Edgar Allen Poe and a look at \'The Raven\'


Edgar Allen Poe was one of the most successful writers of all time. He is
known for his tales of the mysterious and macabre. He is reported to be the first
master of the short story form (Edgar Allen Poe). About 12 of his works are
known for their flawless literary construction. Poe had a rough childhood which
definitely contributed to his writing.
Poe was born in January 19th of 1809 in Boston. Poe was the son of David
Poe, an actor and Eliza Poe, an actress. Poe also had a sister. At age three Poe
was orphaned when he father disappeared one night and never returned and his
mother died of tuberculosis. Poe then went to a foster house where he was
adopted by John and Fanny Allen. Poe then at age six moved to England where he
attended private schools.
As a teen Poe was very gifted in foreign language. He wrote some of his
early works in both French an Latin. At age fifteen Poe had already written
enough works to publish a book but John would not allow it. Poe was also very fit
as a teen. Poe was supposedly a very fast swimmer and runner. It is reported that
Poe once as a teen swam the James river from Lundhams Wharf to Warwick Bar
which is six miles against a strong current (Woodberry 20). At 15 Poe was the
Lieutenant of the Junior Morgan Riflemen. Poe was then reviewed by the famous
Marquis De Lafayette. Poe’s grandfather General Poe is where Poe most likely got
his military influence from.
In 1826 Poe enrolled into the University of Virginia. Poe wanted to become
a translator. Poe was considered to be "precisely correct" (Moldavia). Poe also
loved debating. The student life at the University of Virginia in 1826 was very
chaotic. In one student riot the students threw bottles and bricks at the professors.
In Poe’s letters to John Allen he often talked of violence on campus. He once
wrote of how a student was struck on the head with a stone and then pulled out a
gun and killed his attacker(Moldavia).
By the end of the year Poe had started to develop gambling debts. Poe
blamed his gambling debts on John Allen saying that he did not provide enough for
him to live on. Therefore gambling was the only way to survive. I think that it
would have bean quite possible for Poe to get a job. Before the year was over Poe
had developed gambling debts exceeding 2,500 dollars (Moldavia).
When Poe went back to Richmond where John lived for the summer he
expected John to pay of his debts. John would not pay of the debts and made John
work as a clerk at his firm to pay them off. In 1827 Poe moved out of Johns house.
In a letter to John Poe wrote, "I have heard you say when you little thought I was
listening and therefor must have said it in ear that you had no affection for me"
(letters 203). Poe then resorted to gambling again and became even more into
debt. Poe then moved to Boston under the alias of Henri Le Renett (Moldavia).
Poe then managed to published his first book Tamerline and Other Poems under
the pen name of a Bostonian.
Later in 1827 Poe enlisted into the United States Army where he stayed for
two years. In 1829 Poe wrote his second book Aarat, Tamberline, and Other
Poems by Edgar A. Poe. After Poe left the Army Poe reconciled with Poe’s father
and convinced John to send Poe to West Point Military Academy. Poe only stayed
at Westpoint for a year a which he was dismissed for neglect of duties. John then
disowned Poe forever.
In 1831 Poe moved back to Baltimore to live with his cousin and aunt. In
1831 Poe also wrote his third book Poems by Edgar A. Poe with financial help
from his friends at Westpoint. In 1832 Poe won a contest with "AMS found in a
bottle". Then in 1836 Poe married his cousin Virginia Clem whom Poe had bean
living with. Virginia was only thirteen when Poe married Virginia. Shortly after
Poe had married Virginia she contracted the deadly disease tuberculosis.
Virginia then died ten years later.
With the death of Poe’s wife Poe became very depressed. Poe then became
addicted to many drugs, mainly opium and laudanum. It is also reported that he
used morphine (Mankowitz 259,729).