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Edgar Allan Poe. 1809-1849. His Life. “The want of parental affection,” wrote Poe, “has been the heaviest of my trials. Father was a drunk He abandoned his mother who died son after, leaving Edgar an orphan before the age of three. He was taken in by John and Frances Allan.
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Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849
His Life • “The want of parental affection,” wrote Poe, “has been the heaviest of my trials. • Father was a drunk • He abandoned his mother who died son after, leaving Edgar an orphan before the age of three. • He was taken in by John and Frances Allan. • John provided generously for Edgar’s education but did not formally adopt him.
Edgar grew up longing for a natural father • John Allan disapproved of Edgar’s idleness, indifference to business life and literary aspirations • This probably contributed to Edgar’s moodiness • He attended the University of Virginia • He became engaged to a girl named Elmira Royster • Her family put an end to the romance; Edgar was not to inherit John Allan’s fortune
After being withdrawn for school by John because of gambling debt, and eventually dismissing himself from West Point, he moved in with his aunt, Maria Poe Clemm. • In 1835, he married her thirteen- year- old daughter, Virginia. • Virginia died in 1847 of tuberculosis. • Poe died soon after, in 1849, from a brain lesion and apparently too much to drink
His Tragic Life • His mother is widowed at 18—Poe is fatherless • Two years after Poe’s birth, his mother dies • He is taken in by the Allens, but never adopted • At college Poe’s step-father financially abandons him • Mrs. Allen dies; Mr. Allen remarries • Makes a meager living writing profound literary criticism; meets Rufus Griswold • Marries Virginia Clemm—who dies young • Courts older women • Dies under strange circumstances
European Romanticism • Individualism & Nonconformity • Nature-Worship • Primitivism • Interest in the Supernatural or Vanished Cultures
Stress on Feeling and Erotica • Interest in the past or medieval times • Stress on Mysticism & Symbolism • An Apocalyptic Expectation • Emphasis on Imagination
Themes Specific to Poe • The Supernatural Heightened to the Grotesque • The Artist As a Superior Being • Vampirism • Doppelganger • Self-Destruction • Search for Identity