Edgar Allan Poe
Overview
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre
Macabre
In works of art, macabre is the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere. Macabre works emphasize the details and symbols of death....

, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

 genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family.
Quotations

O, human love! thou spirit given,On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!

"wikisource:Tamerlane|Tamerlane", l. 177 (1827)

Sound loves to revel in a summer night.

Al Aaraaf|Al Aaraaf (1829).

Years of love have been forgotIn the hatred of a minute.

To M——— (1829), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

And the cloud that took the form(When the rest of Heaven was blue)Of a demon in my view.

"Alone", l. 20-22

Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music without the idea is simply music; the idea without the music is prose from its very definitiveness.

"Letter to Mr. B — "

Encyclopedia
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre
Macabre
In works of art, macabre is the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere. Macabre works emphasize the details and symbols of death....

, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

 genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

; he was orphaned young when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems
Tamerlane and Other Poems
Tamerlane and Other Poems is the first published work by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The short collection of poems was first published in 1827. Today, it is believed only 12 copies of the collection still exist....

(1827), credited only to "a Bostonian".

Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Philadelphia, and New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was the wife of American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The couple were first cousins and married when Virginia Clemm was 13 and Poe was 27...

, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, "The Raven
The Raven
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness...

", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 two years after its publication. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus
The Stylus
The Stylus, originally intended to be named The Penn, was a would-be periodical owned and edited by Edgar Allan Poe. It had long been a dream of Poe to establish an American journal with very high standards in order to elevate the literature of the time...

), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

, drugs, heart disease, rabies
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic , most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms...

, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 and cryptography
Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.

Early life

He was born Edgar Poe in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, on January 19, 1809, the second child of actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe
Eliza Poe
Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe was an English-born American actress and the mother of the American author Edgar Allan Poe.-Life and career:...

 and actor David Poe, Jr.
David Poe, Jr.
David Poe, Jr. was an American actor and the father of Edgar Allan Poe.- Biography :David Poe, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, David Poe, Sr., was known for his patriotic self-sacrifice during the American Revolution. He defied his family's wishes to become a lawyer, instead...

 He had an elder brother, William Henry Leonard Poe
William Henry Leonard Poe
William Henry Leonard Poe, often referred to as Henry Poe , was a sailor, amateur poet and the older brother of Edgar Allan Poe and Rosalie Poe....

, and a younger sister, Rosalie Poe. Edgar may have been named after a character in William Shakespeare's
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 King Lear
King Lear
King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The title character descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological...

, a play the couple was performing in 1809. His father abandoned their family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis). Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, who dealt in a variety of goods including tobacco, cloth, wheat, tombstones, and slaves
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

. The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name "Edgar Allan Poe", though they never formally adopted him.

The Allan family had Poe baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812. John Allan alternately spoiled and aggressively disciplined his foster son. The family, including Poe and Allan's wife, Frances Valentine Allan, sailed to Britain in 1815. Poe attended the grammar school in Irvine
Irvine, North Ayrshire
Irvine is a new town on the coast of the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland. According to 2007 population estimates, the town is home to 39,527 inhabitants, making it the biggest settlement in North Ayrshire....

, Scotland (where John Allan was born) for a short period in 1815, before rejoining the family in London in 1816. There he studied at a boarding school in Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

 until summer 1817. He was subsequently entered at the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House School at Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington
Stoke Newington is a district in the London Borough of Hackney. It is north-east of Charing Cross.-Boundaries:In modern terms, Stoke Newington can be roughly defined by the N16 postcode area . Its southern boundary with Dalston is quite ill-defined too...

, then a suburb four miles (6 km) north of London.

Poe moved back with the Allans to Richmond, Virginia in 1820. In 1824 Poe served as the lieutenant of the Richmond youth honor guard as Richmond celebrated the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette. In March 1825, John Allan's uncle and business benefactor William Galt, said to be one of the wealthiest men in Richmond, died and left Allan several acres of real estate. The inheritance was estimated at $750,000. By summer 1825, Allan celebrated his expansive wealth by purchasing a two-story brick home named Moldavia. Poe may have become engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster
Sarah Elmira Royster
Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton was an adolescent sweetheart of Edgar Allan Poe who became engaged to him shortly before his death in 1849....

 before he registered at the one-year-old University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 in February 1826 to study languages. The university, in its infancy, was established on the ideals of its founder, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

. It had strict rules against gambling, horses, guns, tobacco and alcohol, but these rules were generally ignored. Jefferson had enacted a system of student self-government, allowing students to choose their own studies, make their own arrangements for boarding, and report all wrongdoing to the faculty. The unique system was still in chaos, and there was a high dropout rate. During his time there, Poe lost touch with Royster and also became estranged from his foster father over gambling debts. Poe claimed that Allan had not given him sufficient money to register for classes, purchase texts, and procure and furnish a dormitory. Allan did send additional money and clothes, but Poe's debts increased. Poe gave up on the university after a year, and, not feeling welcome in Richmond, especially when he learned that his sweetheart Royster had married Alexander Shelton, he traveled to Boston in April 1827, sustaining himself with odd jobs as a clerk and newspaper writer. At some point he started using the pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 Henri Le Rennet.

