|Edgar Allan Poe (_quoththeraven) wrote,|
@ 2020-06-21 19:56:00
We loved with a love that was more than love.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
In his first life, Edgar may not have been he broody,sometimes slightly mad person he is now. Parts of his old personality still exist, of course, but the image of Poe as a man who haunts cemeteries and is tormented is the more popular one.
He's arrogant now, although he still disliked criticism...if it's pointed at him. He can be the harshest critic on others, but if another dares to do it to him he will mope for the longest time. He has moments of self-pity and tends to be self destructive at times. His drinking only heightens that. He'll never write while drunk, but it is how he will drown his sorrows whenever he feels slighted.
He does have a certain charm however. Being a poet at heart, he puts it to use to often create very platonic relationships that often inspire him for poems about love. While he enjoys being in relationships and has no issues with pursuing them he himself will not often share more then platonic feelings with many others. His heart, some say, was buried along with his young wife so while casual affairs are hardly something he shies from he's never one to commit. He can't endure the heartbreak anymore.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.
Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.
The real Edgar Allan Poe came from a long line of artists, agriculturists, and actors his grandfather David Poe was a member of Captain John McClellan's Company of Baltimore troops, and was later appointed Assistant Deputy Quartermaster. When David died General Lafayette paid tribute to his grave as David had given Lafayette 500$. David had also spend 40.000$ of his own money on the Revolutionary cause. He was always known as 'General' Poe, Edgar later exaggerated and 'promoted' his grandfather to Quartermaster General of the whole United States Army.
His maternal Grandparents married in London in 1784 and while little is known about Henry Arnold, his grandmother Elizabeth was an actress ( she appeared on stage first in 1791 and last performance in London was in 1795), by then Elizabeth appeared to be a widow and took Eliza (Edgar's mother) to Boston and arrived in 1796. Eliza made her debut at the age of nine to much praise and when she was 15 she married Charles Hopkins, another actor. Poe's father (David Poe, Jr) was three years older then Eliza and while destined for a career in the law, joined the Thespian Club in Baltimore. When he went on a business trip to Norfolk he saw Eliza and fell in love with her, even joining her troupe. In 1806 (six months after her first husbands death) they married. Eliza was 19 and vulnerable so may have married for protection alongside love. Nine months later their first son Henry was born, and from the age of two was cared for by friends of the family. 'General' Poe had been furious about David leaving his career in the law for acting but once Henry was born he reconciled. Despite the fact that David was attractive and well suited for juvenile and hero parts all the critics agreed that David wasn't a good actor and how Eliza was better. David seems to have been sensitive to criticism and was already a hard drinker, finding it hard to swallow insults on his acting ability and the puns made on his name (Along with allusions to chamber pots).
Edgar Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. That makes him Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius. Edgar's birth did spark a financial crisis and emotional upheaval however. David was desperate for money but too proud to ask his own father and instead traveled South to Stockertown where he asked his cousin George for money. He first did so by arriving late at night and told his cousin that the most awful day of his life had come, pleaded for an urgent meeting the next day and then insisted he had not come there to beg. George kept the appointment, but didn't find David who then sent him an 'impertinent note'. Then in 1811 David Poe had deserted his wife and children, vanishing forever, reasons behind this vary from jealousy over his wife's career, his heavy drinking (both off-stage and on) to the pressure of having to be responsible for three young children while being ill and poor. Elizabeth Poe died in 1811, when Edgar was 2 years old. Henry went to live with his grandparents while Edgar was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan and Rosalie was taken in by another family. John Allan was a successful merchant, so Edgar grew up in good surroundings and went to good schools. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business. By the age of thirteen, Poe had compiled enough poetry to publish a book, but his headmaster advised Allan against allowing this.
When Poe was 6, he went to school in England for 5 years. He learned Latin and French, as well as math and history. He later returned to school in America and continued his studies. Edgar Allan went to the University of Virginia in 1826. He was 17. Even though John Allan had plenty of money, he only gave Edgar about a third of what he needed. Poe soon took up gambling to raise money to pay his expenses. By the end of his first term Poe was so desperately poor that he burned his furniture to keep warm. He had to quit school less than a year later.
