An American poet and short story writer best known for his tales of the macabre.. American author poet editor and literary critic
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of the macabre, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction and crime fiction. He is also credited with contributing to narrative forms of the emergent science fiction genre. Poe died at the age of 40. The cause of his death is undetermined and has been attributed to alcohol, drugs, cholera, rabies, and other agents.
Edgar Allan Poe was born to a Scots-Irish family in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809, the son of actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe, Jr. His father abandoned their family in 1810. His mother died a year later from "consumption" (tuberculosis). Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful tobacco merchant in Richmond, Virginia. Although his middle name is often misspelled as "Allen," it is actually "Allan," after this family.
After attending the Manor School at Stoke Newington, Poe attended the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House boarding school in the fall of 1818. The Manor House was located in the village of Stoke Newington, only four miles north of London. Poe moved back to the Allans in Richmond in 1820. After serving an apprenticeship in Pawtucket, Poe registered at the University of Virginia in 1826, but only stayed there for one year. He became estranged from his foster father over gambling debts Poe had acquired while trying to get more spending money, so Poe enlisted in the United States Army as a private using the name Edgar A. Perry on May 26, 1827 and served at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor. That same year, he released his first book (anonymously as: 'By a Bostonian'), Tamerlane and Other Poems, which now is such a rare book that a surviving copy has been sold for $200,000. After serving for two years and attaining the rank of sergeant major, Poe was discharged.
In 1829, Poe's foster mother, Frances Allan, died, and he published his second book, Al Aaraaf. As his foster mother's dying wish, Poe reconciled with his foster father, who coordinated an appointment for him to the United States Military Academy at West Point. At West Point however, Poe deliberately disobeyed orders and was dismissed. After that, Poe and his foster father disowned each other until the latter's death on March 6, 1831.
Poe next moved to Baltimore, Maryland with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter, Poe's first cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm. Poe wrote fiction to support himself, and in December 1835, began editing the Southern Literary Messenger for Thomas W. White in Richmond. On May 16, 1836, he married Virginia, who was 13 at the time.