Autobiographical elements in the works of Edgar Allan Poe

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, February 1997

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'There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the

proportions' (Biography on Poe 8). Edgar Alan Poe endured a very difficult

life and this is evident in his literary style. He was once titled the 'master of

the macabre.' One of the aspects in his life with which he struggled was

social isolation. He used this as a topic in a number of poems and short

stories. Poe's life was also filled with periods of fear and irrationality. He

had a very sensitive side when it came to the female gender, any woman he

was ever close to died at an early age. Another of his major battles, actually

the only one he really lost, was his struggle with alcoholism. Of all these

topics, Poe's favorites were the death of a beautiful woman, a feeling which

he knew all too well, and the general topic of death.

During Poe's life, he experienced extreme social isolation.


feelings of separation began when his father died or disappeared around the

time of the birth of Poe's sister, Rosalie. The family then moved and he was

separated from his older brother, who was left with relatives in Baltimore.

During those toddler years, Poe found his mother in the last stages of

tuberculosis. Upon her death, he was then separated from his younger sister,

Rosalie. Another major low point in his life was the death of his foster

mother, Mrs. Frances Allan, and his foster father disowning him, all at one

time. The most significant set-back to Edgar Allan Poe was the death of his

cousin/wife Virginia Clemm. This single incident was the cause of almost all

of his feelings of isolation in his in his adulthood. He felt as though anyone

he became close to would die.

Poe wrote about isolation...