Allan Poe was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic
and one of the leaders of the American Romantics. He is best known
for his tales of the macabre and his poems, as well as being one
of the early practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of
detective fiction, as well as crime fiction in the United States.
He is also often credited with inventing the gothic fiction story.
Poe died at the age of 40, the cause of his death a final mystery,
although it is well-known that he had serious drug and alcohol problems,
but some say he died of tuberculosis, as so many people did in his
time. His exact burial location is also a source of controversy.
life of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born to a Scots-Irish family in Boston, Massachusetts
on January 19, 1809. The son of actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins
Poe and actor David Poe, Jr. His father abandoned the family in
July 1811 and died five months later on December 11, 1811. His
mother had died of tuberculosis only three days earlier on December
8, 1811. Edgar was only two at the time. Poe was taken into the
home of John Allan, a successful tobacco merchant in Richmond,
Virginia. Although his middle name is often misspelled as "Allen,"
it is actually "Allan," after this family.
attending the Misses Duborg boarding school in London, England,
young Poe attended the Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House
boarding school in the fall of 1818. The Manor House was located
in the village of Stoke Newington, only four miles north of London,
Poe moved back to the Allans in Richmond in 1820. After serving
an apprenticeship in Pawtucket, Poe registered at the University
of Virginia in 1826, but only stayed there for one year. He became
estranged from his foster father over gambling debts Poe had acquired
while trying to get more spending money, and so Poe enlisted in
the United States Army as a private, using the name Edgar A. Perry,
on May 26, 1827. That same year, he released his first book, Tamerlane
and Other Poems, which, now, is such a rare book, that a remaining
copy has been sold for $200,000. After serving for two years and
attaining the rank of sergeant major, Poe was discharged.
1829, Poe's foster mother, Frances Allan, died, and he published
his second book, Al Aaraf. As his foster mother's dying wish,
Poe reconciled with his foster father, who coordinated an appointment
for him to the United States Military Academy at West Point. At
West Point, however, Poe supposedly deliberately disobeyed orders
and was dismissed. After that, Poe and his foster father disowned
each other until the latter's death on March 6, 1831.
next moved to Baltimore, Maryland with his widowed aunt, Maria
Clemm, and her daughter, Poe's first cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm.
Poe wrote fiction to support himself, and in December 1835, began
editing the Southern Literary Messenger for Thomas W. White in
Richmond. On May 16, 1836 he married Virginia, who was 13 at the
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym was published and widely reviewed
in 1838. In the summer of 1839, Poe became assistant editor of
Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. He published a large number of
articles, stories, and reviews, enhancing the reputation as a
trenchant critic that he had established at the Southern Literary
Messenger. Also in 1839, the collection Tales of the Grotesque
and Arabesque was published in two volumes.
not a financial success, it was a milestone in the history of
American literature, collecting such classic Poe tales as "The
Fall of the House of Usher", "MS. Found in a Bottle",
"Berenice", "Ligeia" and "William Wilson".
Poe left Burton's after about a year and found a position as assistant
editor at Graham's Magazine.
evening of January 20, 1842, the lovely Virginia broke a blood
vessel while singing and playing the piano. Blood began to rush
forth from her mouth. It was the first sign of consumption, now
more commonly known as tuberculosis. She only partially recovered.
Poe began to drink more heavily under the stress of Virginia's
illness. He left Graham's and attempted to find a new position,
for a time angling for a government post.
returned to New York, where he worked briefly at the Evening Mirror
before becoming editor of the Broadway Journal. There he became
involved in a noisy public feud with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
On January 29, 1845, his poem "The Raven" appeared in
the Evening Mirror and became a popular sensation.
Broadway Journal failed in 1846. Poe moved to a cottage in the
Fordham section of The Bronx, New York. He loved the Jesuits at
Fordham University and frequently strolled about its campus conversing
with both students and faculty. Fordham University's bell tower
even inspired him to write "The Bells."
Poe Cottage is on the southeast corner of the Grand Concourse
and Kingsbridge Road, and is open to the public. Virginia died
there in 1847. Increasingly unstable after his wife's death, Poe
attempted to court the poet Sarah Helen Whitman. Their engagement
failed, purportedly because of Poe's drinking and erratic behavior;
however there is also strong evidence that Miss Whitman's mother
intervened and did much to derail their relationship. According
to Poe's own account, he attempted suicide during this period
by overdosing on laudanum. He then returned to Richmond and resumed
a relationship with a childhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster,
who, by that time, was a widow.
