Best known for his poems and short fiction. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most famous American poets. He deserves most credit for short suspenseful mysteries and he perfected the area of horror stories. He wrote many famous poems like “The Raven” and “The Bells”. Poe was a genius and very meticulous in his stories every clue had to fit and that’s why he didn’t make a lot of short stories but a small collection of great short stories.
He was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. Both of his parents were touring actors; both died before Poe even reached three years old. A rich merchant named Mr. Allan in Richmond, Virginia took Poe in. His childhood was uneventful although he attended the University of Virginia in 1826 for only a year. Even thought he was a good student he ran up a large gambling dept that Allan refused to pay. This prevented his return to the university and broke-off his engagement to Sarah Elmira Royster, his Richmond sweetheart. Having no way to support himself he enlisted in the army. He had already written and printed (at his own expense) his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827).
Allan secured Poe’s release from the army and his appointment to West Point but refused to give him money. After 6 months Poe apparently got kicked out of West Point for disobedience. His friends, however, gave money to him for the publication of Poems by Edgar A. Poe …Second Edition (1831), actually a third edition–after Tamerlane and Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829). This book contained the famous “To Helen” and “Israfel,” poems that show the restraint and the calculated musical effects of language that was characterizing his poetry.
Poe next lived in Baltimore with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Virginia, and turned to fiction as a way to support himself. In 1832 the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories all comic or satiric. In 1833, “MS. Found in a Bottle” won a $50 prize from the “Baltimore Saturday Visitor”. Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond in 1835 and he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia, who was not even 14 years old.
Poe wrote fiction, his most horrifying tale, “Berenice,” in the Southern Literary Messenger, but most of his contributions were serious and critical reviews that earned him respect as a critic. He praised the young Dickens and devoted most of his attention to devastating reviews of popular contemporary authors. His contributions increased the magazine’s circulation, but they offended its owner, who didn’t like Poe’s drinking. The January 1837 issue of the Southern Literary Messenger announced Poe’s that Poe will stop to be the editor but also included the first part of his long fiction tale, “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”, five of his reviews, and two of his poems. This was going to be the strange pattern for Poe’s career: success as an artist and editor but failure to satisfy his employers and to secure a quite, stable life.
First in New York City (1837), then in Philadelphia (1838-44), and again in New York (1844-49), Poe tried to establish himself as a force in literary journalism, but with only slow success. He did succeed, however, in creating influential literary theories and in showing mastery of the forms he favored – musical poems and short fictional narratives. Both forms, he argued, should aim at “a certain unique or single effect.” His theory of short fiction is best exemplified in “Ligeia” (1838), the tale Poe considered his finest, and “The Fall Of The House Of Usher” (1839), which was to become one of his most famous stories. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) is sometimes considered the first detective story. The “The Raven” (1845) and “The Bells” (1849) are good example of musical poems.
Virginia’s death in January 1847 was a heavy blow, but Poe continued to write and lecture. In the summer of 1849 he revisited Richmond, lectured, and was proposed to the fiancee he had lost in 1826, she accepted that. After his return north he was found unconscious on a Baltimore street. In a brief obituary the Baltimore Clipper reported that Poe had died of “congestion of the brain.”