Military career

Unable to support himself, on May 27, 1827, Poe enlisted in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 as a private. Using the name "Edgar A. Perry", he claimed he was even though he was 18. He first served at Fort Independence
Fort Independence (Massachusetts)
Fort Independence is a granite star fort that provided harbor defenses for Boston, Massachusetts. Located on Castle Island, Fort Independence is the oldest continuously fortified site of English origin in the United States. The first primitive fortification was placed on the site in 1634 and...

 in Boston Harbor
Boston Harbor
Boston Harbor is a natural harbor and estuary of Massachusetts Bay, and is located adjacent to the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to the Port of Boston, a major shipping facility in the northeast.-History:...

 for five dollars a month. That same year, he released his first book, a 40-page collection of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems
Tamerlane and Other Poems
Tamerlane and Other Poems is the first published work by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The short collection of poems was first published in 1827. Today, it is believed only 12 copies of the collection still exist....

, attributed with the byline "by a Bostonian". Only 50 copies were printed, and the book received virtually no attention. Poe's regiment was posted to Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

 and traveled by ship on the brig Waltham on November 8, 1827. Poe was promoted to "artificer", an enlisted tradesman who prepared shells for artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, and had his monthly pay doubled. After serving for two years and attaining the rank of Sergeant Major for Artillery (the highest rank a noncommissioned officer can achieve), Poe sought to end his five-year enlistment early. He revealed his real name and his circumstances to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Howard. Howard would only allow Poe to be discharged
Military discharge
A military discharge is given when a member of the armed forces is released from their obligation to serve.-United States:Discharge or separation should not be confused with retirement; career U.S...

 if he reconciled with John Allan and wrote a letter to Allan, who was unsympathetic. Several months passed and pleas to Allan were ignored; Allan may not have written to Poe even to make him aware of his foster mother's illness. Frances Allan died on February 28, 1829, and Poe visited the day after her burial. Perhaps softened by his wife's death, John Allan agreed to support Poe's attempt to be discharged in order to receive an appointment to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 at West Point.

Poe finally was discharged on April 15, 1829, after securing a replacement to finish his enlisted term for him. Before entering West Point, Poe moved back to Baltimore for a time, to stay with his widowed aunt Maria Clemm, her daughter, Virginia Eliza Clemm
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was the wife of American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The couple were first cousins and married when Virginia Clemm was 13 and Poe was 27...

 (Poe's first cousin), his brother Henry, and his invalid grandmother Elizabeth Cairnes Poe. Meanwhile, Poe published his second book, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, in Baltimore in 1829.

Poe traveled to West Point and matriculated as a cadet on July 1, 1830. In October 1830, John Allan married his second wife, Louisa Patterson The marriage, and bitter quarrels with Poe over the children born to Allan out of affairs, led to the foster father finally disowning Poe. Poe decided to leave West Point by purposely getting court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

ed. On February 8, 1831, he was tried for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders for refusing to attend formations, classes, or church. Poe tactically pled not guilty to induce dismissal, knowing he would be found guilty.

He left for New York in February 1831, and released a third volume of poems, simply titled Poems. The book was financed with help from his fellow cadets at West Point, many of whom donated 75 cents to the cause, raising a total of $170. They may have been expecting verses similar to the satirical ones Poe had been writing about commanding officers. Printed by Elam Bliss of New York, it was labeled as "Second Edition" and included a page saying, "To the U.S. Corps of Cadets this volume is respectfully dedicated." The book once again reprinted the long poems "Tamerlane" and "Al Aaraaf" but also six previously unpublished poems including early versions of "To Helen
To Helen
"To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. Poe then reprinted in 1836 in the Southern Literary...

", "Israfel", and "The City in the Sea
The City in the Sea
"The City in the Sea" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The final version was published in 1845, but an earlier version was published as "The Doomed City" in 1831 and, later, as "The City of Sin". The poem tells the story of a city ruled by Death using common elements from Gothic fiction...

". He returned to Baltimore, to his aunt, brother and cousin, in March 1831. His elder brother Henry, who had been in ill health in part due to problems with alcoholism, died on August 1, 1831.

Publishing career

After his brother's death, Poe began more earnest attempts to start his career as a writer. He chose a difficult time in American publishing to do so. He was the first well-known American to try to live by writing alone and was hampered by the lack of an international copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 law. Publishers often pirated copies of British works rather than paying for new work by Americans. The industry was also particularly hurt by the Panic of 1837
Panic of 1837
The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis or market correction in the United States built on a speculative fever. The end of the Second Bank of the United States had produced a period of runaway inflation, but on May 10, 1837 in New York City, every bank began to accept payment only in specie ,...

. Despite a booming growth in American periodicals around this time period, fueled in part by new technology, many did not last beyond a few issues and publishers often refused to pay their writers or paid them much later than they promised. Poe, throughout his attempts to live as a writer, had to repeatedly resort to humiliating pleas for money and other assistance.

After his early attempts at poetry, Poe had turned his attention to prose. He placed a few stories with a Philadelphia publication and began work on his only drama, Politian
Politian (play)
Politian is the only play known to have been written by Edgar Allan Poe, composed in 1835 but never completed.The play is a fictionalized version of a true event in Kentucky: the murder of Solomon P. Sharp by Jereboam O. Beauchamp in 1825. The so-called "Kentucky Tragedy" became a national...