On October 3, 1849 Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore,
delirious and "in great distress, and... in need of immediate
assistance," according to the man who found him. He was taken
to the Washington College Hospital, where he died early on the
morning of October 7. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain
how he came to be in his dire condition, and, oddly, was wearing
clothes that were not his own.
is said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds"
on the night before his death, though no one has ever been able
to identify the person to whom he referred. One Poe scholar, W.
T. Bandy, has suggested that he may instead have called for "Herring,"
(Poe's uncle was called Henry Herring). Some sources say Poe's
final words were "It is all over now; write 'Eddy is no more'."
referring to his tombstone. Others say his last words were "Lord,
help my poor soul."
precise cause of Poe's death is disputed. Dr. J. E. Snodgrass,
an acquaintance of Poe who was among those who saw him in his
last days, was convinced that Poe's death was a result of alcoholism,
and did a great deal to popularize this interpretation of the
events. He was, however, a supporter of the temperance movement
who found Poe a useful example in his work; later scholars have
shown that his account of Poe's death distorts facts to support
John Moran, the physician who attended Poe, stated in his own
1885 account that "Edgar Allan Poe did not die under the
effect of any intoxicant, nor was the smell of liquor upon his
breath or person." This was, however, only one of several
sometimes contradictory accounts of Poe's last days he published
over the years, so his testimony cannot be considered entirely
other theories have been proposed over the years, including several
forms of rare brain disease, diabetes, various types of enzyme
deficiency, syphilis, the idea that Poe was shanghaied, drugged,
and used as a pawn in a ballot-box-stuffing scam during the election
that was held on the day he was found, and more recently, rabies.
The rabies death theory was proposed by Dr. R. Michael Benitez,
and is based upon the fact that Poe's symptoms before death are
similar to those displayed in a classic case of rabies. Cats play
a prominent part in many of his stories. It is conjectured that
he was accidentally bitten by a rabid pet.
the absence of contemporary documentation (all surviving accounts
are either incomplete or published years after the event; even
Poe's death certificate, if one was ever made out, has been lost),
it is likely that the cause of Poe's death will never be known.
is buried on the grounds of Westminster Hall and Burying Ground,
now part of the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore.
after death, however, Poe has created controversy and mystery.
Because of his fame, school children collected money for a new
burial spot closer to the front gate. He was reburied on October
1, 1875. A celebration was held at the dedication of the new tomb
on November 17. Likely unknown to the reburial crew, however,
the headstones on all the graves, previously facing to the east,
were turned to face the West Gate in 1864. Therefore, as it was
described in a seemingly fitting turn of events:
digging on what they erroneously thought to be the right of the
General Poe the committee naturally first struck old Mrs. Poe
who had been buried thirty-six years before Edgar's mother-in-law;
they tried again and presumably struck Mrs. Clemm who had been
buried in 1876 only four years earlier. Henry's Poe's brother
foot stone, it there, was respected for they obviously skipped
over him and settled for the next body, which was on the Mosher
lot. Because of the excellent condition of the teeth, he would
certainly seem to have been the remains of Philip Mosher Jr, of
the Maryland Militia, age 19.
Poe's death, his grave site has become a popular tourist attraction.
Beginning in 1949, the grave has been visited every year in the
early hours of Poe's birthday, January 19th, by a mystery man
known endearingly as the Poe Toaster. It has been reported that
a man draped in black with a silver-tipped cane, kneels at the
grave for a toast of Martel Cognac and leaves the half-full bottle
and three red roses. The three red roses supposedly are in memory
of Poe himself, his mother-in-law, and his wife Virginia.
– Griswold's biography of Edgar Allan Poe
The day Edgar Allan Poe was buried, a long obituary appeared in
the New York Tribune signed "Ludwig". The piece began,
"Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before
yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be
grieved by it." It was reprinted in numerous papers across
the country. "Ludwig" was soon identified as Rufus Griswold,
a minor editor and anthologist who had borne a grudge against
Poe since 1842, when Poe wrote a review of one of Griswold's anthologies,
a review that Griswold deemed to be full of false praise. Though
they were coolly polite in person, an enmity developed between
the two men as they clashed over various matters. Critics have
seen this obituary as a way for Griswold to finally settle his
score with Poe.
went on to assume the role of Poe's literary executor, though
no evidence exists that Poe had ever made the choice. He convinced
Poe's destitute mother-in-law Maria Clemm to hand over a mass
of letters and manuscripts (which were never returned) and allow
him to prepare an edition of Poe's collected works. Griswold assured
Clemm that she would receive significant royalties, but she received
nothing but a few sets of the edition, which she had to sell herself
to make any sort of profit.
