Edgar Allen Poe was a great writer and made many contributions to the works of literature. He is known as the father of the American short story and also the father of the detective story. To understand Poes literary contributions, his early life, literacy life, and works must be examined. Each aspect of his life revolves around the other.
Edgar Allen Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. He was born to a Southern family who belonged in a traveling company of actors. David Poe, his father, was from a Baltimore family, was an actor by profession, and heavily drank. Soon after Edgars birth, David Poe left his family. His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, was also an actor and died of tuberculosis when Edgar was only two.After being orphaned, he was adopted by John Allen by the urging of Mr. Allens wife.
In 1815, John Allen moved his family to England and sent Edgar to private schools. After being transferred around many times, Edgar entered into the University Of Virginia in the spring of 1826. At the time of his entrance, Edgar was the youngest pupil in the University. While there, he studied Spanish, French, Italian, and Latin and maintained an excellent scholastic record. Edgar also encountered many difficulties while attending the university. Mr. Allen did not provide Edgar with the money to pay for his fees and other necessities to put him the school.
Confused and homesick, Edgar began playing cards, gambling, and drinking. He soon accumulated an excessive debt of two thousand dollars. Discovering he could not depend upon his foster father for financial support to pay off his debts, he withdrew from the University.In May of 1827, Poe enlisted in the army as a common solider under the name of Edgar A.
Perry. He was stationed on Sullivanss Island in Charleston Harbor for over a year. Adapting very well to military discipline, he quickly rose to the rank of regimental sergeant major. After a while, he got tired of the same daily routine involved in military life. Keeping correspondence with John Allen by letters, he met with him after the death of Mrs.
Allen in February 1829. With Mr. Allens support, he received his discharge and enlisted in West Point on July 1, 1830.While at West Point, Mr. Allen, who had remarried, continued to not provide Poe with enough money.
Being rebellious, Edgar decided to have himself kicked out of school by cutting class and disregarding orders. He was finally court-martialed for neglect of duties in January of 1831 and left West Point the following month. This act also caused John Allen to completely disown Edgar.
In 1831, Poe succeeded in publishing a new edition of his poems entitled Poems. Even with his publishment, he was in great finical trouble. HE traveled to New York but failed at finding a job. Eventually he took refuge with his aunt, Mrs.
Clemm, in Baltimore. There he deiced to seek employment and make a living by writing. Failing to get attention with his poems, he decided to write short stories.Poe competed in a contest for the best short story in 1831.
Phil-Saturday Courier was offering the prize. Poe did not win the prize and the loss began him on an ambitious project. He decided to plan a series tales told by members of a literary group. After unsuccessfully trying to find a publisher, he again entered the contest in June of 1835. This time he sent one poem and six storied. His story, Ms. Found in a Bottle won, and he received one hundred dollars for it.
Through the influence of one of the judges, John P. Kennedy, Edgar became employed as an editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, published in Richmond, VA. Under Poes editorship, the Messengers circulation rose from 500 to 3500 subscribers. While in Richmond, VA, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who was not quite fourteen years of age.
Poe was fired from the Messenger in January of 1837.After being fired, Edgar moved around to try to find work. First trying in New York, he was unsuccessful. Then in the summer of 1838, he moved to Philadelphia, Pa.
While in Philadelphia, he wrote as the editor of both Burtons Gentlemens Magazine and Grahams Magazine. He also again entered another writing contest and won another hundred-dollar prize for The Gold Bug. Even after that win, Edgar again packed up and headed for New York. Successfully finding a job in New York, he began working as an assistant editor the Evening Mirror. This is where The Raven first appeared on January 29, 1845. The poem immediately caught the imagination of the public and was reprinted all over the country and even abroad in all kinds of papers and magazines.
He only pocketed a few dollars for his poems though.The year of 1845 was a lucky year for Poe. He published a collection of his tales and an edition of his poems named The Raven and Other Poems. He also became the editor of the weekly Broadway Journal.
At this point in time, Edgars life was going accordingly. Then in January of 1848, his wife Virginia died of tuberculosis. Edgar broke down from her death and died on October 7, 1849. His death is still a mystery to the world today. On October 3, 1849, he was taken to Washington College Hospital.
The doctor attending to him no longer practiced and kept unclear notes. It is believed that Edgar had been mugged before brought to the hospital and he was not drunk when he arrived. Earlier in the weak he had been diagnosed with lesions on the brain.
Those factors could have contributed to his death.In Poes writing, Masque of The Red Death, he uses his imagination throughout the story. He bases the plot on a plague, which takes only a half-hour to run its course, devastates an entire country. At first, the infected person feels sharp pains and dizziness. The person then begins to bleed at the pores and ultimately dies. Prince Prospero has ordered one thousand lords and ladies to the deep seclusion of one of his abbeys. The building was built by the Prince, is filled with his exotic ornaments, and then sealed from the outside world by a huge wall with iron gates.
Inside the building are dancers, musicians, and everything needed in order to stay secluded until the plague runs its course. After six months of seclusion, the Prince decides to hold a masked ball in a suite with seven rooms. Each room is decorated in a single color with the last in red.
Within this room is a huge clock that strikes the hour with a heavy clang. At the stroke of midnight, a guest is seen in a costume of the red death itself and this frightens the other guests. The Prince is angered at what he believes to be a practical joke and orders the stranger seized and hung from the battlements. Prince Prospero follows the stranger into the red chamber and it is there that he falls dead at the feet of the stranger. The others capture the unknown person in the costume only to find to their horror that there is no living form in the costume.
One by one they die until no one else remains.In this story, Edgar portrays that death is king of all. Just because the sleet few had escaped the plague the first time did not mean they could fully escape it. He tries to explain that no one can run from death. His viewpoint on this could greatly be due to the death of his mother and his feeling of misery.
Since he never fully felt accepted by his foster father, he could have blamed death for that misery in his life.Another work is a poem entitled Alone. This poem directly points out Edgars thoughts on his life. He describes his feeling with phrases such as And all I loved, I loved alone and From childhoods hour I have not been, As Others where; I have not seen. In this poem he describes his loneliness and his feelings of being alone. He explains how all his life he has felt different and known that he was not the same as others.
He tells of how his view has been obscured by his life and portrays the hopelessness that he deals with.Instead of really living out his life, Poe took refuge from the physical world in the private world of his dreams. He lived in the world of his tales.
All of Edgars life he felt out of place and not in touch with people. By sharing and portraying his feeling in writings, he compiled many great literary works. Those writings will remain popular for many years to come due to the mystery that Poe incorporated in each of his works.Bibliography: