Poe's Life

By: Carter Erickson

He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking into the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles . Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19,1809. Poe has a brother named William Henry Leonard Poe and his sister Rosalie Poe. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. By the age of thirteen, Poe had compiled enough poetry to publish a book, but his headmaster advised Allan against allowing this. Before going to West Point, Poe published another volume of poetry. While there, Poe was offended to hear that Allan had remarried without telling him or even inviting him to the ceremony. After a year in New York, Poe moved to Philadelphia in 1838 and wrote for a number of different magazines. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. In 1826 Poe left Richmond to attend the University of Virginia, where he excelled in his classes while accumulating considerable debt.

At the age of twenty-seven, Poe brought Maria and Virginia Clemm to Richmond and married his Virginia, who was not yet fourteen. The marriage proved a happy one, and the family is said to have enjoyed singing together at night.

Days after Poe’s death, his literary rival Rufus Griswold wrote a libelous obituary of the author in a misguided attempt at revenge for some of the offensive things Poe had said and written about him. Griswold followed the obituary with a memoir in which he portrayed Poe as a drunken, womanizing madman with no morals and no friends.

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