Griswold wrote a biographical "Memoir" of Poe, which
he included in an additional volume of the collected works. Griswold
depicted Poe as a depraved, drunk, drug-addled madman. This biography
presented a starkly different version of Poe's biography than
any other at the time, and included items now believed to have
been forged by Griswold to bolster his case. Griswold's book was
denounced by those who knew Edgar Allan Poe well; Griswold's account
became a popularly accepted one, however, in part because it was
the only full biography available and was widely reprinted, and
in part because it seemed to accord with the narrative voice Poe
used in much of his fiction.
accurate biography of Poe appeared until John Ingram's of 1875.
By then, however, Griswold's depiction of Poe was entrenched in
the mind of the public, not only in America but around the world.
Griswold's madman image of Poe is still existent in the modern
perceptions of the man himself.
and artistic theory
In his essay "The Poetic Principle", Poe argued that
there is no such thing as a long poem, since the ultimate purpose
of art is aesthetic, that is, its purpose is the effect it has
on its audience, and this effect can only be maintained for a
brief period of time (the time it takes to read a lyric poem,
or watch a drama performed, or view a painting, etc.). He argued
that an epic, if it has any value at all, must be actually a series
of smaller pieces, each geared towards a single effect or sentiment,
which "elevates the soul".
associated the aesthetic aspect of art with pure ideality claiming
that the mood or sentiment created by a work of art elevates the
soul, and is thus a spiritual experience. In many of his short
stories, artistically inclined characters (especially Roderick
Usher from "The Fall of the House of Usher") are able
to achieve this ideal aesthetic through fixation, and often exhibit
obsessive personalities and reclusive tendencies. "The Oval
Portrait" also examines fixation, but in this case the object
of fixation is itself a work of art.
championed art for art's sake (before the term itself was coined).
He was consequentially an opponent of didacticism, arguing in
his literary criticisms that the role of moral or ethical instruction
lies outside the realm of poetry and art, which should only focus
on the production of a beautiful work of art. He criticized James
Russell Lowell in a review for being excessively didactic and
moralistic in his writings, and argued often that a poem should
be written "for a poem's sake". Since a poem's purpose
is to convey a single aesthetic experience, Poe argues in his
literary theory essay The Philosophy of Composition, the ending
should be written first. Poe's inspiration for this theory was
Charles Dickens, who wrote to Poe in a letter dated March 6, 1842,
of the "construction" of "Caleb Williams,"
do you know that Godwin wrote it backwards, -- the last volume
first, -- and that when he had produced the hunting down of Caleb,
and the catastrophe, he waited for months, casting about for a
means of accounting for what he had done ?
refers to the letter in his essay. Dickens' literary influence
on Poe can also be seen in Poe's short story "The Man of
the Crowd". Its depictions of urban blight owe much to Dickens
and in many places purposefully echo Dickens' language.
was a proponent and supporter of magazine literature, and felt
that short stories, or "tales" as they were called in
the early nineteenth century, which were usually considered "vulgar"
or "low art" along with the magazines that published
them, were legitimate art forms on par with the novel or epic
poem. His insistence on the artistic value of the short story
was influential in the short story's rise to prominence in later
also focused the theme of each of his short stories on one human
characteristic. In "The Tell-Tale Heart", he focused
on guilt, in "The Fall of the House of Usher", his focus
was fear, etc.
disliked allegory. He once commented that "In defence of
allegory, (however, or for whatever object, employed,) there is
scarcely one respectable word to be said. Its best appeals are
made to the fancy — that is to say, to our sense of adaptation,
not of matters proper, but of matters irnproper for the purpose,
of the real with the unreal; having never more of intelligible
connection than has something with nothing, never half so much
of effective affinity as has the substance for the shadow."
Poe's works have had a broad influence on American and world literature
(sometimes even despite those who tried to resist it), and even
on the art world beyond literature. The scope of Poe's impact
on art is evident when one sees the many and diverse artists who
were directly and profoundly influenced by him.