Humiliated by his poverty and furious with Allan for not providing enough funds in the first place, Poe returned to Richmond and visited the home of his fiancée Elmira Royster, only to discover that she had become engaged to another man in Poe’s absence. The heartbroken Poe’s last few months in the Allan mansion were punctuated with increasing hostility towards Allan until Poe finally stormed out of the home in a quixotic quest to become a great poet and to find adventure. He accomplished the first objective by publishing his first book Tamerlane when he was only eighteen, and to achieve the second goal he enlisted in the United States Army. Two years later he heard that Frances Allan, the only mother he had ever known, was dying of tuberculosis and wanted to see him before she died. By the time Poe returned to Richmond she had already been buried. Poe and Allan briefly reconciled, and Allan helped Poe gain an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. While waiting to enter West Point, Edgar lived with his grandmother and his aunt, Mrs. Clemm. 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. Poe wrote to Allan detailing all the wrongs Allan had committed against him and threatened to get himself expelled from the academy. After only eight months at West Point Poe was thrown out, but he soon published yet another book. It is thought that Edgar purposely broke the rules and ignored his duties so he would be dismissed.
Broke and alone, Poe turned to Baltimore, his late father’s home, and called upon relatives in the city. One of Poe’s cousins robbed him in the night, but another relative, Poe’s aunt Maria Clemm, became a new mother to him and welcomed him into her home. Clemm’s daughter Virginia first acted as a courier to carry letters to Poe’s lady loves but soon became the object of his desire.
While Poe was in Baltimore, Allan died, leaving Poe out of his will, which did, however, provide for an illegitimate child Allan had never seen. By then Poe was living in poverty but had started publishing his short stories, one of which won a contest sponsored by the Saturday Visiter. The connections Poe established through the contest allowed him to publish more stories and to eventually gain an editorial position at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. It was at this magazine that Poe finally found his life’s work as a magazine writer. Within a year Poe helped make the Messenger the most popular magazine in the south with his sensational stories as well as with his scathing book reviews. Poe soon developed a reputation as a fearless critic who not only attacked an author’s work but also insulted the author and the northern literary establishment. Poe targeted some of the most famous writers in the country. One of his victims was the anthologist and editor Rufus Griswold.
Edgar missed Mrs. Clemm and Virginia and brought them to Richmond to live with him. In 1836, Edgar married his cousin, Virginia. He was 27 and she was 13. Many sources say Virginia was 14, but this is incorrect. Virginia Clemm was born on August 22, 1822. They were married before her 14th birthday, in May of 1836. The marriage proved a happy one, and the family is said to have enjoyed singing together at night. Virginia expressed her devotion to her husband in a Valentine poem now in the collection of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Poe celebrated the joys of married life in his poem “Eulalie.”
As the editor for the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe successfully managed the paper and increased its circulation from 500 to 3500 copies. Despite this, Poe left the paper in early 1836, complaining of the poor salary. In 1837, dissatisfied with his low pay and lack of editorial control at the Messenger, Poe moved to New York City. In the wake of the financial crisis known as the “Panic of 1837,” Poe struggled to find magazine work and wrote his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. He moved to Philadelphia in 1838 where he wrote "Ligeia" and "The Haunted Palace". His first volume of short stories, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque" was published in 1839. Poe received the copyright and 20 copies of the book, but no money.
