About This Author

Edgar Allan Poe

1849 "Annie" daguerreotype of Poe
1849 "Annie" daguerreotype of Poe

Born

Edgar PoeJanuary 19, 1809 Boston, Massachusetts

Died

October 7, 1849 Baltimore, Maryland

Alma mater

University of VirginiaUnited States Military Academy

Spouse

Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe ( m.  1836; died 1847)

Signature

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and of American literature as a whole, and he was one of the country's earliest practitioners of the short story. He is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Poe was born in Boston, the second child of actors David and Elizabeth "Eliza" Arnold Hopkins Poe. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. They never formally adopted him, but he was with them well into young adulthood. Tension developed later as John Allan and Poe repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, and the cost of Poe's secondary education. He attended the University of Virginia but left after a year due to lack of money. Poe quarreled 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". Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement after the death of Frances Allan in 1829. 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.

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Discover Edgar Allan Poe Quotes and Sayings

Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.' - Edgar Allan Poe

Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.'

Edgar Allan Poe

art nature
Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears. - Edgar Allan Poe

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.

Edgar Allan Poe

beauty
Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. - Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.

Edgar Allan Poe

beauty poetry
I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty. - Edgar Allan Poe

I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.

Edgar Allan Poe

beauty poetry
The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? - Edgar Allan Poe

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?

Edgar Allan Poe

best death life
The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world. - Edgar Allan Poe

The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.

Edgar Allan Poe

death
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. - Edgar Allan Poe

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Edgar Allan Poe

dreams
The ninety and nine are with dreams, content but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true. - Edgar Allan Poe

The ninety and nine are with dreams, content but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.

Edgar Allan Poe

dreams hope
Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant. - Edgar Allan Poe

Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.

Edgar Allan Poe

experience truth
I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. - Edgar Allan Poe

I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active - not more happy - nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.

Edgar Allan Poe

faith
I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it. - Edgar Allan Poe

I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.

Edgar Allan Poe

faith great
All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. - Edgar Allan Poe

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.

Edgar Allan Poe

fear imagination poetry religion
There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man. - Edgar Allan Poe

There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

Edgar Allan Poe

friendship love
It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream. - Edgar Allan Poe

It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.

Edgar Allan Poe

future
To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness. - Edgar Allan Poe

To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.

Edgar Allan Poe

great
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night. - Edgar Allan Poe

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night.

Edgar Allan Poe

imagination