Poe's literary reputation was greater abroad than in the United
States, perhaps as a result of America's general revulsion towards
the macabre. Rufus Griswold's defamatory reminiscences did little
to commend Poe to U.S. literary society. However, American authors
as diverse as Walt Whitman, H. P. Lovecraft, William Faulkner,
and Herman Melville were influenced by Poe's works. Nathanael
West used the concept and remarkable black humour of Poe's "The
Man That Was Used Up" in his third novel, A Cool Million.
O'Connor, however, who grew up reading Poe's satirical works,
claimed the influence of Poe on her works was "something
I'd rather not think about" (Poe Encyclopaedia, p. 259).
T. S. Eliot, who was often quite hostile to Poe, describing him
as having "the intellect of a highly gifted person before
puberty," professed that he was impressed, however, by Poe's
abilities as a literary critic, calling him "the directest,
the least pedantic, the least pedagogical of the critics writing
in his time in either America or England."
Twain was also a sharp critic of Poe. "To me his prose is
unreadable--like Jane Austen's," he wrote in a January 18,
1909 letter to William Dean Howells.
Influence on French literature
In France, where he is commonly known as "Edgar Poe,"
Poe's works first arrived when two French papers published separate
(and uncredited) translations of Poe's detective story "The
Muderers in the Rue Morgue". A third newspaper, La Presse,
accused the editor of the second paper, E. D. Forgues, of plagiarizing
the first paper. Forgues explained that the story was original
to neither paper, but was a translation of "les Contes d'E.
Poe, littérateur américain." ("the stories
of E. Poe, American author.")
Le Presse did not acknowledge Forgues' explanation of the events,
Forgues responded with a libel lawsuit, during which he repeatedly
proclaimed, "Avez-vous lu Edgar Poe? Lisez Edgar Poe."
("Have you read Edgar Poe? Read Edgar Poe!") The notoriety
of this trial spread Poe's name throughout Paris, gaining the
interest of many poets and writers. (Silverman 321)
these was Charles Baudelaire, who translated almost all of Poe's
stories and several of the poems into French. His excellent translations
meant that Poe enjoyed a vogue among avant-garde writers in France
while being ignored in his native land. Poe also exerted a powerful
influence over Baudelaire's own poetry, as can be seen from Baudelaire's
obsession with macabre imagery, morbid themes, musical verse and
a draft preface to his most famous work, Les Fleurs du Mal, Baudelaire
lists Poe as one of the authors whom he plagiarized. Baudelaire
also found in Poe an example of what he saw as the destructive
elements of bourgeois society. Poe himself was critical of democracy
and capitalism (in his story "Mellonta Tauta," Poe proclaims
that "democracy is a very admirable form of government—for
dogs"), and the tragic poverty and misery of Poe's biography
seemed, to Baudelaire, to be the ultimate example of how the bourgeoisie
destroys genius and originality.
was much admired, also, by the school of Symbolism. Stéphane
Mallarmé dedicated several poems to him and translated
some of Poe's works into French, accompanied by illustrations
by Manet (see below). The later authors Paul Valéry and
Marcel Proust were great admirers of Poe, the latter saying "Poe
sought to arrive at the beautiful through evocation and an elimination
of moral motives in his art."
From France, Poe's works made their way to England, where writers
like Algernon Swinburne caught the Poe-bug, and Swinburne's musical
verse owes much to Poe's technique. Oscar Wilde called Poe "this
marvelous lord of rhythmic expression" and drew on Poe's
works for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his short stories
(Poe Encyclopedia 375). The poet and critic W. H. Auden revitalized
interest in Poe's works, especially his criticism.
said of Poe, "His portraits of abnormal or self-destructive
states contributed much to Dostoyevsky, his ratiocinating hero
is the ancestor of Sherlock Holmes and his many successors, his
tales of the future lead to H. G. Wells, his adventure stories
to Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson." (Poe Encyclopedia
27). Other English writers, such as Aldous Huxley, however, were
less fond of him. Huxley considered Poe to be the embodiment of
vulgarity in literature.
