Edgar Allan Poe by Mike Cress

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Edgar Allan Poe by Mike Cress

  1. 1. EDGAR ALLAN POE “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity…”
  2. 2. 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 in theArmy.
  3. 3. 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 certificate).
  4. 4. “The Death of a Beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.  Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Poe, dies of Tuberculosis.  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.
  5. 5. 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 disputed.  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 election day).
  6. 6. The Genre: Gothic Literature  Poe is primarily known for his mastery of the Gothic genre, made popular in the 18th century and early 19th century.  Characteristics of Gothic literature  Evocations of horror  Suggestions of the supernatural  Dark, exotic locations (castles, crumbling mansions), impenetrable walls  A helpless victim who is helpless against his predator.  Poe is fascinated with death.
  7. 7. Other Literary Creations  Poe invented the detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, inspiring the famous stories of Sherlock Holmes.  Poe was an incredible poet; “The Raven” is among the most famous poems throughout the history of literature.  Poe has produced many publications on literary criticism. Poe is the only American writer to excel in poetry, fiction, and criticism.
  8. 8. The Cask of Amontillado Background: Centuries ago, Christians in Italy buried their dead in catacombs—long, winding underground tunnels. 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 (a-man-te-ya-doe). 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 streets.

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