Edgar Allan Poe Biography

12 December 2016

Edgar Allan Poe’s universe, there is nothing better than to dig deep into the events and things that caused Edgar to be one the greatest dreamers and visionaries of the world. One could spend months or even years discussing and trying to decode Poe’s mind, but in the end, his words on paper talk louder and clearer than any study or papers written by Professors of renowned institutions, of course, their studies over Edgar’s work are well appreciated, but no one will ever truly understand him.

Such different emotions, such pain, such suffering which somehow, mixed together created the perfect recipe for marvelous tragedies. Just as Poe wrote in his poem “The Raven” : “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing , doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ” He dreamed things that his contemporaries could not, in their wildest dreams, imagine. Imagination, a delightful extravaganza that Poe did not denied himself to, which he paid a price for. Edgar Allan Poe was born at the great city of Boston, on January 19, 1809.

His mother, Elizabeth Arnold, an imigrant from England married his father, David, in 1805. They had three children together, Henry, Edgar and Rosalie All was well, until that fatidic year when Elizabeth died of tuberculosis, leaving Edgar who was only two years old at the time and his siblings, behind. No father to take care of these toddlers, for Elizabeth had gotten a divorce and had taken the kids with her, they were set apart from each other and adopted by different families. Edgar was adopted by the wealthy family of the Allan’s, what gave Edgar great opportunities.

At age of six, he attended school in England for five years, where he learned French, Latin, Math and History. Passed the time, he returned home and continued his studies at the University of Virginia in 1826, he was 17. Although John Allan could had paid for his studies, he did not. What left Edgar with a great debt, adding to the beginning of his drinking problems, he could not continue paying tuition, so he dropped out a year later. In 1827, Poe found himself with no money, no job skills, and apparently no father as well, is believed that John Allan had shunned him around that time, little is known about the reason why.

So at 18, he took the route of many others, and joined the U. S Army. For his father surprise, Poe achieved the rank of sergeant major. But it did not take a long time till tragedy knock on his door again, in 1829, Mrs. Allan passed away, what seemed to have softened Mr. Allan’s heart towards Edgar, he even signed his recommendation letter and application to West Point. During this period of waiting, Edgar went to live with his real Grandmother, place where he meet his cousin Virginia, little did he know that the future love of his life was sleeping under the same roof as he was.

He did not wait long though, as he was accepted into West Point in 1830, unfortunately, he could not stay for a long time, because of John Allan, again. Apparently Poe broke the rules on purpose to be kicked out. Whatever happened between him and John Allan, caused permanent damage to their relationship this time. Later on, after Poe moved to New York and started publishing some of his works, he asks Allan for help, but it’s ignored. John Allan dies in 1834 and no mention of Edgar is made on his will.

Finally after hard years of unemployment, Edgar obtained a job as editor, after winning a writing contest with “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle”. In 1836 he brings his cousin Virginia, and her mom to live with him in Richmond, in the same year, he marries Virginia. He is 27 and she is 13. Driven by a poor salary, Poe leaves his job as an editor and moves back to New York where he wrote “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”, but with no financial success he moves again, this time to Philadelphia, where he writes some of his most memorable works, for an example “Ligeia” and the “The Haunted Palace”.

Still no financial gratification for his works. He finds another job as an editor, in 1840, for Graham’s magazine, during this period he wrote “The Murders on Morgue Street”. He left the magazine in 1842, with ambitions of starting his own Magazine, which failed miserably. He had some gigs by publishing some of his short stories, but never real money came from it. Poe barely had money to maintain his family. Everything collapsed on him when Virginia gets sick. Three things that every historian agrees with, is that “Edgar Allan Poe had only three true loves in his life: Virginia, alcohol and his writings” (Aldrich).

Virginia, always being the first of all of his passions. By all accounts Edgar and Virginia were deeply in love with one another and played together almost as children. It is believed they did not have marital relations until she turned 16. Edgar directed her education, tutoring her in the classics and mathematics. In addition, she took singing and piano lessons, developing a beautiful voice. On January 20, 1842, while living in Philadelphia, Virginia began playing the piano and singing to her husband. Suddenly, she began to cough and blood gushed from her mouth.

The dreadful disease who had already taken so many of Edgar Loved ones was now attacking his sweetheart. Tuberculosis, that vicious disease had now claimed Virginia. Her failing health drove Edgar into deep depression. In spite of his ongoing poverty, Edgar did all he could to ease the pains of his dying wife. This is believed to be the darkest time of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. His depression and pain could not stay away from his hand and paper, they reflected in the poem “Annabel Lee” . Soon after Virginia’s death, Edgar moved back to Richmond to try to marry a childhood friend.

Just before the wedding, he took a trip to meet his friends in New York. This trip would be his final one. After disappearing for five days, his whereabouts during that time remains a mystery till this day. He was found in a haze of delirium . Immediately he was taken to a hospital where he would die on October 7. By some accounts, his last words were “Lord help my poor soul”, what makes sense, since he was worried that he would be denied entrance in heaven due his dark writings. Poe’s last word has also been recorded as “Nevermore” in answer to a deathbed question, “Would you like to see your friends? “.

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