Poe's poetry was translated into Russian by the Symbolist poet
Konstantin Balmont and enjoyed great popularity there in the late
19th and early 20th centuries, influencing artists such as Nabokov,
who makes several references to Poe's work in his most famous
novel, Lolita. Fyodor Dostoevsky called Poe "an enormously
talented writer", favorably reviewing Poe's detective stories
and briefly referencing "The Raven" in his novel The
Brothers Karamazov. It has been suggested that Crime and Punishment's
Raskolnikov was inspired in part by Montresor from "The Cask
of Amontillado", and that the same novel's Porfiry Petrovich
owes a debt to Auguste Dupin (Poe Encyclopaedia 102).
Poe was also an influence for the Swedish poet and author Viktor
Rydberg, who translated a considerable amount of Poe's work into
Swedish; a Japanese author who even took a pseudonym, Edogawa
Rampo, from a rendering of Poe's name in that language; and German
author Thomas Mann, in whose novel Buddenbrooks, a character reads
Poe's short novels and professes to be influenced by his works.
Friedrich Nietzsche refers to Poe in his masterpiece Beyond Good
and Evil, and some have found evidence of Poe's influence on the
Poe made a deep impression on Czechoslovakian author Franz Kafka,
and the influence of Poe's works on his are undeniable. Both authors
focus on disturbed states of mind and the crimes or horrors that
arrive from them, using closed-off, isolated settings to explore
their characters. Kafka once said of Poe, "He wrote tales
of mystery to make himself at home in the world. That's perfectly
natural. Imagination has fewer pitfalls than reality.... I know
his way of escape and his dreamer's face."
Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges was a great admirer of Poe's
works, and translated his stories into Spanish. Many of the characters
from Borges' stories are borrowed directly from Poe's stories,
and in many of his stories Poe is mentioned by name.
He is often credited as being an originator in the genre of detective
fiction with his three stories about Auguste Dupin, the most famous
of which is "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." (Poe also
wrote a satirical detective story called "Thou Art the Man")
There is no doubt that he inspired mystery writers who came after
him, particularly Arthur Conan Doyle in his series of stories
featuring Sherlock Holmes.
was once quoted as saying, "Each [of Poe's detective stories]
is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where
was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life
into it?" (Poe Encyclopedia 103). Though Poe's Auguste Dupin
was not the first detective in fiction, he became an archetype
for all subsequent detectives, and Doyle acknowledged the primacy
of Auguste Dupin in his Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet,
in which Watson compares Holmes to Dupin, much to Holmes's chagrin.
Mystery Writers of America have named their awards for excellence
in the genre the "Edgars."
fiction, gothic fiction and horror fiction
Poe also profoundly influenced the development of early science
fiction author Jules Verne, who discussed Poe in his essay Poe
et ses œuvres and also wrote a sequel to Poe's novel The
Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket called The Narrative
of Arthur Gordon Pym, Le sphinx des glaces (Poe Encyclopedia 364).
H. G. Wells, in discussing the construction of his classics of
science fiction, The War of the Worlds and The First Men in the
Moon, noted that "Pym tells what a very intelligent mind
could imagine about the south polar region a century ago"
science fiction author Ray Bradbury has also professed a love
for Poe. He often draws upon Poe in his stories and mentions Poe
by name in several stories. His anti-censorship story "Usher
II", set in a dystopian future in which the works of Poe
(and some other authors) have been censored, features an eccentric
who constructs a house based on Poe's tale "The Fall of the
House of Usher".
with Mary Shelley, Poe is regarded as the foremost proponent of
the Gothic strain in literary Romanticism. Death, decay and madness
were an obsession for Poe. His curious and often nightmarish work
greatly influenced the horror and fantasy genres, and the horror
fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft claimed to have been profoundly
influenced by Poe's works.
On the stage, the great dramatist George Bernard Shaw was greatly
influenced by Poe's literary criticism, calling Poe "the
greatest journalistic critic of his time" (Poe Encyclopaedia
315). Alfred Hitchcock declared Poe as a major inspiration, saying,
"It's because I liked Edgar Allan Poe's stories so much that
I began to make suspense films."
John Astin, who performed as Gomez in the Addams Family television
series, is an ardent admirer of Poe, whom he resembles, and in
recent years has starred in a one-man play based on Poe's life
and works, Edgar Allan Poe: Once Upon a Midnight. The musical
play Nevermore, by Matt Conner and Grace Barnes, was inspired
by Poe's poems and essays.
