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Edgar Allan Poe's Biography

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Edgar Allan Poe was born on 19 January 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He died on 7 October 1849.

Much of Edgar Allan Poe's extraordinary life was spent in poverty and ill-health.

His father having already absconded, when his mother, who was an actress, died on December 8, 1811, Edgar Allan Poe was adopted by a merchant, John Allan, who lived in Richmond, Virginia.

After spending just one year at the University of Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe had accumulated gambling debts and had altercations with his foster-father. He enlisted in the U.S. Army using the name Edgar A. Perry.

Two years later Edgar Allan Poe secured a discharge from the army and went to Baltimore, where he lived with his aunt, Maria Poe Clemm.

Edgar Allan Poe went to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but was dismissed in 1831 for deliberate neglect of duty.

By this time he had already had published works, but now he concentrated on his journalism and his writing.

In 1836, Edgar Allan Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who was just thirteen years old. Virginia died 11 years later.

In November 1848, Poe attempted suicide. A year later he was due to marry again (to Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton), but on 3 October, the intended day of the wedding, he was found outside a tavern, semi-conscious. Poe died just four days later. Throughout his life Edgar Allan Poe had fought a battle with alcohol addiction.

Edgar Allan Poe's notable works include:

  • the Gothic Romance 'The Fall of the House of Usher'(1840), which he wrote for Burton's Gentleman's Magazine;
  • 'The Raven' (1845); and
  • 'The Murders in The Rue Morgue'(1841) regarded by many as the first English language detective story.

There is no doubt that Poe's Dupin had an important influence on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In October 2009, the BBC reported that Edgar Allan Poe was finally to be honoured with a decent funeral service.

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