. He went back to Richmond for the remainder of his life, where his old friends accepted him. One day he was found drunk near a polling place on an election day, and he was taken to the hospital. He died on October7, 1849, of “congestion of the brain”.

Poe lived his life irresponsibly. He sought wealth and comfort. His poems will bless generations to come, but his lifestyle will haunt all those who read about it. It is sad how easily liquor takes hold on the best of people.

Before Poe died he wrote a composition. This composition is unique because it is the work of a writer showing how he writes. It details the science of how Poe set out on a work. It held nothing back.

Poe began by describing the steps he took before writing. His first consideration was the length of the work. He wrote that a work should not be too long to read in one sitting. He explained that, if two sittings were required, the world would interfere between the two sittings. He considered one hundred and eight lines to be the proper length for a poem.

His next concern was the impression or effect he would convey to the reader. He argued, “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of a poem”. His efforts were to impress the reader with beauty and its elements. He then points out that the tone of his poem must be decided. His experience brought him to the acceptance of sadness as the best tone when beauty is the province.

His next goal was to order the poem through points, or pivotal moments. He points out the importance of using one word over and over again as a reference. His poems all fit within the context of these “laws”.

Poe was brave to write this composition. It dug deep into his manner of writing. He truly loved poetry, for this one can be sure. He wrote this to make it easy for more great poetry to be written and enjoyed. The Philosophy of Composition is truly a great work because it has yet to be imitated by any poet so great as Edgar Allen Poe.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      7 years ago from UK

      A troubled genius- his writing had such imagination and verve and an undercurrent of darkness- perhaps he never outgrew the shadow of his troubled lineage and alcoholic father. Well done!

    • sam3m profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      very informative synopsis of poe's life. nicely done


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)