Eureka, an essay written in 1848, included a cosmological theory
that anticipated the Big Bang theory by 80 years, as well as the
first plausible solution to Olbers' paradox. Though described
as a "prose poem" by Poe, who wished it to be considered
as art, this work is a remarkable scientific and mystical essay
unlike any of his other works. He wrote that he considered Eureka
to be his career masterpiece.
eschewed the scientific method in his Eureka. He argued instead
that he was reasoning from pure intuition, using neither the Aristotelian
a priori method of axioms and syllogisms, nor the empirical method
of modern science set forth by Francis Bacon. For this reason,
he considered it a work of art, not science, but insisted that
it was still true. Though some of his assertions have later proven
to be false (such as his assertion that gravity must be the strongest
force--it is actually the weakest), others have been shown to
be surprisingly accurate and decades ahead of their time.
Poe had a keen interest in the field of cryptography, as exemplified
in his short story The Gold Bug. In particular he placed a notice
of his abilities in the Philadelphia paper Alexander's Weekly
(Express) Messenger, inviting submissions of ciphers, which he
proceeded to solve. His success created a public stir for some
months. He later wrote essays on methods of cryptography which
proved useful in deciphering the German codes employed during
World War I.
success in cryptography relied not so much on his knowledge of
that field (his method was limited to the simple substitution
cryptogram), as on his knowledge of the magazine and newspaper
culture. His keen analytical abilities, which were so evident
in his detective stories, allowed him to see that the general
public was largely ignorant of the methods by which a simple substitution
cryptogram can be solved, and he used this to his advantage. The
sensation Poe created with his cryptography stunt played a major
role in popularizing cryptograms in newspapers and magazines.
Poe and his works have provided considerable inspiration to both
classical music and popular music. See Edgar Allan Poe and music.
In the world of visual arts, Gustave Doré and Édouard
Manet composed several illustrations for Poe's works.
His legacy is abundant in modern pop culture. It is much alive
in the city of Baltimore. Even though Poe spent less than two
years there, he is now treated as a native son. In 1996, when
NFL football arrived, the team took the name Baltimore Ravens,
in honor of his best known poem. The team's three "winged"
mascots were named Edgar, Allan, and Poe.
television show Homicide: Life on the Street, set in Baltimore,
made reference to Poe and his works in several episodes. Poe figured
most prominently in an episode in which a Poe-obsessed killer
walls up his victim in the basement of a house to imitate the
grisly murder of Fortunado by Montressor in "The Cask of
Amontillado". In a disturbing scene near the end of the episode,
the killer reads from the works of Poe as a dramatic effect to
increase the tension.
Poe's vast influence over pop culture does not end with Baltimore.
Poe's image, with his weary expression, piercing eyes and tangled
hair (see the daguerreotype above), has become a cultural icon
for the troubled genius. His face adorns the bottlecaps of Raven
Beer, the covers of numerous books on American literature as a
whole, and is often stereotyped in cartoons as "the creepy
guy". Numerous popular movie makers have incorporated Poe
or Poe's works into their works (see "Adaptations" below).
Edgar Allan Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria
rented several homes in Philadelphia, but only the last house
has survived. The Spring Garden home, where the author lived in
1843-44, is today preserved by the National Park Service as the
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site. It is located on 7th and
Spring Garden Streets, and is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Like any famous artist, Poe's works have spawned legions of imitators
and plagiarists. One interesting trend among imitators of Poe,
however, has been claims by clairvoyants or psychics to be "channelling"
poems from Poe's spirit beyond the grave. One of the most notable
of these is Lizzie Doten, who in 1863 published Poems from the
Inner Life, in which she claimed to have "received"
new compositions by Poe's spirit. The compositions were re-workings
of famous Poe poems such as "The Bells", but which reflected
a new, positive outlook. Mabbott notes that, at least compared
to many other Poe imitators, Doten was not entirely without poetic
talent, whether that talent was her own or "channelled"
my soul from out that shadow
Hath been lifted evermore—
From that deep and dismal shadow,
In the streets of Baltimore!
—Lizzie Doten, "Streets of Baltimore", from Poems
from the Inner Life, imitating "The Raven" by Edgar
1. "A Dream" (1827)
2. "A Dream Within a Dream" (1827)
3. "Dreams" (1827)
4. "Tamerlane" (1827)
5. "Al Aaraaf" (1829)
6. "Alone" (1830)
7. "To Helen" (1831)
8. "Israfel" (1831)
9. "The City in the Sea" (1831)
10. "To One in Paradise" (1834)
11. "The Conqueror Worm" (1837)
12. "Silence" (1840)
13. "Lenore" (1843)
14. "Dreamland" (1844)
15. "The Divine Right of Kings" (1845)
16. "The Raven" (1845)
17. "Ulalume" (1847)
18. "Eureka" (1848) a prose poem.
