Edgar Allen Poe: Birth And Military

1254 words - 5 pages

The story of the 19th century Romantic era poet Edgar Allen Poe is an interesting one indeed. Throughout his life he played the role of a writer of short stories, an editor and critic of all works, and poet of emotion; revolutionizing each role through his extremely pragmatic style. As a writer, Poe wrote everything from love stories to comedies to horror stories, even inventing the detective mystery genre, and as a poet, he set out to use poetry to transmit and arouse the reader’s sense of beauty through feeling. He had a short-lived career in the military while still publishing short stories and poems. After deciding the military was not for him, he got himself dismissed and threw himself entirely at his literature. Unsuccessful and on the brink of starving Poe took a job as an editor and critic for the Southern Literary Messenger, using the position to publish more of his poems. In contrast to his other roles, Poe as a critic was invective and bitter, going to far as to show contempt for the writers of works that he did not like. He decided to focus more on short stories than on novels and continued to work as an editor and publish collections of short stories. However, despite his successes in the literary world his life was still a tragic one. Poe struggled with money his whole life, despite a wealthy family raising him; as well as dealing with the loss of many loved ones. Despite having some success with his poems, his works never got the notice they deserved during his lifetime. After the death of his wife, he became severely depressed and addicted to alcohol and opiates. He was in a downward spiral, desperately trying to salvage his life while battling an unknown illness that finally took his life at the age of forty. Even after his death, Poe’s literary nemeses tarnished his reputation and only many years later, critics and common readers finally recognized him as the literary genius that he was. His legacy inspired countless other authors and even whole genres of literature and short story.
Poe started his life in 1809, the son of David and Elizabeth Poe. David eventually deserted Elizabeth, leaving her to care for their three children. When Edgar was only two years old, his mother passed away from tuberculosis. Henry, Edgar’s older brother, went to live with their grandparents; leaving Edgar to be adopted by John Allan, a wealthy merchant; and Edgar’s sister, Rosalie, to be adopted by another family. At the age of six, John Allan sent him to a boarding school in England for five years, where he learned Latin and French. After returning home, he began attending The University of Virginia in 1826, at the age of 17. He continued his study of both ancient and modern languages, and excelled in all his literary classes. The University Faculty recognized his brilliance and listed him as having “excelled in the senior French class” (Kent 21). However, he soon became addicted to gambling and alcohol. With John Allan refusing to send him more...

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