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Edgar Allan Poe
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"Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts in January 1809, the son of travelling actors. There is no record of his father after 1810 and his mother died in 1811. Edgar was taken into the household of a Virginian merchant, John Allan, whose name he adopted.
"Poe's relationship with his foster father was put under great strain when, in 1826, Allan refused to support him financially at Virginia University. Poe went to Boston where he published Tamerlane and other poems anonymously but it was not well received.
"In 1830 Poe was briefly reconciled with Allan and entered West Point living on a small allowance from Allan. The truce did not last and Poe got himself dishonourably discharged in 1831. He lived with his aunt, Mrs Clemms, in Baltimore where he began to publish stories in magazines.
"In 1836 he married his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia Clemms. Much of his early work went unnoticed and it was 1840 before Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque was published. His Tales and The Raven and Other Poems, published in 1845 did bring him some recognition but it was not enough to sustain his family financially. Mrs Clemms and Virginia nearly starved to death one winter.
"After his wife's death in 1847 Poe became increasingly unstable. He attempted suicide in 1848 and died in 1849, five days after being found in a delirious and semi-conscious condition in Baltimore."
Source: Penguin Web Site
(http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/495.html). Accessed 4 April 1997.
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The author portrait is from November 1848. (Source: Jeffrey Meyers. Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1992. Following page 142. PS 2631 M48 1992 ROBA.)
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