19. "Annabel Lee" (1849)
20. "The Bells" (1849)
21. "Eldorado" (1849)
1. "MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833)
2. "Berenice" (1835)
3. "Ligeia" (1838)
4. "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839) )
5. "William Wilson" (1839)
6. "The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion" (1839)
7. "The Masque of the Red Death" (1842) )
8. "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1842)
9. "The Light-House" (unfinished, published posthumously
in 1909 and 1942)
10. "The Gold Bug" (1843)
11. "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1843)
12. "The Black Cat" (1843)
13. "The Premature Burial" (1844)
14. "The Balloon-Hoax" (1844))
15. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845)
16. "Some Words with a Mummy" (1845)
17. "The Imp of the Perverse" (1845)
18. "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"
19. "The Cask of Amontillado" (1846)
20. "The Spectacles" (1850)
21. "Morella" (1835) )
22. "The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade" (1850)
23. "A Tale of Jerusalem" (1850)
24. "The Oblong Box" (1850)
25. "A Descent into the Maelstrom" (1850)
26. "Hop-Frog, or The Eight Chained Ourang-Outangs"
Auguste Dupin stories
1. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841)
2. "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (1843)
3. "The Purloined Letter" (1844)
1. The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaall (1835)
2. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (novel) (1838)
1. "Maelzel's Chess-Player" (1836)
2. "Mesmeric Revelation" (1844)
3. "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846)
4. "The Rationale of Verse"
5. "Landor´s Cottage"
6. "The Domain of Arnheim"
7. "The Poetic Principle" (Posthumously published, 1850)
8. "Eureka: An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe"
(1848) (also known as "Eureka: A Prose Poem")
1. Politian (fragment, 1835) (Scenes Full Text at Wikisource)
2. Several of Poe's works were made into movies, notably a series
of movies directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price.
The 1993 film The Mummy Lives, starring Tony Curtis, screenplay
by Nelson Gidding, was suggested by Poe's Some Words with a Mummy
3. Vincent Price collaborated with actor Basil Rathbone on a collection
of their readings of Poe's stories and poems.
4. Author Ray Bradbury is a great admirer of Poe, and has either
featured Poe as a character or alluded to Poe's stories in many
of his works.
5. In 1975, The Alan Parsons Project released its first album,
Tales of Mystery and Imagination. All of the songs are about Edgar
Allan Poe stories.
6. Robert R. McCammon wrote Ushers Passing, a sequel to Fall of
the House of Usher, published in 1984
7. In 1995 several of Poe's stories were combined to make an interactive
novel stylised as a video game called The Dark Eye. Beat legend
William S. Burroughs read the poem "Annabel Lee" and
the story "Masque of the Red Death" for the game soundtrack.
8. A double-CD organized by Hal Willner, "Closed on Account
of Rabies" with poems and tales of Poe performed by artists
as diverse as Christopher Walken, Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop
and Jeff Buckley was issued in 1997.
9. "The Black Cat" was translated to giallo film as
Eye of the Black Cat (a.k.a. Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only
I Have the Key)
10. The Simpsons episode 7F04, "Treehouse of Horror,"
aired October 25, 1990 contains a segment in which James Earl
Jones reads Poe's poem "The Raven," with Homer playing
the narrator, Marge making a brief appearance as Lenore, and Bart
as the raven.
11. In the Nintendo video game series The Legend Of Zelda, the
ghosts that feature throughout the games are called Poes.
12. Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" has been animated
as a brickfilm by Canadian animator, Logan Wright. It can be found
13. Robert Wilson and Lou Reed created a musical anthology of
Poe stories and plays entitled POEtry, performed in Europe in
14. In 2003, Eric Woolfson released POE -- More Tales of Mystery
and Imagination, as a sequel to Tales of Mystery and Imagination.
15. In 2005, Lurker Films released an Edgar Allan Poe film collection
on DVD, including short film adaptations of "Annabel Lee"
by director George Higham, "The Raven" by director Peter
Bradley and "The Tell-Tale Heart" by director Alfonso