EDGAR ALLAN POE
“I became insane, with
long intervals of horrible
The Early Years of Poe
Born Edgar Poe in Boston,
Massachusetts on January 19th, 1809.
His mother died shortly after his father
abandoned the family.
John and Frances Allan, of Richmond,
Virginia, take Poe in.
Poe attended the University ofVirginia
but had to leave due to lack of money.
Gambling debts sent Poe into trouble;
he cut ties with the Allans and enlisted
Marriage to Virginia
Poe first met his cousin,Virginia Clemm, in August
of 1829 after his discharge from theArmy.
Poe began living with Clemm and her family in 1833.
There was controversy over their marriage (age
difference, blood relation). Poe wrote an emotional
letter to Maria,Virginia’s mother, pleading that she
allowVirginia to make her own decision.
They were married on May 16th, 1836. He was 27
and she was 13 (though listed as 21 on the
“The Death of a Beautiful
woman, is unquestionably the
most poetical topic in the
Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Poe, dies of
His foster mother, Frances Allan, dies
of a “long illness” – there is
speculation it is tuberculosis.
Virginia Clemm, his beloved wife,
suffers a long bout with tuberculosis,
bleeding from the mouth, becoming
an invalid, and dying.
Poe’s Death: A Mystery
Poe died on October 7th, 1849.The
circumstances leading up to it are
uncertain and the cause of death is
On October 3rd, Poe was found delirious
on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland,
“in great distress and…in need of
immediate assistance”, according to
the man who found him.
Poe died before he could explain how
he got into such a traumatic condition.
Theories: suicide; murder; cholera;
rabies; syphilis; influenza; rabies;
alcoholism; cooping (he was found on
The Genre: Gothic Literature
Poe is primarily known for his
mastery of the Gothic genre, made
popular in the 18th century and early
Characteristics of Gothic literature
Evocations of horror
Suggestions of the supernatural
Dark, exotic locations (castles,
crumbling mansions), impenetrable
A helpless victim who is helpless
against his predator.
Poe is fascinated with death.
Other Literary Creations
Poe invented the detective story, “The
Murders in the Rue Morgue”, inspiring
the famous stories of Sherlock
Poe was an incredible poet; “The
Raven” is among the most famous
poems throughout the history of
Poe has produced many publications
on literary criticism. Poe is the only
American writer to excel in poetry,
fiction, and criticism.
The Cask of Amontillado
Centuries ago, Christians in Italy buried their
dead in catacombs—long, winding
Later, wealthy families built private
catacombs beneath their homes.
Dark and cool, these chambers were
suitable not only for burial but also for the
storage of fine wines, such as amontillado
Poe’s story is set during carnival, which is
celebrated before the start of Lent, the
season during which Christians give up
various pleasures. During carnival, many
people wear costumes and dance in the