Edgar Allan Poe's Biography

Edgar Edgar

Edgar Allan Poe

About

  • Born
    19 January 1809
  • Died
    07 October 1849
  • Sex
    Male
  • Nationality
    USA
  • Citizen
    American


From Poe's Birth to Death


He was born in Boston, 1809․ His father leaves the family, and his mother dies of a serious illness when Edgar was three years old. The child is being cared for by Richmond merchant John Allan, who then goes to England where Edgar teaches.

   In 1820 the Alaner family returned to Richmond, Edgar entered college, and in 1826 to the University of Virginia, where he studied for a year. During this time, Poe tries to secretly marry his beloved Sarah Reuters, which causes his stepfather to become angry, and John Allan expels his from home. Edgar Poe leaves for Boston, publishing the first collection of poems, which, however, fails him. However, in June 1833, Poe's manuscript in the bottle received the first Baltimore Saturday visitor literature prize, which made Poe the required prose.

   In December 1835 he was the editor of the Edgar Pon Southern library messenger magazine. Here he is visited by his aunt, Mary Clem, and his daughter, Virginia, with whom Poe marries half a year later. Soon, he quits her job and leaves for New York with his newlywed family and publishes several novels. However, the royalties were so small that the writer always needed money. In 1838, Edgar was offered the position of editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and left for Philadelphia. In 1839 he had enough money and published a two-volume volume of stories that already expressed the author's entire poetry, lyricism, tragedy, and emotion. He has lived in Philadelphia for six years and has published about thirty stories and numerous literary criticisms.

  Pon is the originator of detective literature (Morgue Street Murder, The Golden Beetle, and more). In the philosophical prose of Eureka, Poe revived the science fiction genre. Some of the specializations of his work - irrationalism, mysticism, the tendency to pathological conceptions - were later largely nourished by decadent literature.

  In 1844 Poe returned to New York and published a few novels, but to no avail. Instead, the poem published in 1845 and the collection of poems of the same name provided unprecedented popularity for Poe.
But soon the bright path of the writer's life was again obscured. At the age of 25, after a long and severe illness, his wife Virginia died. Out of pain and suffering, the writer began to drink heavily and use drugs. To quell his loneliness, he resorted to prostitution more and more often, and during a recurring depression, he attempted to end his life by suicide. At the same time, the poem Eureka was published, which Poe considers "the greatest revelation ever made by mankind." On October 3, 1849, Poe is unconscious on the railroads and dies four days later without recovering.


Personality

Appearance and character


 In the early descriptions of appearance, the image of an attractive and athletic young man, prone to thinness, prevailed. “Thin, like a razor,” is how John Allan described his fifteen-year-old stepson. According to childhood friends, young Poe was the “ringleader” and informal leader of the company. He was a tough, agile and well-built teenager. He was also an excellent swimmer - at the age of 15, he sailed upstream of the James River for seven and a half miles in front of his friends.

 The first most reliable description of Poe's appearance is that he indicated for entering the army: "gray eyes, brown hair, pale complexion, height - 5 feet 8 inches." A common point in the descriptions of Poe in his youth is chiseled facial features and lean physique, as well as the absence of a mustache. Instead, he wore whiskers, which are visible in the first portraits of the writer. Contemporary Poe, who lived in Baltimore in the early 1930s, described the appearance of a twenty-three-year-old writer․

 In many memoirs about the writer, it was mentioned that he was extremely responsive to his good attitude to himself and extremely painfully perceived injustice and any reproaches, ridicule in his address. The evidence of Edgar Allan Poe's early life does not mark the trait that became characteristic in adulthood and took root until the end of his life — frequent mood swings and psychological vulnerability in the face of problems that knocked him out of balance. Probably, the turning point occurred during his studies at the university and especially after expulsion from West Point, when he left his father's house. Poe was often observed in a gloomy mood and in a state of emotional stress, the cause of which can be found in the many difficulties that plagued him through life. But even in particularly difficult periods, he found the strength to write a lot. Throughout his writing career, Poe carefully and methodically edited previously written works, bringing them to perfection. Publisher Lambert Wilmer, a contemporary of Poe, noted his enormous capacity for work: "In my opinion, he was one of the most hardworking people on Earth. I went to visit him on different days at different times of the day and always took him away from work - he worked. ” Illustrator Felix Darley described the writer as follows.

Military career


 On May 26, 1827, Edgar Allan Poe, in dire need of money, signed an army contract for five years and became a private of the First Artillery Regiment of the US Army. In the documents, eighteen-year-old Poe indicated a fictitious name - "Edgar A. Perry" - and changed his age by "aging" himself by 4 years. Initially, the regiment was stationed at Fort Independence, in the suburbs of Boston, but in November order was received to relocate.