After a year in New York, sometime in 1840, Edgar Poe joined George R. Graham as an editor for Graham's Magazine. During the two years that Poe worked for Graham's, he published his first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and challenged readers to send in cryptograms, which he always solved. During the time Poe was editor, the circulation of the magazine rose from 5000 to 35,000 copies. In spite of his growing fame, Poe was still barely able to make a living. For the publication of his first book of short stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, he was only paid with twenty-five free copies of his book. He would soon become a champion for the cause of higher wages for writers as well as for an international copyright law. Poe left Graham's in 1842 because he wanted to start his own magazine called The Stylus, but he failed to find the necessary funding. He won a hundred dollars for his story, "The Gold Bug" and sold a few other stories to magazines but he barely had enough money to support his family. Often, Mrs. Clemm had to contribute financially. In 1844, Poe moved back to New York. The January 1845 publication of “The Raven” made Poe a household name. He was now famous enough to draw large crowds to his lectures, and he was beginning to demand better pay for his work. He published two books that year, and briefly lived his dream of running his own magazine when he bought out the owners of the Broadway Journal. The failure of the venture, his wife’s deteriorating health, and rumors spreading about Poe’s relationship with a married woman, drove him out of the city in 1846, he and his family moved to a small cottage near what is now East 192nd Street. But tragedy struck in 1842 when Poe’s wife contracted tuberculosis, the disease that had already claimed Poe’s mother, brother, and foster mother. Virginia's health was fading away and Edgar was deeply distressed by it. Virginia died in 1847, 10 days after Edgar's birthday. After losing his wife, Poe was devastated, and was unable to write for months.
In June of 1849, Poe left New York and went to Philadelphia, where he visited his friend John Sartain. Poe left Philadelphia in July and came to Richmond. He stayed at the Swan Tavern Hotel but joined "The Sons of Temperance" in an effort to stop drinking. While on lecture tour in Lowell, Massachusetts, Poe met and befriended Nancy Richmond. His idealized and platonic love of her inspired some of his greatest poetry, including “For Annie.” Since she remained married and unattainable, Poe attempted to marry the poetess Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence, but the engagement lasted only about one month. In Richmond he found his first fiancée Elmira Royster Shelton was now a widow, so began to court her again. Before he left Richmond on a trip to Philadelphia he considered himself engaged to her, and her letters from the time imply that she felt the same way.
On September 27, Poe left Richmond for New York. He went to Philadelphia and stayed with a friend named James P. Moss. On September 30, he meant to go to New York but supposedly took the wrong train to Baltimore and disappeared for five days.
He was found in the bar room of a public house that was being used as a polling place for an election. The magazine editor Joseph Snodgrass sent Poe to Washington College Hospital, where Poe spent the last days of his life far from home and surrounded by strangers. Neither Poe’s mother-in-law nor his fiancée knew what had become of him until they read about it in the newspapers. Poe died on October 7, 1849 at the age of forty. The mystery surrounding Poe's death has led to many myths and urban legends. The reality is that no one knows for sure what happened during the last few days of his life. Did Poe die from alcoholism? Was he mugged? Did he have rabies? No aspect of his life has so fascinated Poe’s fans and detractors as his death. Unfortunately, there is also no greater example of how badly Poe’s biography has been handled. Shrouded in opinion and contradiction, the essential details of Poe’s final days leave us with more questions than answers. In the end we must accept that the few tantalizing facts we have lead to no certain conclusion. It is easy to find ourselves reviewing the stories again in hopes of finding something new, to settle the question once and for all.
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. Griswold’s attacks were meant to cause the public to dismiss Poe and his works, but the biography had exactly the opposite effect and instead drove the sales of Poe’s books higher than they had ever been during the author’s lifetime. Griswold’s distorted image of Poe created the Poe legend that lives to this day while Griswold is only remembered (if at all) as Poe’s first biographer.
During his lifetime, Poe was mostly recognized as a literary critic. Fellow critic James Russell Lowell called him "the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works who has written in America", though he questioned if he occasionally used prussic acid instead of ink. Poe was also known as a writer of fiction and became one of the first American authors of the 19th century to become more popular in Europe than in the United States. Poe is particularly respected in France, in part due to early translations by Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire's translations became definitive renditions of Poe's work throughout Europe.
