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The Life And Death Of Edgar Allan Poe

The Life And Death Of Edgar Allan Poe Table of Contents Introduction .. .. .. .. ..

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.. .. .. .. 2 Early Life .. ..

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.. .. .. 2 Time at the University .. .. ..

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.. .. .4 1827-1829 .. .. ..

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.. .. 5 The Army (1827-1829 continued) .. .. ..

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.. .. .. 7 Reconciliation With John Allan (1827-1829 continued) .. ..

.. .8 Fanny Allan’s Death (1827-1829 continued) .. .. .. .. ..

.. .. .. 9 Less Happiness and More Writing .. ..

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.. .. .. .. .. 9 The Death of Edgar Allan Poe ..

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.. .10 Conclusion .. .. .. ..

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.. 11 Bibliography .. .. .. ..

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.15 The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe Introduction Edgar Allan Poe had a writing style that was rather unique. He had a way of rhyming and expressing himself that no other author had at the time. He was in himself a genius in his own demented way. Many of Poe’s writings reflected his life, be it happy or sad. Poe had a very difficult life, different from many others.

All the women in his life seemed to die. Many died of Tuberculosis. Those who didn’t die of Tuberculosis still seemed to die. These deaths played a major effect on Poe’s writing style. Men were often the “bad guys” in Poe’s literature, and nearly every story Poe wrote was about death. Many times there were obscure circumstances surrounding the deaths in the stories.

That fact, and the fact that his writings intrigue me are the sole factors as to why I chose to write about this amazingly depressing man. Early Life Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January nineteenth, 1809. His actor parents, Betty and David Poe orphaned Edgar at the age of three. John and Francis Allan of Richmond, Virginia took Edgar in. When Edgar grew into his teens, his family moved around a lot.

They finally moved to a house that they got from William Galt in 1822 or 1823. Edgar continued his education during this time and when he was fourteen, he attended the academy of Joseph H. Clarke, and after that he studied with William Burke. Edgar’s schooling in Richmond encouraged his gift for the written art, and he was good at Latin and French. When he was sixteen, he wrote one of his earliest surviving poems; “Oh Tempora! Oh Mores!” Edgar wrote enough poems to publish a book, but his teacher persuaded John Allan not to. When Edgar returned from England, he was rather wimpy and pale, but when he got back to Richmond, he started doing well in athletics.

He was a good runner, leaper, boxer, and also a very good swimmer. When he was fifteen, he swam six miles up the James River partly against strong tide. Edgar obviously made a good impression on other people. Thomas Ellis, the son of John Allan’s business partner once said: “No boy ever had a greater influence over me than he had.” Also at the age of fifteen, he became a lieutenant in the Junior Morgan Riflemen. As second- in command, he was reviewed by the popular Marquis de Lafayette whom two weeks earlier had praised Edgar’s grandfather, General David Poe, for his good work.

When Edgar returned to Richmond, he wanted to emphasize that he was not formally adopted by that Allans, so he was simply know as Edgar Poe. Edgar was in search for a maternal figure in his life. He was very fond of his foster mother, Fanny Allan, but because she was sick all the time, she was much less than the ideal mother. At one occasion it is know that he called his sister Rosalie’s foster mother “ma”. At the age of fourteen he became infatuated with Mrs. Jane Stanard, the mother of one of his classmates.

He went to her when he felt unhappy, and she somehow resembled both Fanny Allan and Eliza Poe. Edgar had only known her for about a year when she died at the age of thirty-one; it was assumed that she was insane. Edgar suffered from her death, and his behavior changed. This caused arguments at home with John Allan who spoke of Edgar as “Sulky, and ill tempered to all the family.” John Allan thought that the reason Edgar was acting like that because he was unthankful for all his foster father had done. On the morning of March 26, 1825, William Galt, the owner of the Allans’ house, “Suddenly threw back his head and eyes and seemed oppressed.” Uncle Galt straightened himself, and died.

The Allans’ inheritance from Galt was estimated at three fourths of a million dollars, including their house and three land estates. John Allan later bought a house called Moldavia. It was an impressive place that was more like an estate than a house, with its flower gardens, trees, and eight outbuildings. Edgar got a room on the second floor. He was now sixteen, and preparing for University.

The Time at the University In February 1826 Edgar enrolled at the University of Virginia. The university had opened the year before, after, what was said, forty years of planning, and now had one hundred seventy seven students. Edgar was proud to attend the university and he had high ambitions in language. He took ancient languages taught by George Long, and modern languages taught by George Blaettermann. Edgar was an excellent student and his translations were remembered as “precisely correct.” He studied French, Italian, and probably some Spanish. He also joined the Jefferson Society, a debating club, and grew popular as a debater.

He was also remembered as an outstanding athlete, an artist, (he sketched in charcoal), and he also continued to develop as a writer. Edgar was, during his university year, described as moody and gloomy. This might be because of his first romantic failure with a Miss Elmira Royster. Also, this is said to be the inspiration for the poem “Tamerlane.” Edgar was very young to be attending a university. The average age for attending a university in 1830 was about nineteen, while Edgar had only been seventeen for about a month.