. The Baltimore Saturday Visiter
Baltimore Saturday Visiter
The Baltimore Saturday Visiter was a weekly periodical in Baltimore, Maryland in the 19th century. It published some of the early work of Baltimore writer Edgar Allan Poe.-History:...

awarded Poe a prize in October 1833 for his short story "MS. Found in a Bottle
MS. Found in a Bottle
"MS. Found in a Bottle" is an 1833 short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The plot follows an unnamed narrator at sea who finds himself in a series of harrowing circumstances. As he nears his own disastrous death while his ship drives ever southward, he writes an "MS.", or manuscript...

". The story brought him to the attention of John P. Kennedy
John P. Kennedy
John Pendleton Kennedy was an American novelist and Whig politician who served as United States Secretary of the Navy from July 26, 1852 to March 4, 1853, during the administration of President Millard Fillmore, and as a U.S. Representative from the Maryland's 4th congressional district. He was...

, a Baltimorean of considerable means. He helped Poe place some of his stories, and introduced him to Thomas W. White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger
Southern Literary Messenger
The Southern Literary Messenger was a periodical published in Richmond, Virginia, from 1834 until June 1864. Each issue carried a subtitle of "Devoted to Every Department of Literature and the Fine Arts" or some variation and included poetry, fiction, non-fiction, reviews, and historical notes...

in Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

. Poe became assistant editor of the periodical in August 1835, but was discharged within a few weeks for being caught drunk by his boss. Returning to Baltimore, Poe secretly married Virginia, his cousin, on September 22, 1835. He was 26 and she was 13, though she is listed on the marriage certificate as being 21. Reinstated by White after promising good behavior, Poe went back to Richmond with Virginia and her mother. He remained at the Messenger until January 1837. During this period, Poe claimed that its circulation increased from 700 to 3,500. He published several poems, book reviews, critiques, and stories in the paper. On May 16, 1836, he had a second wedding ceremony in Richmond with Virginia Clemm, this time in public.

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only complete novel written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus...

was published and widely reviewed in 1838. In the summer of 1839, Poe became assistant editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine
Burton's Gentleman's Magazine
Burton's Gentleman's Magazine or, more simply, Burton's Magazine, was a literary publication published in Philadelphia in 1837-1841. Its founder was William Evans Burton, an English-born immigrant to the United States who also managed a theatre and was a minor actor.-Overview:The magazine included...

. He published numerous articles, stories, and reviews, enhancing his reputation as a trenchant critic that he had established at the Southern Literary Messenger. Also in 1839, the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque is a collection of previously published short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1840.-Publication:It was published by the Philadelphia firm Lea & Blanchard and released in two volumes...

was published in two volumes, though he made little money off of it and it received mixed reviews. Poe left Burton's after about a year and found a position as assistant at Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine was a nineteenth century periodical based in Philadelphia established by George Rex Graham. It was alternatively referred to as Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine , Graham's Magazine of Literature and Art , Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art Graham's...

.

In June 1840, Poe published a prospectus announcing his intentions to start his own journal, The Stylus
The Stylus
The Stylus, originally intended to be named The Penn, was a would-be periodical owned and edited by Edgar Allan Poe. It had long been a dream of Poe to establish an American journal with very high standards in order to elevate the literature of the time...

. Originally, Poe intended to call the journal The Penn, as it would have been based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the June 6, 1840 issue of Philadelphia's Saturday Evening Post, Poe bought advertising space for his prospectus: "Prospectus of the Penn Magazine, a Monthly Literary journal to be edited and published in the city of Philadelphia by Edgar A. Poe." The journal was never produced before Poe's death. Around this time, he attempted to secure a position with the Tyler
John Tyler
John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States . A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President . He was the first to succeed to the office of President following the death of a predecessor...

 administration, claiming he was a member of the Whig Party
Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party of the United States during the era of Jacksonian democracy. Considered integral to the Second Party System and operating from the early 1830s to the mid-1850s, the party was formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic...

. He hoped to be appointed to the Custom House
Custom House
A custom house or customs house was a building housing the offices for the government officials who processed the paperwork for the import and export of goods into and out of a country. Customs officials also collected customs duty on imported goods....

 in Philadelphia with help from President Tyler's son Robert, an acquaintance of Poe's friend Frederick Thomas. Poe failed to show up for a meeting with Thomas to discuss the appointment in mid-September 1842, claiming to be sick, though Thomas believed he was drunk. Though he was promised an appointment, all positions were filled by others.

One evening in January 1842, Virginia showed the first signs of consumption, now known as tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

, while singing and playing the piano. Poe described it as breaking a blood vessel in her throat. She only partially recovered. Poe began to drink more heavily under the stress of Virginia's illness. He left Graham's and attempted to find a new position, for a time angling for a government post. He returned to New York, where he worked briefly at the Evening Mirror before becoming editor of the Broadway Journal
Broadway Journal
The Broadway Journal was a short-lived New York City-based periodical founded by Charles Frederick Briggs and John Bisco in 1844. A year later, the publication was bought by Edgar Allan Poe, becoming the only magazine he ever owned, though it failed after only a few months under his...

and, later, sole owner. There he alienated himself from other writers by publicly accusing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

 of plagiarism
Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

, though Longfellow never responded. On January 29, 1845, his poem "The Raven
The Raven
"The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness...

" appeared in the Evening Mirror and became a popular sensation. Though it made Poe a household name almost instantly, he was paid only $9 for its publication. It was concurrently published in The American Review: A Whig Journal under the pseudonym "Quarles".

