Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of mystery and horror initiated the modern
Most people recognize Poe by his famous poem, “The Raven“.
Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, 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 generally 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.
On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, “in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance”, according to the man who found him. He was taken to the Washington Medical College, where he died on Sunday, October 7, 1849. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing clothes that were not his own. Poe is said to have repeatedly called out the name “Reynolds” on the night before his death, though it is unclear to whom he was referring. Some sources say Poe’s final words were “Lord help my poor soul.” All medical records, including his death certificate, have been lost. Newspapers at the time reported Poe’s death as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, common euphemisms for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism. The actual cause of death remains a mystery. Speculation has included delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera and rabies. One theory, dating from 1872, indicates that cooping – in which unwilling citizens who were forced to vote for a particular candidate were occasionally killed – was the cause of Poe’s death.
Poe wrote quite a few gothic stories about murder, revenge,torture, the plague, being buried alive, and insanity. Many modern books and movies have “borrowed” ideas from Poe. Some of Poe’s stories were not well accepted in his day because people were just not ready for them- they were too scary.
His creative talents led to the beginning of different literary genres, earning him the nickname “Father of the Detective Story” among other distinctions. His life, however, has become a bit of mystery itself. And the lines between fact and fiction have been blurred substantially since his death.
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