 The place of Po service was Fort Moultrie. on the island of Sullivan, located at the entrance to Charleston Bay, the same fort, which 50 years ago was impregnable for the British army. The nature of the island on which the writer spent a year was subsequently reflected in the story "The Golden Beetle" ․

 Edgar Allan Poe served at the headquarters, was engaged in paperwork, which is not surprising for a man who owned a letter a phenomenon quite rare for the army at that time and had neat handwriting. And the "gentlemanly" origin, good education and diligence ensured sympathy among the officers. January 1, 1829, Edgar A. Perry was awarded the title of a chief sergeant of the regiment - the highest neo-officer rank.

 In December 1828, the regiment was again transferred, this time to Fort Monroe Russian., Located in Hampton, near Norfolk. The soldier at headquarters had enough time free from service, and Edgar Allan Poe spent it on reading and writing. He not only wrote new verses but also modified the old ones, hatched a plan for the publication of the next, better-quality collection of material. At the same time, the service began to weigh on Poe, he realized that he was wasting time, and, having secured the support of a fellow officer, he decided to attempt to demobilize ahead of schedule. Edgar Allan Poe wrote several letters to his foster father, in which he showed a desire to enter the West Point Academy, but John Allan did not answer any of them․

 At the end of February 1829, Francis Allan's condition worsened. The disease, which made itself felt even in England, only progressed. On the night of February 28, when his wife's condition became critical, John Allan wrote a short letter in which he asked the adopted son to come immediately. Francis Allan died that morning. Edgar Allan Poe was able to come to Richmond only on March 2, not even having time for the funeral of his adoptive mother, whom he loved very much.

Having remained at home until the end of his dismissal, Poe again turned to Allan, and this time they reached an understanding. Having received the necessary documents from his adoptive father, Poe returned to the army, where the process of releasing him from service immediately began. The order was signed, and on April 15, 1829, he was fired from the army.

There is a legend that in his youth Edgar Poe visited the capital of Russia - St. Petersburg. Its author was himself. In his autobiography, written in 1839, Poe claims that after studying for a year at the University of Virginia, he ran away from home too, like Byron, fight for the freedom of the Greeks․

Analysis. Features of style and theme


Poetry


  In the first serious poetic experiment of Edgar Allan Poe, the collection Tamerlane and Other Poems, the influence of English romantics is traced: Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and especially Byron, whose personality and work attracted him so much. The poems were imitative, which, according to the literary critic Yu. V. Kovalev, "was the norm in the poetry of the American South." The motives of Po's early poetry were also typical of European romantic lyrics: longing, loneliness, disappointment, decline, death.


  Since 1830, that is, with the beginning of a mature stage in creativity, the central motifs of Po's lyrics became love and death. Together they joined in a plot that the poet considered the most poetic in the world - the death of a beautiful woman. This is also confirmed by statistics: of the thirty canonical poems published since 1831, eleven are devoted to death, eight to love, two to love and death, nine to other topics, and eight of the eleven “deadly” poems deal with death a beautiful woman. Poe saw the main goal of poetry in achieving an effect, the meaning of which was reduced to the emotional and psychological impact on the reader, arousal of emotional excitement, trepidation. That is why in the center of his lyrics are love and death, two events that, in the unanimous opinion of the romantics, possessed a powerful emotional charge.

Short story


Poe's early stories are mostly parody and experimental. Parody in them is a form of repulsion from the literary canons of traditional romanticism, a step towards understanding the laws of the genre and developing your style. In "Metzingerstein", which originally had the heading "In imitation of the German", - the horrors of German romantics, in "Date" - English romanticism of a Byron sense, in the stories "Duke de L'Omelet" and "Bon-Bon" - the bombast and vivacity of French romanticism. Despite the studentlike character of the early novels of Poe, stylistic techniques that he will bring to perfection in the future begin to be traced - an interweaving of terrible and comic, close attention to detail and vivid poetic imagery. Already in the first experiments, parody and satirical, a genre was formed, which became one of Poe's visiting cards, a psychological short story.

Psychological stories


The literary critic V. M. Price wrote: "Gloomy fiction, which gradually disappeared from European literature, flashed once more originally and vividly in" scary stories "It was once an epilogue of romanticism." The so-called psychological or "scary" stories of Poe are characterized by a plot depicting gloomy events and a catastrophe, the tragic changes in human consciousness, seized with fear and losing control of itself. They are characterized by a sinister, depressing atmosphere, a general atmosphere of hopelessness and despair. The mysticism of these stories is due to the author's desire to unravel the metamorphoses of the human psyche and to know its secret properties and pathologies, exposed in "abnormal" conditions. Of all the psychological states of man, Poe was especially interested in a feeling of fear: fear of death, life, loneliness, insanity, people, the future. The peak of psychological short stories by Poe is widely recognized as the "Fall of the Usher House" - a story depicting not fear of life or death, but fear of life and death, causing mental stupor and provoking the destruction of personality. The origins of Poe's interests in similar motives and themes can be found not only in the system of views of this artistic direction but also in his worldview, which was formed in adulthood in an atmosphere of extinction, hopelessness, and aimlessness. Poe, who grew up in Virginia, "mourned" the ideals of the intellectual aristocratic South, which were replaced by the ideals of Philadelphia and New York, which oppressed him, the centers of bourgeois and commercial America.