The Broadway Journal failed in 1846. Poe moved to a cottage in the Fordham
Fordham, Bronx
Fordham is a neighborhood of New York City, United States, located in the West Bronx. The neighborhood is part of Bronx Community Board 5. It is bordered by Fordham Road to the north, Webster Avenue to the east, East 183rd Street to the south, and Jerome Avenue to the west...

 section of The Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

, New York. That home, known today as the "Poe Cottage"
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, sometimes called simply Poe Cottage, is the former home of American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It is located on Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse in the The Bronx, New York, a short distance from its original location, and is now in the northern part of Poe Park.The...

, is on the southeast corner of the Grand Concourse
Grand Concourse (Bronx)
The Grand Concourse is a major thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx in New York City...

 and Kingsbridge Road. Virginia died there on January 30, 1847. Biographers and critics often suggest Poe's frequent theme of the "death of a beautiful woman" stems from the repeated loss of women throughout his life, including his wife.

Increasingly unstable after his wife's death, Poe attempted to court the poet Sarah Helen Whitman
Sarah Helen Whitman
Sarah Helen Power Whitman was a poet, essayist, transcendentalist, Spiritualist and a romantic interest of Edgar Allan Poe.-Early life:...

, who lived in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

. Their engagement failed, purportedly because of Poe's drinking and erratic behavior. However, there is also strong evidence that Whitman's mother intervened and did much to derail their relationship. Poe then returned to Richmond and resumed a relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster.

Death

On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, "in great distress, and... in need of immediate assistance", according to the man who found him, Joseph W. Walker. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849, at 5:00 in the morning. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. Poe is said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say Poe's final words were "Lord help my poor soul." All medical records, including his death certificate, have been lost. Newspapers at the time reported Poe's death as "congestion of the brain" or "cerebral inflammation", common euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

s for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism. The actual cause of death remains a mystery; from as early as 1872, cooping
Cooping
Cooping was a practice by which unwilling participants were forced to vote, often several times over, for a particular candidate in an election...

 was commonly believed to have been the cause, and speculation has included delirium tremens
Delirium tremens
Delirium tremens is an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol, first described in 1813...

, heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, epilepsy
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

, syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

, meningeal inflammation
Meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms, and less commonly by certain drugs...

, cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 and rabies
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease that causes acute encephalitis in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic , most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. For a human, rabies is almost invariably fatal if post-exposure prophylaxis is not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms...

.

Griswold's "Memoir"

The day Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in the New York Tribune
New York Tribune
The New York Tribune was an American newspaper, first established by Horace Greeley in 1841, which was long considered one of the leading newspapers in the United States...

signed "Ludwig". It was soon published throughout the country. The piece began, "Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it." "Ludwig" was soon identified as Rufus Wilmot Griswold
Rufus Wilmot Griswold
Rufus Wilmot Griswold was an American anthologist, editor, poet, and critic. Born in Vermont, Griswold left home when he was 15 years old. He worked as a journalist, editor, and critic in Philadelphia, New York City, and elsewhere. He built up a strong literary reputation, in part due to his 1842...

, an editor, critic and anthologist
Anthology
An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

 who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe's literary executor
Literary executor
A literary executor is a person with decision-making power in respect of a literary estate. According to Wills, Administration and Taxation: a practical guide "A will may appoint different executors to deal with different parts of the estate...

 and attempted to destroy his enemy's reputation after his death.

Rufus Griswold wrote a biographical article of Poe called "Memoir of the Author", which he included in an 1850 volume of the collected works. Griswold depicted Poe as a depraved, drunk, drug-addled madman and included Poe's letters as evidence. Many of his claims were either lies or distorted half-truths. For example, it is now known that Poe was not a drug addict. Griswold's book was denounced by those who knew Poe well, but it became a popularly accepted one. This occurred in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted and in part because readers thrilled at the thought of reading works by an "evil" man. Letters that Griswold presented as proof of this depiction of Poe were later revealed as forgeries
Forgery
Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations. Forging money or...

.

Literary style and themes

Genres

Poe's best known fiction works are Gothic
Gothic fiction
Gothic fiction, sometimes referred to as Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance. Gothicism's origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled "A Gothic Story"...

, a genre he followed to appease the public taste. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial
Premature burial
Premature burial, also known as live burial, burial alive, or vivisepulture, means to be buried while still alive. Animals or humans may be buried alive accidentally or intentionally...

, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning
Mourning
Mourning is, in the simplest sense, synonymous with grief over the death of someone. The word is also used to describe a cultural complex of behaviours in which the bereaved participate or are expected to participate...

. Many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism
Dark romanticism
Dark Romanticism is a literary subgenre. It has been suggested that Dark Romantics present individuals as prone to sin and self-destruction, not as inherently possessing divinity and wisdom. G. R...

 genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

, which Poe strongly disliked. He referred to followers of the movement as "Frogpondians" after the pond on Boston Common
Boston Common
Boston Common is a central public park in Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Boston Commons". Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. The Boston Common consists of of land bounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street,...

. and ridiculed their writings as "metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

-run", lapsing into "obscurity for obscurity's sake" or "mysticism for mysticism's sake." Poe once wrote in a letter to Thomas Holley Chivers
Thomas Holley Chivers
Thomas Holley Chivers was an American doctor-turned-poet from the state of Georgia. He is best known for his friendship with Edgar Allan Poe and his controversial defense of the poet after his death....

 that he did not dislike Transcendentalists, "only the pretenders and sophists
Sophism
Sophism in the modern definition is a specious argument used for deceiving someone. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching aretê — excellence, or virtue — predominantly to young statesmen and...

 among them."

