The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Essay by smilez1017High School, 12th gradeB+, February 2010

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In appearance, Edgar Allan Poe was a quiet, shy looking man, but his works did not reflect that. Poe wrote gothic horror; stories of fear, pain, and death. Poe's work is particularly worth reading because it keeps readers engaged and on the edge of their seats. During his time there were many factors that could have contributed to the genre of Poe's writings. Although thought of as a troubled man, Poe is one of the world's most famous and controversial writers.

Edgar Allan Poe was born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Arnold and David Poe. Poe's father abandoned his family around 1810, and his mother died of tuberculosis in 1811 before he even turned three. Poe never really regained parents. His rich godfather, John Allan, a tobacco merchant and his wife, Frances Allan cared for him but never legally adopted him. Poe studied in Europe and attended the University of Virginia, but after eight months was forced to leave because of gambling debts.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1827 to 1829, gaining the rank of sergeant-major. Poe also attended West Point and was expelled for infraction of rules. Shortly after, Mrs. Allan died of tuberculosis. Mr. Allan disowned Poe after he confronted him about extramarital affairs after Mrs. Allan's death. Poe was married to his thirteen year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, in 1836. Virginia died of tuberculosis in 1847. After her death Poe began to drink more and spin out of control. In 1848, Poe suffered periods of insanity and tried to commit suicide. On October 3, 1849, Poe was found lying unconsciousness in a Baltimore gutter. He never regained consciousness and died four day later of unknown causes. Today, Poe is remembered as one of the first American writers to become a major figure in...