Edgar Allen Poe's Life and Work

Cassie Lloyd
January 28, 2010

Lost in His Own Mind
Edgar Allen Poe’s Life and Work
Edgar Allen Poe is known for his dark short stories and poetry.   What was it that caused him to view life in such a tragic and hopeless light?   In his short life of 40 years, what was it that made him so deeply disturbed?   His writing conveys truly grotesque and haunting stories about tortured characters who rarely if ever meet a pleasant fate.   He seems to have accepted life as something wholly unhappy and the cause of all of man’s suffering.
His childhood innocence ended abruptly at the age of three with the death of his mother.   His father had abandoned his family shortly after his birth, which left him orphaned.   He was taken in by John Allen and his wife, but was never formally adopted and never treated as a true member of the family.   He became engaged at the age of 17 before leaving to attend the University of Virginia.   He lost contact with his foster father and his fiancé while at school.   Poe and John Allen fought often and Poe did not want to return home and face Allen.   After dropping out of school a year later due to gambling debts he moved to Boston.   He decided to move to escape his foster family.   He learned that his fiancé married someone else in his absence believing him to have abandoned her.   This was Poe’s first experience with love and heartbreak.   The idea of lost lovers is often brought up in his work.
Around this time, he published his first book which proved to be a failure.   Only fifty copies were printed.   His book received very little press and he had was seen as just another unknown author.   Two years later he moved in with his aunt to be with his brother who’s health was failing.   There, he fell in love again; this time with his 13 year old cousin, Virginia Clemm.   He felt abandoned by his family when his brother died but Virginia was able to comfort him through the ordeal.   They married when Poe was 27 and Virginia was still only...