Edgar Allan Poe, is the author of terrorsome short stories such as: 'The Fall of
the House of Usher,' 'The Masque of the Red Death,' 'The Pit and the Pendulum,' 'The
Tell-Tale Heart,' 'The Black Cat,' 'The Premature Burial,' 'The Imp of the Perverse,'
'The Cask of Amontillado,' and 'Hop-Frog'. Poe earned his place as a major figure in
Literature for his tales of the bizarre and fantastic (Harris 491). The gruesome plots,
suffering protagonists, and Gothic settings stem from Poe's own fears, dreams and
'Poe lived a brief and tragic life: a life whose legend has often proved an
overpowering influence on the critical reception of his work' (Harris 491). Poe was born
on 1809 in Boston. Poe's mother died on 1811 and his father had abandoned him. He
was adopted by a family and given the benefits of wealth and education. Poe was a
gambler, and an intolerant alcoholic, which eventually caused him to be removed from
several prestigious schools and caused a hiatus between the family.
Poe had a series of
romances during his life but none lasted long. Poe was in constant financial jeopardy
because of bad business decisions he made. His only source of income was the short
stories he wrote.
The gruesome plots, suffering protagonists, and Gothic settings in Poe's short
stories are a direct result of Poe's tragic life.
'One reason may have been his apparent fear of the dark. Susan Archer Talley
Weiss, who knew Poe in his later years, said that a friend of hers who had gone to
school with Poe spoke of 'his timidity in regard to being alone at night, and his
belief in and fear of the supernatural. She had heard Poe say, when grown, that
the most horrible thing he could imagine...