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Ok, **Let’s Research the Hell Out of: Edgar Allan Poe**

# Summary
Here are some key facts about Edgar Allan Poe:

* Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic. He is considered a master of macabre and a pioneer of short stories and detective fiction.
* Some of his most famous works include the poem “The Raven”, the short stories “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, and his only novel “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”.
* His writing style is characterized by a love of the macabre, mystery, and psychological exploration of the darker human emotions like grief, loss and guilt. His works contain elements of gothic fiction and helped establish the modern detective story.
* Poe struggled with poverty, the deaths of several loved ones including his young wife Virginia, bouts of depression, and struggles with alcoholism throughout his life. These life experiences influenced his writing’s gloomy themes.
* In addition to fiction, Poe wrote influential literary criticism, including his famous essay “The Philosophy of Composition” explaining his process for writing “The Raven”.
* Though not commercially successful during his lifetime, Poe inspired many future writers and had a major influence on the development of science fiction and the modern horror genre. He is now regarded as one of the great masters of American literature.

# Early Years
Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood was marked by tragedy and instability. Born on January 19, 1809, to traveling actors Eliza and David Poe, Edgar faced early hardships as his father abandoned the family and his mother passed away when he was just two years old. Following his mother’s death, Edgar was taken in by John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia, but he was never formally adopted. This lack of formal adoption led to ongoing tensions between Edgar and his foster father.

As a teenager, Poe experienced a brief period of elite upper-class life before attending the University of Virginia. However, financial struggles and gambling debts forced him to leave the university prematurely. Additionally, his engagement to Elmira Royster was broken off during this time, adding to his emotional turmoil.

After leaving the university, Poe moved to Boston where he published his first book of poetry under the pseudonym “A Bostonian.” Despite facing financial challenges and personal losses, Poe’s literary career began to take shape during this tumultuous period.

Overall, Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood was characterized by parental loss, financial difficulties, and emotional upheaval, setting the stage for the dark and mysterious themes that would later define his literary works.

Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood was marked by tragedy and instability. Born on January 19, 1809, to traveling actors Eliza and David Poe, Edgar faced early hardships as his father abandoned the family and his mother passed away when he was just two years old. Following his mother’s death, Edgar was taken in by John and Frances Allan in Richmond, Virginia, but he was never formally adopted. This lack of formal adoption led to ongoing tensions between Edgar and his foster father.

As a teenager, Poe experienced a brief period of elite upper-class life before attending the University of Virginia. However, financial struggles and gambling debts forced him to leave the university prematurely. Additionally, his engagement to Elmira Royster was broken off during this time, adding to his emotional turmoil.

After leaving the university, Poe moved to Boston where he published his first book of poetry under the pseudonym “A Bostonian.” Despite facing financial challenges and personal losses, Poe’s literary career began to take shape during this tumultuous period.

Overall, Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood was characterized by parental loss, financial difficulties, and emotional upheaval, setting the stage for the dark and mysterious themes that would later define his literary works.

# First Poem
Edgar Allan Poe began writing poetry during his adolescence. His first collection of poetry, “Tamerlane and Other Poems,” was published in 1827 when he was 18 years old[5]. However, the specific poem that can be identified as his first is not clearly documented.

Edgar Allan Poe’s first major poem is “Tamerlane,” which is part of his first published collection “Tamerlane and Other Poems,” published in 1827. This collection marked the beginning of Poe’s career as a writer, although it received little attention at the time of its publication.

# Sampling of Poems
Some of Edgar Allan Poe’s published poems include:
* “A Dream”
* “A Dream Within A Dream”
* “Alone”
* “Annabel Lee”
* “Bridal Ballad”
* “The Bells”
* “The City in the Sea”
* “The Coliseum”
* “The Conqueror Worm”
* “Eldorado”
* “Eulalie”
* “Evening Star”
* “Fairyland”
* “For Annie”
* “The Haunted Palace”
* “Hymn”
* “Lenore”
* “The Raven”
* “To Helen”
* “Ulalume”
* “The Valley of Unrest”

# Relationships
Edgar Allan Poe married Virginia Clemm on May 16, 1836. She was his 13-year-old cousin, and they stayed married until her death from tuberculosis in 1847. Poe was engaged to Sarah Elmira Royster twice; first as a teenager, and again in 1849, shortly before his death. He had a romantic correspondence with poet Frances Sargent Osgood, and their relationship was publicized through exchanged poems. Poe was also briefly engaged to poet Sarah Helen Whitman in 1848, but the engagement ended due to Poe’s inability to stay sober.

## Virginia Clemm Poe
Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was Edgar Allan Poe’s wife and cousin. They were married on May 16, 1836, when Poe was 27 and Virginia was 13, although her age was listed as 21 on the marriage certificate. The marriage was held at the home of Mrs. James Yarrington, the owner of the boarding house where Poe, Virginia, and Virginia’s mother Maria Clemm were staying. Virginia and Poe might have had a platonic relationship, with some scholars speculating that Virginia died a virgin and that their marriage was never consummated, although there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. Virginia’s health was poor, and she died of tuberculosis on January 30, 1847.

## Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton
Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton was engaged to Edgar Allan Poe twice. Their first engagement occurred in 1826 when Poe was a 17-year-old student, but it was broken due to her family’s opposition. Royster later married Alexander Shelton. After becoming a widow, she re-engaged Poe in September 1849, less than a month before his death. Poe died ten days before their planned wedding date.

## Frances Sargent Osgood
Frances Sargent Osgood was a popular poet and writer of the mid-nineteenth century, and she had a romantic and literary relationship with Poe. They met at a literary salon hosted by Anne Charlotte Lynch in New York City in March 1845. Osgood and Poe exchanged poems and engaged in a literary courtship through Poe’s magazine, the Broadway Journal. Poe praised Osgood’s work for its “happy refinement”. Their relationship was considered a flirtation, and it was public enough to attract attention and commentary from their contemporaries.

## Sarah Helen Whitman
Sarah Helen Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and a romantic interest of Edgar Allan Poe. They first crossed paths in Providence in July 1845 but did not formally meet until later. Whitman was an admirer of Poe’s work, and they shared a mutual interest in literature, transcendentalism, and the occult. They began exchanging letters and poetry, and after Poe recited a poem directly to Whitman in December 1848, she agreed to an “immediate marriage” on the condition that Poe remain sober. However, their engagement was short-lived, and they never married.

# Mental Health
Edgar Allan Poe is widely recognized as having suffered from recurrent depression, which has led some to suggest that he may have had bipolar disorder. His personal life was fraught with difficulties that are commonly associated with an increased risk of depression, such as the loss of loved ones, substance abuse, and financial struggles. Poe’s mother died when he was very young, and he experienced further loss with the death of his foster mother and later his wife. He also had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, which ultimately contributed to his death.

A computational analysis of over 400 of his stories, poems, and personal letters revealed language patterns that are indicative of recurrent depression, particularly in his personal letters. These patterns included the use of more self-referential words and fewer collective pronouns, which are consistent with the language use of individuals who are depressed or at risk of suicide. Notably, some of Poe’s texts, including personal letters and the unfinished work “The Light-House,” scored abnormally high on a depression index created by researchers.

Poe’s writings, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” have been analyzed for their portrayal of mental illness, with some interpretations suggesting that the narrator exhibits characteristics of schizophrenia. Additionally, Poe’s behavior has been described as emotionally unstable, and he was known to have a dramatic and melancholic personality. His tendency towards suicidal thinking was also noted by contemporaries and has been a subject of speculation regarding the cause of his death.

# Military Career
Edgar Allan Poe’s time in the military was marked by a mix of success and controversy. Initially, Poe excelled in the army, rising to the rank of sergeant major and later becoming an artificer responsible for calculating explosive loads. His scientific intellect and attention to detail were recognized, leading to promotions and increased responsibilities. However, Poe’s military career took a turn when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Despite academic success, financial troubles, quarrels with his foster father, and a rebellious attitude led to Poe being court-martialed and ultimately dismissed from West Point. This marked the end of his military career, but it was a period that showcased both his potential for success and his struggles with authority and discipline.

# Fun Facts
Poe’s literary prowess was evident early on, as he became the first person to use the term “short story,” a testament to his pioneering role in shaping the genre. Poe’s name itself carries a touch of the theatrical, inspired by a character from Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” reflecting his parents’ acting background and perhaps foreshadowing his own dramatic contributions to literature. Even after his death, Poe’s influence persisted, with claims of posthumous writings emerging, adding a layer of enduring mystery to his legacy. These facets of Poe’s life paint a picture of a man deeply intertwined with the literary world, leaving an indelible mark that transcends time.

# Favorite Food
There are no records or interviews that state his specific food preferences. However, it is suggested that because Poe was poor for most of his life, he likely ate simple, inexpensive foods such as bread and butter. Additionally, there are references to him enjoying brandy and eggnog, and when he could afford it, cheese and wine. Given the lack of concrete evidence, it is not possible to determine a favorite food with certainty.

# Other Favorites
Poe often wrote with his Siamese cat on his shoulder. This detail suggests a fondness for cats, particularly his own pet, which could be considered one of his favorite things.

# Death
_Contributor:_ Jessica

Edgar Allan Poe’s death remains a mystery, with several theories proposed. One theory suggests he died from complications of alcoholism, supported by accounts of heavy drinking before his death. Another theory speculates he may have died from rabies due to his symptoms and difficulty drinking water. Additionally, there is a theory that Poe may have been a victim of a violent crime related to electoral fraud known as “cooping,” where victims were forced to vote repeatedly. The cause of death was officially recorded as “succumbing to phrenitis,” which could suggest a drug- or alcohol-related death. Despite various theories, the exact circumstances surrounding Edgar Allan Poe’s death remain uncertain.

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