From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—
Edgar Allan Poe, born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts, was a writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe’s parents, who were actors, died when he was very young, leaving him in the care of John and Frances Allan, from Virginia. John was his godfather, according to one source. From 1815-1820 Edgar was offered a classical education in Scotland and England. He later attended the University of Virginia but his guardian, John Allan, refused to let Poe continue due to his gambling losses.
In 1827 Poe published a pamphlet of Byronic Poems. Due to poverty, he was forced to join the army, under the name Edgar Perry. Eventually, John Allan helped him get an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Poe published more poetry before attending the academy. He traveled to New York and published more poems after being expelled from West Point.
In the early 1830s he began to write stories, winning a fifty-dollar prize from Baltimore Weekly for his story, “MS. Found in a Bottle.” He made a name for himself as an editor, with the Southern Literary Messenger. In 1836 he married his young cousin, Virginia. She died in of TB in 1847. Issues with drinking caused him to lose his job in Richmond. His prose, The Narrative of Arthur Godon Pym, which combined factual material with wild fantasies, was published in New York in 1838. The story is thought to be an inspiration for Melville’s Moby Dick. In 1839 he became the coeditor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine in Philadelphia. There he wrote stories of supernatural horror, which included, “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
He continued to successfully publish stories and work as an editor for different publications. “The Raven” was published in the New York Mirror in 1845, giving him instant national fame. His level of imagination and insight had, prior to his writing, been unapproached in American Literature. He was not only considered a superlative author, but an excellent literary critic. After Poe’s wife died, he became involved in several romantic affairs. While preparing for his second marriage in Baltimore in 1849, he was discovered in a state of semi-consciousness; he died four days later. The cause of Poe’s death was reportedly “cerebral inflammation,” which was a common reason provided when the cause of death was thought to be alcoholism. The actual cause of his death remains a mystery.
Poe, who is most known for his dark and mysterious texts, wrote during the Romantic Period. He is considered the principal forerunner in the “art for art’s sake” movement in 19th century European literature, and he is attributed as the architect of the modern short story.
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Photo (lightning) by Yordan Nedialkov
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