Edgar Allan Poe Biography and Best Books

Edgar Allan Poe Biography and Best Books

Edgar Allan Poe

When we sail in horror or science fiction booksFew remember the fact that there was once an author who dared to cross certain borders and bet on a unique genre in a time of great literary transformation. Despite an infamous life, American Edgar Allan Poe continues to be a reference of sinister letters and the short story as well as a model of all those writers who once dared to live exclusively from fiction. Let's navigate the Edgar Allan Poe biography and best books in order to know the secrets of this dark wizard.

Edgar Allan Poe Biography

Edgar Allan Poe Biography and Best Books

Edgar Allan Poe engraving. By Edouard Manet.

Born in Boston on January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was baptized after a character who appears in William Shakespeare's King Lear. After the flight from his father's family home when Poe was only one year old and the death of his mother from tuberculosis a year later, Edgar walked the world carrying a photo of his parents as the only tangible memory of his origin. While his sister Rosalie was taken in by her grandparents, Poe was adopted by the marriage of Frances and John Allan, from whom he received education in the United Kingdom before returning to Richmond (Virginia) in 1820.

Already in his teens, Poe demonstrated his literary skills writing a poem to the mother of a classmate named "To Helen", considered his first great love. During this stage, that dark child was developing an insecure and hermetic personality who found in literature or his journalistic ambitions the way to obtain power over the rest of the people from whom he was distancing himself. Already in his university days, that character ended up defining a man who believed himself to have superior knowledge despite something more basic. An ambition that would be diminished when his adoptive father could not pay the debts of the young Poe and he ended up abandoning his studies to enlist as a soldier in Boston. During his military service, he wrote two books of poems, followed by a third, paid for by his colleagues, which was published in New York, where Poe fled his military post to build a career as a writer.

In fact, Poe became the first writer who set out to live exclusively from fiction, a complicated objective in a decade of 1830 plagued by an economic crisis that affected the literary sector. After win an award for his short story Manuscript written in a bottlePoe moved to Baltimore, where he married his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was only thirteen years old. Disinherited from the fortune of an adoptive father whose relationship would mark the inferiority complex that Poe tried to compensate with his literary aspirations, he began to write in a Richmond newspaper whose circulation increased due to the author's fame, his reviews and his Gothic stories, genre then unknown in the West. However, already at that time his problems with alcohol were notorious.

During the following years, Edgar Allan Poe linked periods of greater and lesser acceptance: from the rejection of a New York publisher to his short story anthology Tales of the Folio Club considering it a non-commercial format at that time, up to months going hungry in a pension in Pennsylvania or the development of the police narrative in Graham's Magazine, which allowed the family to live one of its best economic times.

However, Virginia's death from tuberculosis in 1847 plunged Poe into a depression drowned in alcohol and laudanum that would end his life on October 3, 1849, the date on which the author He was found in a state of delirium on the streets of Baltimore few hours before his death.

Best Edgar Allan Poe Books

Before continuing, it should be remembered that almost all of Poe's work is based on stories, stories that were novel at that time and included in different anthologies during the following years. In this way, we review the best works of the author through his stories and his only novel as such.

The Arthur Gordon Pym Narrative

The Arthur Gordon Pym Narrative

Edgar Allan Poe's only novel It was published in installments in 1938, resulting in one of the author's most enigmatic works. A plot that takes us to all the oceans in which Arthur Gordon Pym plunges through the whaler Grampus. A succession of mutinies and shipwrecks that finally lead the protagonist to search for answers, tired of his existence, in the remote and lonely lands of Antarctica. Pure inspiration for disciples of the author like Lovecraft, the novel continues to be one of Poe's most characteristic narratives.

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The black cat

Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cat

Published in 1843 in an issue of the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, The black cat is possibly Poe's most famous tale and faithful catalyst of that sinister and dark universe. The story takes us to the home of a young couple who adopt a cat, an animal that the husband kills during a state of intoxication. The appearance of a second cat will diminish the family harmony, leading the narrative towards an outcome that marks the personality of this story that reflects part of the situation in which Poe lived and feelings such as anger, evil or anger.

The Gold Bug

Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Beetle

Published in 1843 in the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper,  The Gold Bug tells the meeting of a friend of the lonely William Legrand with his servant Jupiter on an island near Charleston where they unearth an encrypted scroll that reveals the location of a pirate's treasure.

The Crow

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Become an icon of the Poe universe and main work that earned him international recognition, No products found. is a poem published in 1845 in the New York Evening Mirror. Endowed with a sinister atmosphere and a stylized language, the work narrates the visit of a crow to the window of a grieving lover, a sign of the protagonist's descent into hell itself.

Complete stories

Edgar Allan Poe Complete Stories

If you are looking for an anthology that brings together part of Poe's work, the edition of his Complete stories published by Penguin gathers up 72 works of the author, including the prefaces to his Tales of the Folio Club and Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque collections, as well as seven unpublished stories in Spanish.

What are your favorite works of Poe?

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