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Edgar Allan Poe 6 Essay

2634 words - 11 pages

Although not originally well received, Edgar Allan Poe, became one of the most influential literary writers in American history. As a child, he wrote numerous poems, many which were later published. As a young adult he focused much of his attention on short fiction. He was credited with creating the detective story and known for his psychological and often violent thrillers. He is also known for his macabre themes and for having a fascination with death. Literary students should recognize these characteristics associated with Poe's writings were shaped by many tragedies in his life, such as abandonment of his father, untimely death's of his mother, brother, wife, and other loved one's, and the problems he faced with his adoptive father.Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to New York where his father, David Poe, resumed his acting career. David soon quit acting and abandoned his family. He died a short time later (Harrison 22). Soon afterward, Edgar's mother, Elizabeth, became ill and died (Nilsson). A young woman named Frances (also known as Fanny) and her husband, John Allan, took in Edgar. Soon thereafter, John, a tobacco trader, moved the family to England. There, Edgar began his first formal education. In 1820, when the tobacco market in London collapsed, the Allan's returned to New York (Benfey; Nilsson).Edgar continued his education, excelling in Latin and French. During this time he was also in search of a maternal figure. Although fond of Fanny Allan, her poor health limited her ability to fulfill a motherly role. Edgar found a substitute in Mrs. Jane Stanard, a mother of one of his classmate's. Unfortunately, she died a year later at age thirty-one (Nilsson). After her death, John Allan described Edgar as "sulky and ill tempered to all the family" (qtd. in Thompson). Mr. Allan felt insulted by Edgar's behavior, especially when considering all he had done for Edgar. This was the beginning of the deterioration of the relationship between Edgar and John Allan that would provide conflict in Edgar's life for many years to follow (Thompson).In 1826, Edgar attended the University of Virginia. He was an outstanding student and excelled in various languages, debating, writing, and athletics. At age sixteen he fell in love with and became engaged to a girl named Elmira Royster. While away at college, he wrote her frequently but her father intercepted the letters (Thompson). Edgar was upset when he did not receive any replies. In addition to this disappointment, life at the school was chaotic and dangerous (Benfey). There were fights with students throwing bricks and bottles at professors and problems with students gambling. Edgar described one situation in a letter to John Allan in which he stated that one student was struck on the head with a large stone and in response he pulled a pistol. On another occasion he wrote about a student that bit another student, which Edgar described as, "it...

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