Detective stories


For Edgar Allan Poe, the activity of human intelligence was no less interesting than his psychology. Most clearly, it can be seen in the so-called detective stories or, as the author himself determined them, logical stories (English tales of ratiocination). To them, he included "Murder on Morgue Street", "The Secret of Marie Roger" and "The Stolen Letter". Glory to Poe as the founder of the detective story is not that he wrote the first detective story in the history of literature, but that he developed and applied the principles of the future genre, introduced its basic elements, and created its form and structure. A stable pair of characters has moved from his logical stories into the modern genre: the hero is the narrator, to which the hero with ordinary abilities, devoid of the originality of the mind, is added as the third element. U Poe is the prefect of G., who embodies the stagnant tradition of the police investigation and serves as the background for the most vivid disclosure of the talents of the hero, making them already amazing. There are also some differences between the first stories of Poe and contemporary specimens of the genre. So, the subsequent development of the detective changed the image of the narrator. In Poe he is more likely smart than stupid, only his mind is mediocre and devoid of the hero's intellectual abilities, flexibility and intuition. The structure of the logical stories of Poe was practically “canonized” in the genre of detective literature. It includes: information about the crime, reported to the reader; a description of the futile efforts of the police; appeal to the hero for help; striking disclosure of secrets. Necessarily, everything ends with a detailed explanation, which allows us to trace the character’s thoughts, with the details and details of the intellectual process leading to a solution.

Poe's works


It is well known that Edgar Poe tried to apply science and especially mathematics to literature. One of the "logical" novels of Poe is "The Golden Beetle." The logic of this novel is not to reveal murder, but to uncover treasures.
The name of the Poe genre is exactly the kind of logical novel. Pon applied mathematics to literature for the first time in literature, proposing to his hero a mathematical problem, which he brilliantly solved. The poetic aesthetic purpose is also clearly set out in the novel The Golden Beetle when the author wonders how the main character William Legrand was able to solve a complicated mathematical problem or equation, in this case, the cryptogram or cryptogram. The whole point is that Legrand can remove novel characters and perceive them as symbols. It is about golden beetle and skull symbols. To Legrand, the reality is presented as cryptography. Suddenly, he begins to suspect that the skull's appearance on the parchment accidentally found on the beach is a symbol, a symbol of the pirates. When we look at the novel visual system, a remarkable fact is revealed: Legrand wrapped the gold beetle in that scroll to show a friend what the beetle was, drawing on the scroll. The skull image on the opposite side of the parchment is then seen under the heat of a fireplace, but to a friend who is the author of the story, it seems that the beetle looks like a skull, and so does the reader perceive the mystery. Here, two characters, the beetle and the skull appear as identical layers, stopping at each other and referring to the false story-teller. Oh, look! He dances like crazy. He has bitten him. The commentary appears to be from Arthur Murphy's play "Everyone Is Wrong", but researchers have found that such work does not exist at all. However, the fact that the golden beetle has bitten Legrand, the fierce search for his treasures, links him to a physicist. The reader, together with the narrator, recognizes Legrand as an old-fashioned old man. But that is a false trace specific to all detectives. This hero of the poem is distinguished by both signs of madness and extraordinary intellectual abilities, but the narrator directs us to pay attention to his symptoms of insanity and not to mental abilities, which in the end comes as a surprise. Poe describes his hero as follows: "Many lines of that lonely character inspired interest and respect. I have seen that he is well educated and possessed of extraordinary abilities, but at the same time, he is infected with anthropomorphism and suffers from a debilitating state of mind, occasionally falling into exultation and sometimes gloom. " All heroes of the poem are endowed with such traits of loneliness, anthropomorphism, and symptoms of mental disorder, but they also have a characteristic that is needed to find the mathematical unknown, solve the password, and reconstitute the past through logic. a trait that not only Poe's but also all the detective heroes possess. The first manifestation of these extraordinary abilities, as we have seen, is the perception of the novel's hero's creation as a symbol, by which Poe has resolved his task. The symbol, as a kind of artistic image, is precisely that in this novel and generally refers to the artistic imagination, and in general, the symbol can be considered the highest degree of abstraction of the artistic imagination. Alexey Losev describes the symbol as a mathematical formula with many meanings. The detective is seen as equating many unknowns. Poe discovered that his hero was able to not only guess that he was dealing with the symbol but also to find out the specific meaning of the multiple symbols. The Golden Beetle novelist, Legrand, finds a treasure hunt through a skull image.


