This Saturday will be the birthday of Edgar Allen Poe. Beings I usually spend my weekends being tormented by my strange yet stupendous spawn (aka children), I’m posting this tribute to one of my favorite authors today.
Edgar Allen Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic. He was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, the second son of an English actress named Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and an actor David Poe, Jr. He is best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Not only was Poe one of the first American writers to master the art of the short story, he is believed to be the creator of the detective fiction genre. Poe was also the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through his writing alone.
Poe’s works consisted of satires, hoaxes, and tales of humor, but he was best known for his Gothic works which dealt with questions of death, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Several of his works are considered part of the dark romanticism genre.
Edgar Allen Poe died on October 7, 1849 in a Baltimore hospital. To this day, his death remains a mystery. On October 3, 1849, Poe was found by a man who said, “He was in great distress, and… in need of immediate assistance.” Poe was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died four days later.
All of the medical records, including his death certificate, have been lost. Poe’s death was reported by the newspapers at the time as “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation”, which are common euphemisms for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism. There are several theories about his demise which include rabies, diabetes, epilepsy, carbon monoxide poisoning, and alcohol dehydrogenase.
Another theory was cooping, in which unwilling citizens were abducted, plied with alcohol, and forced to vote for a particular candidate multiple times. This may explain why Poe was incoherent and could not explain the reason behind his dreadful state. Poe was also dressed in clothing that were not his own and repeated the name “Reynolds” several times before he died.
I’ve been a fan of Poe’s work since high school. Besides providing hours of entertainment, his work has been a source of inspiration for me. A few years back, I wrote a poem in tribute to this remarkable author which you can read by clicking the following link: Upon My Windowsill (My tribute poem to Poe.)
Some famous quotes by Poe:
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
“Years of love have been forgot, in the hatred of a minute.”
“Depend upon it, after all, Thomas, Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path.” ~ From a letter to Frederick W. Thomas. 1849.