Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) was a critic, poet, and author known for his tales of mystery and the macabre which were precursors to science fiction. Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. When his mother died soon after father abandoned the family, he was fostered by the Allan family of Richmond, Virginia. He dropped out of college because of finances, then enlisted in the Army. Given an opportunity to attend West Point, he was expelled because he had decided he wanted out, then failed to perform his duties.
Poe became the first American writer to support himself with his writing. Unfortunately, his literary success did not lead to financial success. He was chronically strapped for funds throughout his life. Known as the “Tomahawk Man,” Poe was feared as a literary critic. He was especially critical of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, even accusing him of plagiarism.
In 1835 Poe married his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. He was twice her age. (More on her later.) Unable to obtain a position with the government, he worked for a series of magazines and publications. When The Raven published in The Evening Mirror, it was met with immediate popular success. He only received $9 for his work. The lack of pay and the lack of copyright protection for his work left him to live in relative poverty. On October 7, 1849, at the age 40, Poe died in Baltimore. The cause of his death is unknown and the subject of another day’s post. Rita Bay