Edgar Allan Poe

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An orphan at the age of two, a schoolboy who had mastered even the most complex Latin works by the time he was a teenager, an athletic student who defended his friends from the biggest bullies, a man deeply connected with Baltimore and one of Americas finest writers. these are all phrases that describe Edgar Allan Poe and there are many more.
Edgar Allan Poe, born in Boston on January 19th, 1809, died on October 7th, 1849 in Baltimore. Best known for his poems and short fiction, he deserves more credit than any other writer for the transformation of the short story from anecdote (*) to art. He virtually created the detective story and perfected the psychological thriller. He also produced some of the most influential literary criticism of his time - important theoretical statements on poetry and the short story - and has had a worldwide influence on literature.
Poes parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins, were touring actors. Both died before Edgar was 3 years old, and he was taken into the home of John Allan, a prosperous merchant (*) in Richmond, and baptized Edgar Allan Poe.
Temporarily reconciled, Allan secured Poes release from the army and his appointment to West Point but refused to provide financial support. After 6 months, Poe apparently contrived to be dismissed from West Point for disobedience of orders. He next took up residence in Baltimore with his widowed aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia, and turned to fiction as a way to support himself. In 1832, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier published five of his stories - all comic or satiric (***) - and in 1833, Message Found in a Bottle won a $50 prize given by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor. Poe, his aunt, and Virginia moved to Richmond in 1835, and he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia, who was not yet 14 years old.
Poe published fiction, notably his most horrifying tale, Berenice in the Messenger, but most of his contributions were serious, analytical (*) reviews that earned him respect as a critic. The January 1837 issue of the Messenger announced Poes withdrawal as editor but also included the first instalment of his long prose tale, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, five of his reviews, and two of his poems. This was to be the paradoxical (**) pattern for Poes career: success as an artist and editor but failure to satisfy his employers and to secure a livelihood.
First in New York City (1837), then in Philadelphia (1838-44), and again in New York (1844-49), Poe sought to establish himself as a force in literary journalism, but with only moderate success. He did succeed, however, in formulating influential literary theories and in demonstrating mastery of the forms he favoured - highly musical poems and short prose narratives. Both forms, he argued, should aim at a certain unique or single effect. His theory of short fiction is best exemplified in Ligeia, the tale Poe considered his finest ...

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