Edgar Allan Poe is one of the great geniuses of world literature. Around his life, which did have unusual episodes, legends have been woven that end up tarnishing the enormous value of his work. In particular, he was an extraordinary storyteller, endowed with infinite creativity.
The world of mystery and horror literature was one before Edgar Allan Poe and one after him. This great American writer is considered the inventor of the detective literature genre. He was also the renovator of Gothic literature and gave the horror genre an exquisite psychological component.
“ I have no faith in human perfection. Man is now more active, not happier, nor more intelligent, than he was 6000 years ago ”.
-Edgar Allan Poe-
He led a life surrounded by harsh and even tragic experiences. It is known that there were critics interested in showing him as a depraved and chaotic being. To a large extent they succeeded. However, although it was certainly not a model of balance , it was not the monstrous being that they wanted to show.
A difficult childhood
Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston (United States) on January 19, 1809. His parents were two itinerant theater actors. He had two brothers. His parents died when he was just 2 years old. Both he and his siblings were adopted by different families.
Edgar came into the family of John Allan, a wealthy businessman who adopted him out of charity. The death of his mother, as well as the traumatic relationships he had with his stepfather were two recurring themes in his life and in his work.
With his adoptive family he lived for some years in England and Scotland. Apparently, from those experiences he took the gothic atmosphere so characteristic in his work. Then they all returned to the United States, where Edgar Allan Poe studied in the best schools.
A turbulent youth
Edgar Allan Poe’s first writings were born when he was 14 years old. Back then, he fell madly in love with the mother of one of his classmates. He was living that platonic love when she died suddenly.
In his youth, he was also a great sportsman and a staunch fan of astronomy. He entered to study Languages at the University of Virginia. There he began to get used to gambling and alcohol. This led to his being expelled. His stepfather hired him as an employee at one of his companies, but it didn’t last long.
In 1827, he secretly published his first book Tamerlán and other poems . Then he enlisted in the army, where he lasted two years. Later, his stepfather helped him get a new job, but he was fired again. Meanwhile, he published two other books of poems. In 1832, he went to live in Baltimore and there he married his 13-year-old cousin.
A “cursed” writer
Edgar Allan Poe was disinherited by his adoptive parents. To survive he began to work in various newspapers, making notes and art criticisms. His sharp and elegant style earned him some notoriety. Meanwhile, he continued to publish his work. The Golden Beetle and The Raven and other poems enshrined him in literature.
His young wife died of tuberculosis in 1847. Her painful illness increased Poe’s fondness for drink and drugs. It is said that at that time he began to ingest laudanum, an opiate with strong effects. Also at that time he began to show health problems.
He began looking for a new woman anxiously, almost desperately. He went from one relationship to another without any of them taking shape. It is said that at that time he tried to commit suicide with laudanum, but severe vomiting occurred that prevented it.
The end of his life
In those years he met again with a fleeting love of youth: Sarah Elmira Royster. The flame between the two was lit again and they agreed to marry on October 17, 1849. However, shortly after the engagement was made, the writer mysteriously disappeared.
They found him on October 3 in the street, very confused and wearing clothes that did not belong to him. One of his friends took him to the hospital, where he died on October 7. It was never known what happened during those days of strange disappearance.
His autopsy also disappeared and so far the exact cause of his death is unknown. It can be said that Poe’s work influenced all the great writers who came after him. It is moving, powerful and profound.
William Wilson, A Tale by EA Poe to Ponder
William Wilson is an autobiographical story by EA Poe that delves into the theme of the double. A story worthy of analysis, where the author establishes an internal dialogue and becomes aware of his problems.