"To return the treasure through the evil symbol of the pirates, there is a poetic reference here," says the writer-author.


"Maybe that's the case, though I think that practical considerations are less important here than poetic imagination," Legrand replies. Pon here, through heroes, speaks of the two ways in which Legrand has achieved accurate logic and poetic imagination. Poetic imagination refers to Legrand's ability to perceive the images of the outside world as symbols, and precise logic to accurately guess the content of the symbol (as well as to solve the heat-affected password on parchment).


Poe, who tried to apply correct logic in literature, realized that logic had to be aesthetically pleasing. Abraham Wallis notes in a large article on detective poetry: "According to Poe, logic must be anesthetized. This is the most subtle explanation of the paradoxes that accompany the detective both in practice and in a modern interpretation. The detective, according to Poe, is a paradox, since the comparative beginning embodied in the image here encounters an analysis of the opposite force, which brings with it a formal solution and a new aesthetic phenomenon - image-problem. In the aestheticization of logic - informal logic and artistic imagination (if we go by the term Goethe), it is precisely the poetic novelty found by Poe.

 

Tales

"The Black Cat"

"The Cask of Amontillado"

"A Descent into the Maelström"

"The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"

"The Fall of the House of Usher"

"The Gold-Bug"

"Hop-Frog"

"The Imp of the Perverse"

"Ligeia"

"The Masque of the Red Death"

"Morella"

"The Murders in the Rue Morgue"

"The Oval Portrait"

"The Pit and the Pendulum"

"The Premature Burial"

"The Purloined Letter"

"The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"

"The Tell-Tale Heart"

"Loss of Breath (tale)"

Poetry

"Al Aaraaf"

"Annabel Lee"

"The Bells"

"The City in the Sea"

"The Conqueror Worm"

"A Dream Within a Dream"

"Eldorado"

"Eulalie"

"The Haunted Palace"

"To Helen"

"Lenore"

"Tamerlane"

"The Raven"

"Ulalume"

Other works


Politician (1835) – Poe's only play

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) – Poe's only complete novel

"The Balloon-Hoax" (1844) – A journalistic hoax printed as a true story

"The Philosophy of Composition" (1846) – Essay

Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848) – Essay

"The Poetic Principle" (1848) – Essay

"The Light-House" (1849) – Poe's last incomplete work

Monuments


In 1921, at the initiative of the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Society, a sculpture by Moses Ezekiel Russian was erected in Baltimore. The organization proposed to erect a monument in 1909, in honor of the centenary of the writer’s birthday, but due to lack of funds, several accidents and the beginning of World War I War, it was erected only 12 years later. In 1986, the monument was moved from Wyman Park to the square opposite the building of the Law Faculty of the University of Baltimore Russian, where it stands to this day.

The monument to Charles Rudy, made at the personal expense of talent admirer Poe, Dr. George Edward Barksdale, was donated to the “Virginians” and installed in 1959. A bronze statue of the writer on a pink granite pedestal is located on the Virginia State Capitol Square. in Richmond.

In honor of the 165th anniversary of the writer's death, on October 5, 2014, the monument "Po Returning to Boston" was unveiled in Boston. The full-length bronze statue by Stephanie Roknak depicts Poe with a suitcase in his hand, going towards the house where the writer's parents lived in the first years of his life; next to him is a raven. The monument was made and installed at the expense of Boston organizations: the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation and the City Art Commission, as well as a donation from writer Stephen King.

Museums and memorials


In the United States, there are several organizations dedicated to the memory of Edgar Allan Poe, which is located in places that are somehow connected with the life of the writer. None of the houses where Poe lived in childhood have survived to this day. The oldest surviving building is the house in Richmond, in which the Edgar Poe Museum has been operating since 1922. In the past, not far from this house was the editorial board of Southern Literary Messenger - his place of work in 1835-1837. However, Poe never lived in this house. The museum exposition is represented by many documents: original manuscripts, letters, first editions of his works, as well as personal items.

Edgar Allan Poe in popular culture


"Poe has much more in common with writers and artists of the 21st century than with his contemporaries," is the long-term influence of the American writer on popular culture, explained Paul Lewis, professor at Boston College. However, Poe was not a writer, "divorced" from his time - striving not only for popularity but also for commercial success, he wrote, taking into account the tastes of the public. Time has shown that interest in his person and works, undergoing numerous adaptations, does not fade away after many years. Special illustrated editions of his books appear, including for children, comics, and souvenirs. Film studios around the world continue to appeal to the works of the American writer, his work was an inspiration for many musicians and performers of various genres. In honor of the Raven poem, the NFL Baltimore Ravens team got its name, and the Association of Detective Writers of America annually presents the Edgar Allan Poe Prize in Literature, Cinema, and Theater

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