EDGAR ALLAN POE


Many authors have made great contributions to the world of literature. Mark Twain
Introduced Americans to life on the Mississippi. Thomas Hardy wrote on his pessimistic views of
the Victorian Age. Another author that influenced literature is Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is known as
the father of the American short stories and father of the detective story. To understand the literary
Contributions of Edgar Allan Poe, one must look at his early life, his literary life, and a summary of
two of his famous works.
"Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston\'\' (Inglis 505) "on January 19, 1809\'\' (Asselineau
409). He was born to a southern family that were in a traveling company of actors (Inglis 505).
His father, David Poe, was from a Baltimore family. He was an actor by profession and a heavy
drinker. Soon after Edgar Allan Poe was born, he left his family. Poe\'s mother, Elizabeth Arnold
Poe, was a widow at the age of eighteen. Two years after his birth, she died of tuberculosis
(Asselineau 409). When his mother died, Poe was adopted by John Allan (Perry XI) at the urging
of Mr. Allan\'s wife. In 1815, John Allan moved his family to England. While there, Poe was sent
to private schools (Asselineau 410).
In the spring of 1826, Poe entered the University of Virginia. There he studied Spanish,
French, Italian, and Latin. He had an excellent scholastic record. He got into difficulties almost at
once. Mr. Allan did not provide him with the money to pay for his fees and other necessities. Poe
was confused and homesick. He learned to play cards and started drinking. Soon he was in debt
in excess of two thousand dollars. Poe discovered that he could not depend upon Allan for
financial support. His foster father refused to pay his debts, and Poe had to withdraw from the
University (Asselineau 410).
In May of 1827, Poe enlisted in the army as a common soldier. He did this under the
name of Edgar A. Perry. He was stationed on Sullivan\'s Island in Charleston Harbor for over a
year. Poe adapted very well to military discipline and quickly rose to the rank of regimental
sergeant major. After a while, he got tired of the same daily routine involved in military life. Poe
wrote regularly to Mr. Allan. He met with Mr. Allan after the death of Mrs. Allan in February of
1829. With Allan\'s support, he received his discharge and enlisted in West Point on July 1, l830
(Asselineau 410). While at West Point, Mr. Allan, who had remarried, continued in not providing
Poe with enough money. Poe decided to have himself kicked out of school. Cutting classes and
disregarding orders were his solutions. He was court-martialed for neglect of duties in January,
1831, and left West Point the following month (Asselineau 411).
"Poe was great in three different fields , and in each one he made a reputation that would
give any man a high place in literary history. Poe wrote great short stories, famous not only in his
own country, but all over the world (Robinson V)." "Hawthorne, Irving, Balzac, Bierce, Crane,
Hemingway and other writers have given us memorable short stories; but none has produced so
great a number of famous and unforgettable examples, so many tales that continue, despite
changing standards to be read and reprinted again and again throughout the world (Targ VII)."
"Poe was the father of the modern short story, and the modern detective story (Targ VII)." "With
the possible exception of Guy de Maupassant, no other writer is so universally known and
esteemed for so large of a corpus of excellent tales as in Edgar Allan Poe (Targ VII)."
In 1831, Poe succeeded in publishing a new edition of his poems entitled, Poems. Poe
was now in great difficulty. He went to New York, but could find no job there. Eventually he
took refuge with his aunt, Mrs. Clemm, in Baltimore. There he decided to seek employment and
make his living by writing. Failing to get attention with his poems, he decided to start writing short
stories. Poe competed in a contest for the best short story in 1831. The prize was offered by
Phil-Saturday Courier. Because he did not win the prize, Poe started on an ambitious project. He
decided to plan a series of tales told by members of a literary group. He found no publisher for
his stories, and entered the contest again in June of 1835. This time he sent one poem and