Happy birthday to Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe is a man whose life has affected everyone who reads fiction, whether they realise it or not. I first discovered his stuff as a kid when I saw an animated adaptation of his short story The Tell-Tale Heart. Soon after I saw an animated version of his poem The Raven. From then on I was hooked.

edgar-allan-poe
(image from wikipedia commons)

E A Poe would have been celebrating his 200th yesterday had he lived, but his life was sadly very short and incredibly hard. However, if true immortality is gained first by doing something worth remembering, then Poe has done a pretty good job of it. Following is a bit more information about the man. If you haven’t already, read some of his work (there are numerous collections available on Amazon).

From wikipedia:

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short-story writer, editor and literary critic, and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

From Ellen Datlow’s livejournal:

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) lived a relatively short, unhappy life but during it he produced some of the world’s most recognizable poetry and stories. Orphaned before the age of two, he became estranged from his foster father in his teens and became an alcoholic who had difficulty keeping a job. He married his thirteen year old cousin Virginia Clemm, (who probably inspired much of his fiction and poetry) only to see her sicken and die of tuberculosis in her twenties. His drinking was exacerbated by her death and only two years later he himself died in Baltimore, four days after being found wandering the streets delirious, and in clothing other than his own. His first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was published anonymously in May 1827. Although his first love was always poetry, he wrote stories, reviews, essays, and commentaries, in order to support himself and Virginia, and working as assistant editor for the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia, then at Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, and finally in 1841 was appointed assistant editor of Graham’s Magazine both in Philadelphia. Some of his work was collected in the two volumes of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840. It was during this period that he wrote what many consider the first detective story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Both “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” were also written while Poe was living in Philadelphia. The publication of his poem “The Raven” in the February 1845 issue of The American Review and subsequently in The Raven and Other Poems the same year finally brought him the recognition he had long desired.

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