Free «Edgar Allan Poe» Essay Sample

Edgar Allan Poe

It is a well-known fact that the life of talented writers, poets, musicians, and film stars influences their works a lot. Edgar Allan Poe, who is believed to be the father of the modern detective story, is not an exception (Merriman 2006). Like many other geniuses, he had also a number of tragedies, all of which influenced his works a lot. It should be said that from the very beginning of Allan’s writing career, the writer enjoyed creating poems for the real loves of his life. Thus, after reaching adulthood and facing the harsh realities of the real life, Allan’s writing became far darker and, in addition, more disturbing because of his rather excessive experimentation with both, opium and alcohol. As a result, some of Allan’s horror stories still remain among the scariest stories which have ever been written.

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Moreover, readers often wonder where Allan could come up with such strange, terrific ideas for his stories. What type of a man could ever write such horrifying stories? Some people have even speculated on the reasons for these themes to be so naturally to him. So, a lot of historians believe his unstable love life to be the main source, meanwhile others attribute it to his substance abuse. However, there is no exact information. As a result, let’s think that the main cause of his truly unique works to be a combination of these theories. But it should be mentioned that still the primary factor of his unusual writing is the death of a great number of people he used to love and the real abuse that some of them have inflicted upon Allan. So, it is clear that these factors have darkened his outlook significantly.

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Edgar Allan Poe lived a truly tragic life; however, his life is a really great story to tell. To start with, Meyers claims that Edgar’s life was marred by the tragedy at the very early age: he was only 3 years old when his parents died. As a result, he grew up in the foster family. In addition, in his childhood, Poe was always afraid of death, as well as dead or dying people, and he used to panic each time he passed any cemetery, thinking that the ghosts or bodies could come after him. Besides, John Allan, Poe’s foster father, used to be abusive towards him, and they constantly fought. As a result, Poe enlisted in the Army because he simply wanted to be far away from him.

Needless to say, John Allan often was under the alcohol in the fights and even some physical abuse ensued. It is important to mention that according to Hervey, it was when Poe excelled in the military, he published his first book, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, that has become so rare and valuable nowadays that a single copy has recently been sold for more than $200,000. Thus, this book is believed to be one of the “lighter” Allan’s books, containing a number of mere poems to the girls he liked. Of course, John’s abuse had only a little influence on his writing at that time; however, later Poe would find out how abusive, unfair, and cruel our world could be, even when comparing with the living with the abusive drunk.

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Meanwhile, during his living in the foster family, he had a completely different experience due to Frances Keeling Valentine Allan. It is believed that she preserved Edgar the moments of light-heartedness even when he experienced John’s abuse. It was Frances who in her free time taught Poe a lot of school subjects, including history, literature, and, of course, writing. Needless to mention, Poe enjoyed those lessons a lot, and what’s more, he adored the sweetness with which she used to handle him. Moreover, his foster mother protected him from the abuse when she was able to control her husband. She soon died, and for Edgar it was extremely hard to handle with her death.

At the age of six, Edgar and his family moved to Scotland, where he went to Irvine Old Grammar School and after that to the Manor House boarding school near London. It was in 1820 when Poe left school and together with the family moved to New York. When Poe was 17 years old, he attended the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, for nearly half a year; however, soon he dropped out.

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It was in 1838 when Allan married his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was only 13 years old. After her death, six years later, Poe had a very excessive life with alcohol and drugs. It is obvious that Allan's works influenced on symbolism, the fantastic literature development, as well as crime literature, for example, the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, and others. Besides, it should be said that Poe’s early work was rather influenced by the German Romantic period writers, for example, E. T. A. Hoffmann and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. As to his later influences, Charles Dickens, whom Allan knew personally, was among them.

According to, in 1936 Allan wrote six poems, several essays, and a few stories. It was in 1839 when he worked in Philadelphia for Burton’s “Gentleman’s Magazine”, his work started to get noticed and spoken about. Two years later, Edgar got a proposition to work for George Graham as an editor and got $800 a year. It is interesting to mention that it was the year when Allan started writing his famous story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” In addition, Poe started publishing his horror tales, including “The Pit and The Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

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In 1845 Allan wrote his most famous poem “The Raven”, which he became famous for worldwide. Two years later Poe also suffered a nervous breakdown because of his wife passing away due to TB. It was hard time for Poe, he even attempted suicide, and was also trying to bring back his writing career. It is obvious that he suffered a lot, and at the age of 40 he died. That was on October 7, 1849, in Baltimore. It is believed that the main reason of his death was alcoholism.

To sum up, it is clear that Edgar Allan Poe’s life influenced his writing a lot. It is obvious that due to all the tragedies that he experienced his oft-quoted works feature the darkly passionate sensibilities, both tormented and in some cases neurotic obsession, featuring death, violence, and, of course, the overall appreciation for all the beautiful but yet tragic mysteries of the life. Allan’s tragic life inspired him to write in the rather dark and gloomy style, emphasizing on the more sinister side of the human nature.

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Finally, even his death was rather tragic, because people found him wandering and, besides, too delirious to tell how he could come to be in such a horrible state. Edgar Allan Poe was buried unceremoniously in unmarked grave in Baltimore. Thus, tragedy was a vital theme in his life, and all his pieces of work reflected that darkness, which was instilled by such the everlasting sorrow (Dictionary of American Biography). However, Allan still remains one of the most famous, beloved, and often read of all American writers. What’s more, Poe’s haunting poems along with interesting stories are likely to endure and be read by our next generations in different countries.

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