Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, known as a poet and critic but most
famous as the "master of the short-story form" ( Edgar Allan Poe), especially
tales of the "mysterious and macabre" ( Edgar Allan Poe). The literary merits
of Poe's writings have been debated since his death, but his works have remained
popular and many major American and European writers have "professed their
artistic debt to him" ( Edgar Allan Poe).
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe was
the son of "poverty stricken" (Edgar Allan Poe) actors, David and Elizabeth Poe.
After his mother died in Richmond, Va., in 1811, Poe was orphaned. At an early
age he was taken in a raised by John Allan, a "successful" (Edgar Allan Poe)
business man of Richmond, Va. Taken by the Allan family at the age of six, Poe
was placed into a private school in Scotland, England in 1815.
Upon returning to the United States in 1820, he continued to study in private
schools. He attended the University of Virginia for a year, but in 1827 his
foster father, "displeased by the young man's drinking and gambling" (Untermeyer
555), refused to pay his debts and forced him to "return to Richmond to find his
sweetheart, (Sarah) Elmira Royster" (Woodberry 24) and work as a clerk. Poe,
disliking his new duties, he quit his job and went to Boston. There, his first
book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, "a pamphlet of youthful Byronic poems,"
(Woodberry 39), was published in 1827.
Shortly afterward, poverty forced Poe to join the U.S. Army under the name of
Edgar A. Perry and he served a two year term In 1829, when Poe's foster mother
died, "John Allan purchased his release...