Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his stories of mystery and the macabre. He’s widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and America literature as a whole, and he was one of the country’s earliest writers of short stories. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and awesome facts about Edgar Allan Poe.
1. Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
2. 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.
3. Poe was born in Boston, the second child of two actors.
4. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year.
5. Orphaned, Poe was taken by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. They never formally adopted him, but Poe was with them well into young adulthood.
6. Tension developed later as John Allan and Edgar repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred gambling, and the cost of secondary education for the young man.
7. Poe attended the University of Virginia but left after a year due to lack of money.
8. Poe fought with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time that his publishing career began, with the anonymous collection Tamerlane and Other Poems, credited only to “a Bostonian.”
9. With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement. However, Poe later failed as an officer cadet at West Point, declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, and he ultimately parted ways with John Allan.
10. After the army, Poe spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming know for his own style of literary criticism.
11. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.
12. In Richmond, in 1836, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13 year old cousin.
13. In January 1845, Poe published his poem “The Raven”, which was an instant success.
14. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after he published The Raven.
15. For years, he had been planning to produce his own journal, called The Penn, though he died before it could be produced.
16. Poe died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, at the age of 40. The cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis and other agents.
17. Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields such as cosmology and cryptography.
18. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.
19. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.
20. By the time he was 13 years old, Poe had written enough poetry that he could have published his own book.
21. Poe self-published many of his own short stories. One of his stories even won a contest sponsored by the Saturday Visitor. After winning the contest with the Saturday Visitor, he continued to publish his works, which gave him the opportunity to work as an editor at the Southern Literary Messenger.
22. While working at the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe wrote book reviews and short stories, soon making the magazine the most popular in the south.
23. Poe’s criticism of some of the most famous writers at the time earned him a reputation as a “fearless critic.”
24. In 1837, Poe moved to New York City. He had grown unhappy with his lack of editorial control at the magazine he was working at. While in New York, he wrote his only novel, titled The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
25. Poe bought the magazine The Broadway Journal, but he soon left New York City due to rumors about his love life.
26. After his death, one of Poe’s rivals, Rufus Griswold, wrote a scathing obituary about him. Griswold’s attempt to destroy Poe posthumously failed and sales of Poe’s work skyrocketed.
27. His work, The Raven, made Poe a well known author in the United States almost overnight. There are stories of children walking behind him on the street and flapping their arms and cawing. He wold play along by turning suddenly and saying, “Nevermore.”
28. The American football team the Baltimore Ravens are named in honor of Poe’s classic poem “The Raven.”
29. Poe had a very keen interest in cryptography and tried to popularize the field. This is obvious in his work titled “The Gold Bug”, where he incorporated ciphers as an essential part of the story.
30. In 2009, one of the 12 survived copies of Poe’s first book “Tamerlane and Other Poems” was sold at Christie’s for $662,500, a record price paid for a work of American literature.