Beyond horror, Poe also wrote satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

s, humor tales, and hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

es. For comic effect, he used irony and ludicrous extravagance, often in an attempt to liberate the reader from cultural conformity. In fact, "Metzengerstein
Metzengerstein
"Metzengerstein", also called "Metzengerstein: A Tale In Imitation of the German", was the first short story by American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe to see print. It was first published in the pages of Philadelphia's Saturday Courier magazine, in 1832...

", the first story that Poe is known to have published, and his first foray into horror, was originally intended as a burlesque
Burlesque
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects...

 satirizing the popular genre. Poe also reinvented science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, responding in his writing to emerging technologies such as hot air balloon
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

s in "The Balloon-Hoax
The Balloon-Hoax
"The Balloon-Hoax" is the title used in collections and anthologies of a newspaper article written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1844. Originally presented as a true story, it detailed European Monck Mason's trip across the Atlantic Ocean in only three days in a gas balloon...

".

Poe wrote much of his work using themes specifically catered for mass market tastes. To that end, his fiction often included elements of popular pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

s such as phrenology
Phrenology
Phrenology is a pseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules...

 and physiognomy
Physiognomy
Physiognomy is the assessment of a person's character or personality from their outer appearance, especially the face...

.

Literary theory

Poe's writing reflects his literary theories, which he presented in his criticism and also in essays such as "The Poetic Principle
The Poetic Principle
"The Poetic Principle" is an essay by Edgar Allan Poe, written near the end of his life and published posthumously in 1850, the year after his death. It is a work of literary criticism, in which Poe presents his literary theory...

". He disliked didacticism
Didacticism
Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός , "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing...

 and allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

, though he believed that meaning in literature should be an undercurrent just beneath the surface. Works with obvious meanings, he wrote, cease to be art. He believed that quality work should be brief and focus on a specific single effect. To that end, he believed that the writer should carefully calculate every sentiment and idea. In "The Philosophy of Composition
The Philosophy of Composition
"The Philosophy of Composition" is an 1846 essay written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe that elucidates a theory about how good writers write when they write well. He concludes that length, "unity of effect" and a logical method are important considerations for good writing. He also makes the...

", an essay in which Poe describes his method in writing "The Raven", he claims to have strictly followed this method. It has been questioned, however, if he really followed this system. T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

 said: "It is difficult for us to read that essay without reflecting that if Poe plotted out his poem with such calculation, he might have taken a little more pains over it: the result hardly does credit to the method." Biographer Joseph Wood Krutch described the essay as "a rather highly ingenious exercise in the art of rationalization".

Legacy

Literary influence

During his lifetime, Poe was mostly recognized as a literary critic. Fellow critic James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets...

 called him "the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works who has written in America", though he questioned if he occasionally used prussic acid instead of ink. Poe was also known as a writer of fiction and became one of the first American authors of the 19th century to become more popular in Europe than in the United States. Poe is particularly respected in France, in part due to early translations by Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

. Baudelaire's translations became definitive renditions of Poe's work throughout Europe.

Poe's early detective fiction
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

 tales featuring C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

 said, "Each [of Poe's detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" The Mystery Writers of America
Mystery Writers of America
Mystery Writers of America is an organization for mystery writers, based in New York.The organization was founded in 1945 by Clayton Rawson, Anthony Boucher, Lawrence Treat, and Brett Halliday....

 have named their awards for excellence in the genre the "Edgars
Edgar Award
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards , named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America...

". Poe's work also influenced science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, notably Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the science fiction genre. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , A Journey to the Center of the Earth , and Around the World in Eighty Days...

, who wrote a sequel to Poe's novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only complete novel written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus...

called An Antarctic Mystery, also known as The Sphinx of the Ice Fields
An Antarctic Mystery
An Antarctic Mystery , is an 1897, two-volume novel by Jules Verne and is a response to Edgar Allan Poe's 1838 novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket...

. Science fiction author H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

 noted, "Pym tells what a very intelligent mind could imagine about the south polar region a century ago."

Like many famous artists, Poe's works have spawned innumerable imitators. One interesting trend among imitators of Poe, however, has been claims by clairvoyants
Clairvoyance
The term clairvoyance is used to refer to the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception...

 or psychics to be "channeling" poems from Poe's spirit. One of the most notable of these was Lizzie Doten, who in 1863 published Poems from the Inner Life, in which she claimed to have "received" new compositions by Poe's spirit. The compositions were re-workings of famous Poe poems such as "The Bells
The Bells
"The Bells" is a heavily onomatopoeic poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was not published until after his death in 1849. It is perhaps best known for the diacopic repetition of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling...

", but which reflected a new, positive outlook.
Even so, Poe has received not only praise, but criticism as well. This is partly because of the negative perception of his personal character and its influence upon his reputation. William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

 was occasionally critical of Poe and once called him "vulgar". Transcendentalist
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

 Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 reacted to "The Raven" by saying, "I see nothing in it" and derisively referred to Poe as "the jingle man". Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

 wrote that Poe's writing "falls into vulgarity" by being "too poetical"—the equivalent of wearing a diamond ring on every finger.

