Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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Many authors have made great contributions to the world of literature, but Edgar Allen Poe, otherwise known as the father of the American short story, stands out even among the best. Poe's work is widely read and studied throughout the world, his poetry has influenced many young authors and his life has been analyzed in an attempt to find the meaning behind his work. To understand the contributions of Edgar Allan Poe, one must examine his life and literary accomplishments.

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809. His father, David Poe, was a professional actor and a heavy drinker. He abandoned his family when Poe was just an infant. Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, became a widow at the age of eighteen. Two years later, Poe's mother died of tuberculosis. Soon Poe was adopted by John Allan, a successful tobacco merchant, and his wife Frances.

In 1815, John Allan moved his family to England for business purposes. In 1820, the family returned to Richmond, where Poe attended the school of Joseph Clarke. During 1825, Poe was secretly engaged to Elmira Royster. However, both families of Poe and Royster opposed the engagement. In February of 1826, Poe entered the University of Virginia, where he studied Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Poe received outstanding grades in his classes. Still, John Allan did not provide Poe with the money to pay for his college fees. Soon Poe began to drink and resorted to gambling to pay his debts. Poe's gambling debts of $2000 led him to withdraw from the university.

When Poe returned back home from the university, his relationship with Allan was very poor (Wagenknecht 17). After arguing with John Allan, Poe left to Boston, where he enlisted in the United States Army. In...