On Jan 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, was born in Boston.
Poe was a writer, editor, literary critic, best known for his poetry and short stories. He is also generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
His father, David Poe, was an Irish-American actor and abandoned his family shortly after Edgar’s birth. His mother, Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins, died in 1811 and he grew up with a foster family.
Poe studied briefly at the University of Virginia, for one semester but left due to lack of money. After he quarreled with his foster father and in 1827, he left for Boston.
He enlisted in the Army under a fictitious name but later failed as an officer cadet at West Point and declared his wish to be a poet and writer. His first volume of poetry, he published anonymously.
In the early 1840s Poe became known for his lyrical, brooding poems and detective stories, such as “The Gold Bug” and “Murders at the Rue Morgue.”
Poe was unafraid to openly criticize contemporary literary practices of the time, stressing the importance of artistic value more than moral value. After battles with alcoholism and his wife Virginia’s death, Poe became depressed but continued to write. He became engaged again in 1849 but soon died at the age of 40.
His best known stories include: “Fall of the House of Usher ” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” His most famous poems are “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.”