American Author Review

Posted: September 4th, 2013





American Author Review

Name of Author: Edgar Allan Poe

Author’s Date of Birth: January 19 1809

Author’s Date of Death: October 07 1849

What genre of literature did this author typically write? Poetry

Name the most noted literary work this author is known for: ‘The Raven’

When was this work published? 1845

Tell us why this particular work was so important or significant for this author: ‘The Raven’ is to this day considered one of the best American legendary works. It was also the best of his writing career as it talks about death and loss.

Name at least two other literary works by this author:

1. ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabseque

2.  ‘The Black Cat


Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday was on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents, David and Elizabeth Poe, were both actors, but they died in 1811. Edgar was then adopted by John Allan. When Edgar went to the University of Virginia, he was very athletic, but he got into alcohol and gambling. This led to his dismissal from school. After which he enrolled into the United States army in 1827, where he served for two years. However, he was expelled from the army in 1931 for neglecting his duties. This disappointed Allan to the point where he left Edgar nothing when he died.

‘Tamerlane and Other Poems’ was his first publication in 1827, in Boston, followed by a second volume, ‘Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems’ in 1829. A third volume of ‘Poems’ was published in 1831. In 1833, he was awarded $100 by the Baltimore Saturday Visitor for the best work, ‘MS. Found in a Bottle’. This catapulted him to the world of editors and publishers like John Neal and John P. Kennedy, who were impressed by his appearance and excellent manners.

In 1835, Poe chose a literary career, soon after the death of John Allan and he started contributing significant reviews to the Richmond Southern Literary Messenger. He was appointed its editor and held the job for two years. Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm in 1836. He is known for being an avid editor and reviewer, who had time to compose his own works, which included poetry and fiction. He established his own magazine, the Broadway Journal, in 1845, but it did not flourish.

Poe published a short story anthology, ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabseque’ in 1839. He wrote a poem, ‘The Raven’, which brought him a lot of recognition and which is considered as his best work. He also wrote ‘Tales’ and ‘The Raven and Other Poems’ in 1845. His other known works include ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and ‘The Fall of The House of Usher’. His wife died from tuberculosis in 1847, Virginia’s death later affected him so much his alcohol problem worsened, and he became depressed. He was later to marry his girlfriend, Sarah Royster Shelton, but this was not to be.

Poe was found unconscious on the streets of Baltimore. It is alleged that he was suffering from tuberculosis. He died soon after that on 7 October 1849. Poe had a weighty impact on American and international literature. He is marked as the inventor of horror and detective fiction. He is also recognized as the creator of the contemporary short story, the forerunner of the Art for Art’s Sake movement and is remembered today as one of the principal American writers to become a key figure in world literature.

Title #1: ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’

This short story talks about a man who calculated and killed a blind old man who was under his care. His reason for killing the old man was an unexpected one; that he was sick and tired of looking at the blinded man’s eye. He tells the story to try to prove to the reader that he is not mad.

Title #2: ‘The Raven’

This poem tells the story of an unnamed narrator who just lost his love Lenore and keeps hearing tapping at his door. He convinces himself that it is the wind. This tapping does not seize, and when he finally opens the door, a raven enters. This raven keeps saying ‘nevermore’. The narrator does understand this and tries to ponder over it. The raven persists and this angers the narrator who tells it to leave him alone but the raven keeps saying ‘nevermore’ and does not leave.

I learn that Edgar Allan Poe’s did not let the fact that he was poor get in the way of his writing career. He pursued writing with everything he had. Even as he struggled with alcoholism and depression, he still produced exceptional works. Poe has contributed to American literature through his works. He is credited for his definition of the short story as a unique literary form. His detective stories and science fiction works have seen him receive recognition as their architect. He was the first critic to focus on the style and structure of a literary work, which has shaped the works of numerous writers today.

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