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Edgar Allan Poe was a 19th century American critic, writer and poet known for his works like The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher. Like his masterpieces, Poe’s life is shrouded in mystery and speculation.
See the fact file below for more information on Edgar Allan Poe or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Edgar Allan Poe worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Interest
- Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. He didn’t grow up with his parents, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, a British actress who passed away of tuberculosis when he was three years old, and David Poe, an actor who left the family early in Poe’s life.
- Young Edgar lived with his siblings, William and Rosalie. He grew up with John and Frances Valentine Allan, who served as his foster parents.
- At the age of 13, Poe showed interest in writing poems but John discouraged this and that he rather focus on their family business.
- In 1826, Poe entered the University of Virginia where he excelled in his classes. Despite his achievements, John Allan did not support him financially. In order to meet his financial needs, Poe turned to gambling where he ended up in debt.
- When he returned home, he faced heartbreak when his fianceé Sarah Elmira Royster got engaged to another man. Out of frustration and dismay, Poe moved to Boston.
- In 1827, he joined the U.S. Army and got an appointment at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he excelled in his studies. At that time he also published his first book, Tamerlane.
Poe’s Writing Career
- After leaving West Point, Poe traveled to New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Richmond in search of opportunities. His foster father died in 1834 and left him out of his will.
- While living in poverty, Poe won a contest in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for one of his short stories. In 1835, he got a job with the Southern Literary Messenger as an editor. Due to his vicious reviews as a critic, Poe earned the nickname “Tomahawk Man.” After two years, he left the job due to his strained relationship with the publication and alleged alcoholism.
- Poe worked on other journals including the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, Graham’s Magazine, The Broadway Journal and Alexander’s Weekly Messenger.
- In 1845, after his struggles at work, Poe became a literary sensation when he published The Raven in the New York Evening Mirror.
- The Raven has 18 six-line stanzas about death and loss. It became Poe’s greatest poem and one of his career highlights.
- At the height of his career, Poe was highly criticized by a fellow writer and critic Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Poe tagged Longfellow as a plagiarist, which later backfired on him.
- Amidst his popularity as a writer, Poe struggled financially, which is why he advocated for higher pay for writers and an international copyright law.
Poe’s Famous Works
- Aside from The Raven, Poe was known for his short stories like The Black Cat, which was published in 1843. The Black Cat tells a story of a man who became an alcoholic and started abusing his wife and a black cat. In the end, the man kills his wife due to madness and the crime was reported by the black cat.
- On October 9, 1849, two days after Poe’s death, his lyric poem entitled Annabel Lee was published in the New York Tribune. Many believed that it was inspired by the loss of his wife, Virginia.
- He also wrote detective fiction including The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Golden Bug, which earned him the nickname “Father of Detective Story” and he won a literary prize.
- In the 1830s, he published a collection of short stories called the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, which included The Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia and William Wilson.
- Later in his life, he produced the thrilling tale of The Cask of Amontillado.
- Moreover, Poe wrote several essays including The Philosophy of Composition, The Poetic Principle and The Rationale of Verses, which examine his own methodology in writing.
- His only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, was written in 1837, in New York City.
- Among his poems are The Bells (1849), The City in the Sea (1831), The Conqueror Worm (1843), Dream-Land (1844), Eldorado (1849), A Dream within a Dream (1850), For Annie (1849), The Haunted Palace (1839), The Valley of Unrest (1845) and A Valentine (1850).
Death & Legacy
- On September 27, 1849, Poe left Richmond for Philadelphia. By October 3, he was found in Baltimore and was taken to Washington College Hospital. After four days, Poe died with his last words were “Lord, help my poor soul.”
- A day after his death, Poe’s body was buried in an unmarked grave in Westminster Burying Grounds in Baltimore. Decades after his death, teachers and students raised money to build a monument for him next to the cemetery gate.
- Poe’s actual cause of death has been the subject of speculation. Some suggest that he died of congestion of the brain, while experts believe it was due to alcoholism. Other theories include epilepsy, rabies and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- After the passing of Poe, Rufus Griswold, who had been criticized by Poe, wrote a vengeful obituary about the writer who he described as a drunkard and womanizer. Griswold also published the first biography of Poe, which proliferated misconceptions about him. Griswold’s attempt to destroy Poe posthumously failed.
- Despite his lack of financial success, Poe has become one of America’s most enduring and celebrated writers. His works continued to influence and surprise readers of the modern age. Some describe him as the most compelling, innovative and imaginative thinker.
Edgar Allan Poe Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Edgar Allan Poe across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Edgar Allan Poe worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Edgar Allan Poe who was a 19th century American critic, writer and poet known for his works like The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher. Like his masterpieces, Poe’s life is shrouded in mystery and speculation.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Edgar Allan Poe Facts
- The Tomahawk Man
- Famous Works
- Poe Hunt
- Titles & Tiles
- Poets Say
- Reader Inferencing
- Block Off
- Litstory: The Battle of Poets
- A Dream within a Dream
- Bio Poem
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Link will appear as Edgar Allan Poe Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 6, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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