Poe's early detective fiction tales featuring C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, "Each [of Poe's detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" The Mystery Writers of America have named their awards for excellence in the genre the "Edgars". Still it took one hundred years for Poe's artistic reputation to finally be established in America. It was only because of writers like T.S Eliot that he owes his 'rebirth'. Eliot had written a long essay about him and while at first it was scathing and full of critisism this was only because he was embarrassed (and found it improper) to admit to admiring Poe. But Eliot did finally admit that 'by looking at Poe through the eyes of Baudelaire, Malnarme, and Valery, I become more thoroughly convinced of his importance of his work as a whole'. So, in effect, Poe owes it all to Europeans rather then Americans, something he's not soon forgotten. He'll always claim they have better taste anyway.
Soon after Eliot's essay was followed by praise from three leading poets of the next generation. Allan Tate wrote 'Our Cousin, Mr.Poe' in 1949. Then in 1950 'the Favorable Introduction to Poe's works' was written by W.H. Auden, and last but not least Richard Wilbur wrote 'The House of Poe' in 1959. It was that, that did the trick. So on the cusp of the sixties, Edgar found his way back into life, and into a world he didn't really get.
However, he returned a bit different then how he'd been in his actual life. Ironically, Griswold's portrayal of Poe as an arrogant, indecent drunkard had now been changed into the romantic idea of a visionary artist that was sacrificed to a philistine society. Many artist tried to copy him and his style, following the examples they think he set. His popularity skyrocketed, and drew the attention of people like Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Stalin. Naturally, Edgar is a bit more flattered by the first using his work to sharpen his mind, then his horror stories proving to be ideas for the latter. Poe's work also influenced science fiction, notably Jules Verne, who wrote a sequel to Poe's novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket called An Antarctic Mystery, also known as The Sphinx of the Ice Fields. Poe's interest in cryptography also became part of his fame. When he'd still been alive he'd placed a notice of his abilities in the Philadelphia paper and invited readers to send him ciphers, and then broke the. Later on, in 1841 he'd written an essay called 'a few words on secret writing'. When he noticed the public had an interest in these things he wronte 'The Gold-Bug' While his methods weren't really good, and rather simple, the stir he created was big enough, and his influence so great, that William Friedman, America's foremost cryptologist, was influenced by him. So influenced, that it had been 'The Gold-Bug' that had sparked his interest.
Because his historical self has appeared many times as a fictional character, which always seems to depict him as a 'mad genius' or a 'tormented artist' this has become part of who he now is, making his personal struggles almost insignificant. Because most of these depictions show him solving mysteries, he's gotten rather fond of them often looking at old or new cases to see if he can figure it all out. But that's not all. Poe's death has remained the biggest mystery of them all, only growing when in 1949 a mysterious person showed up at his grave and poured cognac on the soil and left three roses. Over the years, he/she became known as the 'Poe Toaster' and continued this tradition for over 60 years. While Edgar didn't start the tradition, and he's far from the only person continuing it, he find a strange sort of irony in toasting on his own grave so he's happily played along. By now, its become tradition.
Edgar still travels along the same circuit he traveled during his 'first life' giving his lectures and writing his stories. For now he's made his home in New York. Because he doesn't seem to be able to escape the poem that first brought him fame, on one of his tours he found a raven. Or it found him, he can't tell. Copying the first lines of the famous poem almost perfectly, it had flown in and spoke it's famous words. Edgar tried to get rid of it on several occasions but it always found him. In spite he's called it 'Lenore' (not caring what gender the bird is) and tolerates it.
`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
FULL NAME: Edgar Poe
ALIAS: Arthur Usher
NICKNAMES: Edgar Allan Poe
APPARENT AGE: 40
DATE OF BIRTH: January 19, 1809
DATE OF DEATH: October 7, 1849
PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, Massachusetts
MARITAL STATUS: Single
OCCUPATION: Book Editor and critic, occasionally writes for a small sci fi magazine. Publishes detective books under a pseudonym.
CURRENT RESIDENCE: New York
PB: Hugh Dancy