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Edgar Allan Poe (Едгар Алан По)
Edgar Allan Poe
This daguerreotype of Poe was taken in 1848 when he was 39, a year before his death.
" 1 Life and career
o 1.1 Early life
o 1.2 Military career
o 1.3 Publishing career
" 2 Death
o 2.1 Griswold's "Memoir"
" 3 Literary theory
" 4 Legacy
o 4.1 Literary influence
o 4.2 Physics and cosmology
o 4.3 Cryptography
o 4.4 Poe Toaster
o 4.5 Poe as a character
" 5 Preserved homes, landmarks, and museums
" 6 Selected list of works
" 7 See also
" 8 References
o 8.1 Notes
o 8.2 General references
" 9 External links
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 - October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short-story writer, editor, and literary critic, and is considered part of the Romantic Movement in the United States. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and invented the detective-fiction genre. He is also credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
He was born Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents died when he was young, after which he was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, who never formally adopted him. Poe grew up in relative wealth. After his short period at the University of Virginia and brief attempt at a military career, Poe and the Allans parted ways. Poe's publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". He soon moved to Baltimore, Maryland, to live with blood relatives, and switched his focus from poetry to prose. He spent the next several years working for various literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move between several cities, including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New York, New York. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years later. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), 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 undetermined and has been attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.
Poe's legacy includes a significant influence in literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his works appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, television, and video games. Some of his homes are dedicated museums today.
Life and career
This bust of Edgar Allan Poe is found at the University of Virginia where, having lost his tuition due to gambling, he dropped out in 1827.
Poe was born Edgar Poe to a Scots-Irish family in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809. He was the second child of actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe, Jr. Edgar Poe had an elder brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, and a younger sister, Rosalie Poe. His father abandoned their family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from consumption. Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia, who dealt in a variety of goods including tobacco, cloth, wheat, tombstones, and slaves. The Allans served as a foster family but never formally adopted Poe, though they gave him the name "Edgar Allan Poe".
The Allan family had young Edgar baptized in the Episcopal Church in 1812. John Allan alternately spoiled and aggressively disciplined his foster son. The family, including Edgar and Allan's wife, Frances Valentine Allan, sailed to England in 1815. Edgar attended the Grammar School in Irvine, Scotland (where John Allan was born) for a short period in 1815, before rejoining the family in London in 1816. He studied at a boarding school in Chelsea until summer 1817. He was subsequently entered at Reverend John Bransby's Manor House School at Stoke Newington, then a suburb four miles (6 km) north of London.
Poe moved back with the Allans to Richmond, Virginia in 1820. In 1825, John Allan's friend and business benefactor William Galt, said to be the wealthiest man 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 before he registered at the one-year old University of Virginia in February 1826 to study languages. The University, in its infancy, was established on the ideals of its founder, Thomas Jefferson. 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 drop-out 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 Henri Le Rennet.
Unable to support himself, on May 27, 1827, Poe enlisted in the United States Army as a private. Using the name "Edgar A. Perry", he claimed he was 22 years old even though he was 18. He first served at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor for five dollars a month. That same year, he released his first book, a 40-page collection of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, 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 and traveled by ship on the brig Waltham on November 8, 1827. Poe was promoted to "artificer", an enlisted tradesman who prepared shells forartillery, 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, who would only allow Poe to be discharged if he reconciled with John Allan. Howard 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