It is believed that only 12 copies of Poe's first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, have survived. In December 2009, one copy sold at Christie's
Christie's
Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

, New York for $662,500, a record price paid for a work of American literature.

Physics and cosmology

Eureka: A Prose Poem, an essay written in 1848, included a cosmological theory that presaged the Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

 theory by 80 years, as well as the first plausible solution to Olbers' paradox
Olbers' paradox
In astrophysics and physical cosmology, Olbers' paradox is the argument that the darkness of the night sky conflicts with the assumption of an infinite and eternal static universe. It is one of the pieces of evidence for a non-static universe such as the current Big Bang model. The argument is also...

.
Poe eschewed the scientific method in Eureka and instead wrote from pure intuition
Intuition (knowledge)
Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. "The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning 'to look inside'’ or 'to contemplate'." Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify...

. For this reason, he considered it a work of art, not science, but insisted that it was still true and considered it to be his career masterpiece. Even so, Eureka is full of scientific errors. In particular, Poe's suggestions opposed Newtonian principles
Newton's laws of motion
Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces...

 regarding the density and rotation of planets.

Cryptography

Poe had a keen interest in cryptography
Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

. He had placed a notice of his abilities in the Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 paper Alexander's Weekly (Express) Messenger, inviting submissions of cipher
Cipher
In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption — a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure. An alternative, less common term is encipherment. In non-technical usage, a “cipher” is the same thing as a “code”; however, the concepts...

s, which he proceeded to solve. In July 1841, Poe had published an essay called "A Few Words on Secret Writing" in Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine
Graham's Magazine was a nineteenth century periodical based in Philadelphia established by George Rex Graham. It was alternatively referred to as Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine , Graham's Magazine of Literature and Art , Graham's American Monthly Magazine of Literature and Art Graham's...

. Realizing the public interest in the topic, he wrote "The Gold-Bug
The Gold-Bug
"The Gold-Bug" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears him to be going insane and goes to Legrand's friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his...

" incorporating ciphers as part of the story. Poe's success in cryptography relied not so much on his knowledge of that field (his method was limited to the simple substitution cryptogram), as on his knowledge of the magazine and newspaper culture. His keen analytical abilities, which were so evident in his detective stories, allowed him to see that the general public was largely ignorant of the methods by which a simple substitution cryptogram
Substitution cipher
In cryptography, a substitution cipher is a method of encryption by which units of plaintext are replaced with ciphertext according to a regular system; the "units" may be single letters , pairs of letters, triplets of letters, mixtures of the above, and so forth...

 can be solved, and he used this to his advantage. The sensation Poe created with his cryptography stunt played a major role in popularizing cryptograms in newspapers and magazines.

Poe had an influence on cryptography beyond increasing public interest in his lifetime. William Friedman, America's foremost cryptologist, was heavily influenced by Poe. Friedman's initial interest in cryptography came from reading "The Gold-Bug" as a child—interest he later put to use in deciphering Japan's PURPLE code during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

As a character

The historical Edgar Allan Poe has appeared as a fictionalized character, often representing the "mad genius" or "tormented artist" and exploiting his personal struggles. Many such depictions also blend in with characters from his stories, suggesting Poe and his characters share identities. Often, fictional depictions of Poe use his mystery-solving skills in such novels as The Poe Shadow
The Poe Shadow
The Poe Shadow is a novel by Matthew Pearl published by Random House. It tells the story of one young lawyer's quest to solve the mystery of Edgar Allan Poe's death in 1849...

by Matthew Pearl
Matthew Pearl
Matthew Pearl is an American novelist and educator. His novels include The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow and The Last Dickens and have been published in more than 40 countries.-Biography:...

.

Preserved homes, landmarks, and museums

No childhood home of Poe is still standing, including the Allan family's Moldavia estate. The oldest standing home in Richmond, the Old Stone House, is in use as the Edgar Allan Poe Museum
Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond)
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum is a museum located in Richmond, Virginia, dedicated to American writer Edgar Allan Poe. Though Poe never lived in the building, it serves to commemorate his time living in Richmond. The museum holds one of the world's largest collections of original manuscripts, letters,...

, though Poe never lived there. The collection includes many items Poe used during his time with the Allan family and also features several rare first printings of Poe works. The dorm room Poe is believed to have used while studying at the University of Virginia in 1826 is preserved and available for visits. Its upkeep is now overseen by a group of students and staff known as the Raven Society
Raven Society
The Raven Society is the University of Virginia's oldest honorary society. Founded in 1904 by University student William McCully James, and named in honor of the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe .According to its constitution, one of the Raven Society's main goals is "to bring together the best men...

.

The earliest surviving home in which Poe lived is in Baltimore, preserved as the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum
Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, located at 203 Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland, is the former home of American writer Edgar Allan Poe in the 1830s. Now open as a museum, the small unassuming structure is a typical row home, and also houses the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. It was...

. Poe is believed to have lived in the home at the age of 23 when he first lived with Maria Clemm and Virginia (as well as his grandmother and possibly his brother William Henry Leonard Poe). It is open to the public and is also the home of the Edgar Allan Poe Society. Of the several homes that Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria rented in Philadelphia, only the last house has survived. The Spring Garden home, where the author lived in 1843–1844, is today preserved by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 as the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a preserved home once rented by American author Edgar Allan Poe, located in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

. Poe's final home is preserved as the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
Edgar Allan Poe Cottage
The Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, sometimes called simply Poe Cottage, is the former home of American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It is located on Kingsbridge Road and the Grand Concourse in the The Bronx, New York, a short distance from its original location, and is now in the northern part of Poe Park.The...

 in the Bronx, New York.

