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Edgar Allen Poe

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  1. Edgar Allen Poe 1809-1849

  2. Beginnings • Born in Boston to traveling actors • @2 father abandoned; mother died • Raised by John Allan = a wealthy tobacco merchant • Shaky relationship • Never formally adopted as heir

  3. Poe as a Young Adult • Dropped out of U of VA –substantial debt (gambling) • Army 2 years • @20 worked as editor of magazine • Married his 13 year old cousin • To keep her from being split from family • Never consummated relationship, loved her in a “brotherly” way

  4. Began writing for a magazine • Became emotionally unstable/bouts of drunkenness?? (couldn’t tolerate alcohol, lesion on brain = opium to control pain) • Never happy, always looking to future • Wife died @24; he was then with many women, engaged twice • Found dead in Baltimore, unconscious on sidewalk

  5. Literary Achievements • Poe’s literary criticism led to theory of Romantic litr. • Gave short story its form (w/Hawthorne) • Invented the detective story • Stories of detection and horror • Explores the dark side of our inner experience; imagination used to explore the irrational world of human mind

  6. Literary Achievements • Imprt. Amr. Poet = unreal atmosphere = musical effects • Favorite/most worthy subject = death of beautiful woman • Main theme = dissolution of personality = man works against his best interests

  7. Literary Devices • Alliteration (nearly napping) • Internal Rhyme • Assonance (flung the shutter) • Consonance (truly your forgiveness)