Life at the university was very chaotic for Edgar, even dangerous at times. During a riot in the school’s first year, masked students threw broken bottles and bricks at the professors. During Edgar’s year, seven students were expelled or suspended for high stakes gambling. The violence and chaos took up much room in the surviving letters Edgar sent to John Allan. In the letters it could be read, that one time a student was hit in the head with a large stone and he pulled a pistol-which apparently was not uncommon.

The students misfired but would have otherwise have killed the attacker. At another occasion, a student was bit in his arm. Edgar wrote in a letter to John Allan, “it is likely that pieces of flesh as large as my hand will be obliged to be cut out.” The quarrels with John Allan grew stronger, mostly because of Edgar’s financial problems. During the year, he got large gambling and other debts, which he was because John Allan didn’t provide well enough. That was why he “had to” stick to gambling to cover his expenses. 1827-1829 When Edgar returned to Richmond, he had debts that amounted to about $2000 – $2500. John Allan refused to pay the debts, and instead of sending him back to the university made Edgar work on the Allan’s firm. In March 1827 the strain between Edgar and John Allan climaxed.

This was because of more than two years of indifferences going back to the death of Jane Stanard, and now the loss of Elmira, who was now engaged. Edgar moved out of John Allan’s home and where he went is uncertain. Edgar was looking for “some place in this world, where I will be treated not as you have treated me.” Edgar felt that Allan had misled him, restricted him and rejected him. The letters Edgar sent to John Allan showed, without concealment, that he did not feel as a part of the family. He also wrote: “I have heard you say (when you little thought I was listening and therefore must have said it in earnest) that you had no affection for me.” After several hostile letters in their correspondence Edgar was in need for money and his things, and changed the attitude in his letters. He wrote a friendly letter almost begging John Allan for help.

The letter was returned and on the back of it Allan had written: “Pretty Letter” Edgar led a reckless life roaming the streets and drank a lot. He sometimes took his brother’s identity to mislead his creditors and John Allan. At the time no one knew where Edgar went, but some letters were said to be sent from St. Petersburg, Russia. In reality he had followed his mother’s advice from the watercolor painting and gone to Boston.

Edgar managed to make a living on his own in Boston, working with among other things, a small newspaper. He had brought some earlier manuscripts with him to Boston and handed these over to a printer by the name of Calvin F.S. Thomas. It resulted in a forty page booklet entitled “Tamerlane and other Poems” said to be written simply by “A Bostonian.” It consisted of “Tamerlane” and nine other, much shorter poems, most which were written in 1821 to 1822 when Edgar was only twelve or thirteen years old. His youthfulness was very noticeable in the poems, especially since the words “youth” and “young” appeared frequently.

Byron whom inspired many young American poets at that time heavily influenced the poems. In fact the heroine in “Tamerlane”, Ada, was named after Byron’s daughter and the similarities with Byron’s work can for example be seen in: “I reach’d my home – my home no more” – From Poe’s “Tamerlane” “He entered in the house – his home no more” – From Byron’s “Don Juan” In “Tamerlane” there could also be seen some vague reflection of Edgar’s own experience with his unhappy courtship of Elmira Royster and his thoughts of Ellis and Allan and his recent break with them. The Army (1827-1829 continued) In June or July 1827, when “Tamerlane” appeared, Edgar had recently joined the US Army. He enlisted for a five-year term on May 26, under the name “Edgar A. Perry” and stating his age as 22. The reason for joining the army was possibly economic, but some other things could have helped him in making the decision; his grandfather’s association with the revolutionary army, his own service in the Morgan Junior Riflemen, Byron’s and Tamerlane’s martial ambitions or the prospect of family-like camaraderie.

In his company there were thirty privates (including Edgar) and during the fall of 1827 they were stationed in Boston Harbor at Fort Independence. In November they moved to Fort Moultrie in South Carolina, on an island in the main entrance to Charleston Harbor. Thirteen months later they once again moved, this time to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, in the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, at Old Point Comfort. Little is known about Edgar “Perry’s” life during these two years, but it is known that the army was not geared for war during this period. The period 1815 – 1846 has been called “Thirty Years Peace.” His superiors appreciated Edgar and by early 1828 he had become “Assistant to the A.C.S.” (Assistant Commissary of Subsistence), with similar duties as General David Poe had done as A.D.Q.M.

(Assistant Commissary Deputy Quartermaster of the Continental Army) Later the same year he had become an officer, blacksmith or mechanic and earned ten dollars per month. On New Year’s Day 1829 he was promoted to sergeant major for artillery, the highest possible rank for non-commissioned officers, above sergeant and just below second lieutenant. Reconciliation with John Allan (1827-1829 continued) During these two years Edgar had become a friend of Lieutenant Howard which he described …

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