Other Poe landmarks include a building in the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

, where Poe temporarily lived when he first moved to New York. A plaque suggests that Poe wrote "The Raven" here. In Boston, a plaque hangs near the building where Poe was born once stood. Believed to have been located at 62 Carver Street (now Charles Street), the plaque is possibly in an incorrect location. The bar in which legend says Poe was last seen drinking before his death still stands in Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. Now known as The Horse You Came In On, local lore insists that a ghost they call "Edgar" haunts the rooms above.

Poe Toaster

Adding to the mystery surrounding Poe's death, an unknown visitor affectionately referred to as the "Poe Toaster" paid homage to Poe's grave annually beginning in 1949. As the tradition carried on for more than 60 years, it is likely that the "Poe Toaster" was actually several individuals, though the tribute was always the same. Every January 19, in the early hours of the morning, the person made a toast of cognac
Cognac (drink)
Cognac , named after the town of Cognac in France, is a variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime....

 to Poe's original grave marker and left three roses. Members of the Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore helped protect this tradition for decades. On August 15, 2007, Sam Porpora, a former historian at the Westminster Church in Baltimore where Poe is buried, claimed that he had started the tradition in the 1960s. Porpora said the claim that the tradition began in 1949 was a hoax in order to raise money and enhance the profile of the church. His story has not been confirmed, and some details he gave to the press have been pointed out as factually inaccurate. The Poe Toaster's last appearance was on January 19, 2009, the day of Poe's bicentennial.

Selected list of works

Tales
  • "The Black Cat
    The Black Cat (short story)
    "The Black Cat" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in the August 19, 1843, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. It is a study of the psychology of guilt, often paired in analysis with Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"...

    "
  • "The Cask of Amontillado
    The Cask of Amontillado
    "The Cask of Amontillado" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book....

    "
  • "A Descent into the Maelström
    A Descent into the Maelstrom
    "A Descent into the Maelström" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In the tale, a man recounts how he survived a shipwreck and a whirlpool. It has been grouped with Poe's tales of ratiocination and also labeled an early form of science fiction.-Plot:...

    "
  • "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
    "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe about a mesmerist who puts a man in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death. An example of a tale of suspense and horror, it is also, to a certain degree, a hoax as it was published without claiming...

    "
  • "The Fall of the House of Usher
    The Fall of the House of Usher
    "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in September 1839 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. It was slightly revised in 1840 for the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque...

    "
  • "The Gold-Bug
    The Gold-Bug
    "The Gold-Bug" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears him to be going insane and goes to Legrand's friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his...

    "
  • "Hop-Frog
    Hop-Frog
    "Hop-Frog" is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The title character, a dwarf taken from his homeland, becomes the jester of a king particularly fond of practical jokes...

    "
  • "The Imp of the Perverse
    The Imp of the Perverse (short story)
    "The Imp of the Perverse" is a short story that begins as an essay written by 19th century American author and critic Edgar Allan Poe. It discusses the narrator's self-destructive impulses, embodied as the Imp of the Perverse...

    "
  • "Ligeia
    Ligeia
    "Ligeia" is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1838. The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. She falls ill, composes "The Conqueror Worm", and quotes lines attributed to Joseph Glanvill ...

    "
  • "The Masque of the Red Death
    The Masque of the Red Death
    "The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death" , is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a...

    "
  • "The Murders in the Rue Morgue
    The Murders in the Rue Morgue
    "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been claimed as the first detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination". Two works that share some similarities predate Poe's stories, including Das...

    "
  • "The Oval Portrait
    The Oval Portrait
    "The Oval Portrait" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe involving the disturbing circumstances surrounding a portrait in a chateau. It is one of his shortest stories, filling only two pages in its initial publication in 1842.-Plot summary:...

    "
  • "The Pit and the Pendulum
    The Pit and the Pendulum
    "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842 in the literary annual The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843. The story is about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, though Poe skews historical facts. The...

    "
  • "The Premature Burial
    The Premature Burial
    "The Premature Burial" is a horror short story on the theme of being buried alive, written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Fear of being buried alive was common in this period and Poe was taking advantage of the public interest...

    "
  • "The Purloined Letter
    The Purloined Letter
    "The Purloined Letter" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe. It is the third of his three detective stories featuring the fictional C. Auguste Dupin, the other two being "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt". These stories are considered to be important...

    "
  • "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
    The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
    "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" is a comedic short story written by American author Edgar Allan Poe.-Plot summary:The story follows an unnamed narrator who visits a mental institution in southern France known for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the...

    "
  • "The Tell-Tale Heart
    The Tell-Tale Heart
    "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It follows an unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a "vulture eye". The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the...

    "

Poetry
  • "Al Aaraaf
    Al Aaraaf
    "Al Aaraaf" is an early poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1829. It is based on stories from the Qur'an, and tells of the afterlife in a place called Al Aaraaf...

    "
  • "Annabel Lee
    Annabel Lee
    "Annabel Lee" is the last complete poem composed by American author Edgar Allan Poe. Like many of Poe's poems, it explores the theme of the death of a beautiful woman. The narrator, who fell in love with Annabel Lee when they were young, has a love for her so strong that even angels are jealous. He...

    "
  • "The Bells
    The Bells
    "The Bells" is a heavily onomatopoeic poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was not published until after his death in 1849. It is perhaps best known for the diacopic repetition of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it; each part becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses from "the jingling...

    "
  • "The City in the Sea
    The City in the Sea
    "The City in the Sea" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The final version was published in 1845, but an earlier version was published as "The Doomed City" in 1831 and, later, as "The City of Sin". The poem tells the story of a city ruled by Death using common elements from Gothic fiction...

    "
  • "The Conqueror Worm
    The Conqueror Worm
    "The Conqueror Worm" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe about human mortality and the inevitability of death. It was first published separately in Graham's Magazine in 1843, but quickly became associated with Poe's short story "Ligeia" after Poe added the poem to a revised publication of the story in 1845...

    "
  • "A Dream Within a Dream
    A Dream Within a Dream
    "A Dream Within a Dream" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The poem is 24 lines, divided into two stanzas. The poem questions the way one can distinguish between reality and fantasy, asking, "Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"-Analysis:"A Dream...

    "
  • "Eldorado
    Eldorado (poem)
    "Eldorado" is a ballad poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in April 1849.-Summary:The poem describes the journey of a "gallant knight" in search of the legendary El Dorado. The knight spends much of his life on this quest...

    "
  • "Eulalie
    Eulalie
    "Eulalie," or "Eulalie - A Song," is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the July 1845 issue of The American Review and reprinted shortly thereafter in the August 9, 1845 issue of the Broadway Journal.-Summary:...

    "
  • "The Haunted Palace
    The Haunted Palace (poem)
    "The Haunted Palace" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The 48-line poem was first released in the April 1839 issue of Nathan Brooks' American Museum magazine...

    "
  • "To Helen
    To Helen
    "To Helen" is the first of two poems to carry that name written by Edgar Allan Poe. The 15-line poem was written in honor of Jane Stanard, the mother of a childhood friend. It was first published in 1831 collection Poems of Edgar A. Poe then reprinted in 1836 in the Southern Literary...

    "
  • "Lenore
    Lenore
    "Lenore" is a poem by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. It began as a different poem, "A Paean", and was not published as "Lenore" until 1843.- Interpretation :...

    "
  • "Tamerlane
    Tamerlane (poem)
    "Tamerlane" is an epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the 1827 collection Tamerlane and Other Poems. That collection, with only 50 copies printed, was not credited with the author's real name but by "A Bostonian." The poem's original version was 403 lines but trimmed down to 223 lines...

    "
  • "The Raven
    The Raven
    "The Raven" is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in January 1845. It is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow descent into madness...

    "
  • "Ulalume
    Ulalume
    "Ulalume" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1847. Much like a few of Poe's other poems , "Ulalume" focuses on the narrator's loss of a beautiful woman due to her death. Poe originally wrote the poem as an elocution piece and, as such, the poem is known for its focus on sound...

    "

Other works
  • Politian
    Politian (play)
    Politian is the only play known to have been written by Edgar Allan Poe, composed in 1835 but never completed.The play is a fictionalized version of a true event in Kentucky: the murder of Solomon P. Sharp by Jereboam O. Beauchamp in 1825. The so-called "Kentucky Tragedy" became a national...

    (1835) – Poe's only play
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
    The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
    The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only complete novel written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus...

    (1838) – Poe's only complete novel
  • "The Balloon-Hoax
    The Balloon-Hoax
    "The Balloon-Hoax" is the title used in collections and anthologies of a newspaper article written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1844. Originally presented as a true story, it detailed European Monck Mason's trip across the Atlantic Ocean in only three days in a gas balloon...

    " (1844) – A journalistic hoax
    Hoax
    A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

     printed as a true story
  • "The Philosophy of Composition
    The Philosophy of Composition
    "The Philosophy of Composition" is an 1846 essay written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe that elucidates a theory about how good writers write when they write well. He concludes that length, "unity of effect" and a logical method are important considerations for good writing. He also makes the...

    " (1846) – Essay
  • Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848) – Essay
  • "The Poetic Principle
    The Poetic Principle
    "The Poetic Principle" is an essay by Edgar Allan Poe, written near the end of his life and published posthumously in 1850, the year after his death. It is a work of literary criticism, in which Poe presents his literary theory...

    " (1848) – Essay
  • "The Light-House
    The Light-House
    "The Light-House" is the unofficial title of the last work written by Edgar Allan Poe. He did not live to finish it, and had barely begun it by the time of his death in 1849.-Plot summary:...

    " (1849) – Poe's last incomplete work

See also

  • Edgar Allan Poe and music
    Edgar Allan Poe and music
    The influence of Edgar Allan Poe on the art of music has been considerable and long-standing, with the works, life and image of the horror fiction writer and poet inspiring composers and musicians from diverse genres for more than a century.-Classical music:...

  • List of coupled cousins
  • USS E.A. Poe (IX-103)
    USS E.A. Poe (IX-103)
    USS E. A. Poe , formerly Edgar Allan Poe, an unclassified miscellaneous vessel, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Edgar Allan Poe. She was chartered by the Navy in 1942, then taken over after being damaged and losing use of her engines on 30 August 1943...


External links

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