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Edgar Allan Poe
Boston/Mass. 1809 - Baltimore/Md. 7.10.1849

The house of Edgar Allen Poe

"When I first became acquainted with Poe he was living in a suburban district of Philadelphia called Spring Garden. In this humble domicile I can say that I spent some of the pleasantest hours of my life - certainly some of the most intellectual."

So recalled Irish author Mayne Reid, a close friend of Edgar Allan Poe, the great American writer. Poe lived in Philadelphia for six years from 1838-1844, and this period was his most prolific. He was an editor and critic for two major magazines Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine and Graham's, and he published about 50 works (among them the classics "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Pit and the Pendulum", and "The Masque of the Red Death"). Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law Maria rented several homes in Philadelphia, but only the last house has survived. That Spring Garden home (where the author lived in 1843-44) is today preserved by the National Park Service as a memorial to one of our most influential and fascinating American authors.


an introduction:
An Educators Guide to Edgar Allan Poe

to Complete Works:

• 1826 - Attends University of Virginia
• 1827 - Enlists in US Army
Tamerlane and Other Poems
• 1829 - Leaves Army
Al Araff, Tamerlane, Minor Poems
• 1830 - Enters West Point
• 1831 - Leaves West Point and moves to Baltimore
• 1832 -
• 1833 -
"MS. Found in a Bottle"
• 1835 - Joins Southern Literary Messenger
"Berinice", "Morella", "Hans Pfaal"
• 1836 - Marries Virginia Clemm
• 1838 - Moves to Philadelphia
• 1839 - Joins Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
• 1840 - Leaves Burton's magazine
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
• 1841 - Joins Graham's Magazine
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue"
• 1842 - Leaves Graham's Magazine
"The Masque of the Red Death", The Pit and the Pendulum"
• 1843 - Moves to 7th and Spring Garden streets
"The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Black Cat", "The Gold Bug"
• 1844 - Moves to New York City
"The Balloon Hoax", "The Oblong Box", "The Premature Burial"
• 1845 - Becomes owner of The Broadway Journal
"The Raven"
• 1846 - The Broadway Journal fails
"The Philosophy of Composition", "The Cask of Amontillado"
• 1847 - Virginia Dies
• 1848 -
• 1849 - Edgar Allan Poe dies
"Annabel Lee", "The Bells"
Bericht von Dietrich Feldhausen:

Einflüsse auf Edgar Allan Poe:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Dessen Poem "The rhyme of the ancient mariner" war Vorbild für Poes einzigen Roman "The narrative of Gordon Pym", ja, für all das aufreißende Entsetzen der Moderne.

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Poe was born to itinerant actors in Boston in 1809. His mother Elizabeth Arnold Poe died when Edgar was two, by which time his father, David Poe, had disappeared. He was raised as a foster child by Frances Allan and her husband John Allan, a tobacco exporter of Richmond. Poe spent his youth between the ages of six and eleven with the Allans in England where he attended boarding school. Returning to Richmond, Poe later enrolled for a year at the University of Virginia. His tenure was marked by distinction in Latin and French and ended with the withdrawal of Allan's support due to Poe's gambling debts.

At eighteen, Poe set off for Boston where he published his first volume of poems. He subsequently enlisted in the army for two years. Following a brief reconciliation with Allan after his foster mother died, he obtained an appointment to West Point. But Allan soon remarried; Poe lost all hopes of Allan's support and he left West Point because the service was an inappropriate career for a young man of little means. Although Poe romanticized his forbears and pretended to have set off for Greece and St. Petersburg in some idealized aristocratic pursuit of freedom during his years in the army, it is clear that he faced, from age twenty two, a life of struggle and poverty.

In 1831, Poe published a new collection of poems. He appears to have spent most of the next four years in Baltimore living with his aunt, Maria Clemm, and her daughter,Virginia. These were difficult times letters to Allan indicate Poe feared imprisonment for debt and mentioned that he was perishing for want of aid. During this period, Poe was writing tales and selling them to journals in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Poe as he appeared in Graham's Magazine in 1845.

When he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond in 1835, Poe found his vocation: editor, critic and contributor to a series of journals, each of which flourished under his guidance. Poe married Virginia in 1836. With Maria Clemm they formed a household which, in 1837, moved from Richmond to New York and thence to Philadelphia where Poe enjoyed his most productive and most contented years. In 1844, they returned to New York where Poe briefly owned his own journal. It was in New York that Virginia died of tuberculosis in 1847.

Following Virginia's death, Poe rapidly disintegrated, returning to Richmond in 1849 still preoccupied with the goal of his lifetime: owning his own journal. Setting off for New York shortly thereafter to visit Mrs. Clemm, his hopes still high for the future, Poe traveled no farther than Baltimore. There he died in delirium of "acute congestion of the brain" and was buried near his grandfather in the Presbyterian cemetery.

Exactly how long Poe lived in the small brick house now connected to 530 North Seventh St. is unknown. Apparently, he moved into this house sometime between the fall of 1842 and June of 1843 and left in April 1844. Like all of Poe's homes, this one was rented. It may or may not have been furnished when Poe; his wife, Virginia; his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm; and their cat, Catterina, moved in. Whatever furniture they used or purchased has disappeared without a trace.

The importance of this house lies in its location and its connection to Poe. During the entire six years (1838-1844) that Poe lived in Philadelphia, he attained his greatest successes as an editor and critic, and he published some of his most famous tales, including, "The Gold Bug," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Of his several Philadelphia homes, only this one survives. It serves as a tangible link with Poe and his days of greatness in Philadelphia. For this reason, it is fitting that Congress chose this site as our nation's memorial to Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Poe has cast a long shadow: he has probably had a greater influence than any other American writer. Although Poe's tales and poems range from masterful to ludicrous, Poe exerted his most significant influence as a man who understood the temper of his times, and foreshadowed so much of the future of literature. His wide-ranging tales and his broad criticism sought a method for American literature where none had prevailed. Poe deliberately sought great variety in his tales. A review of his more than seventy pieces of fiction testifies not merely to his range, but also to the significant popular genres he created or made his own which today form the staples of American fiction.

Poe's greatest influence comes about in the murder mystery. He can be said to have invented it when he published "The Murders in the Rue Morgue''. Although murders in fiction existed before Poe, his preoccupation with the ingenious solution of the crime established in his tales of ratiocination (the process of exact thinking) changed the emphasis from the acts to getting the facts. Poe's cerebral and eccentric detective Dupin ("the ingenious are always fanciful and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic") who also appeared in "The Mystery of Marie Roget" and "'The Purloined Letter" is the identifiable ancestor of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason and all those other heroes whose minds are "resolvent and creative".

One popular genre which can be traced back to Poe, science fiction, was seen more as a hoax by Poe's contemporaries. Orson Welles' radio broadcast of a Martian landing is a later example of the American hoax or tallstory tradition. In "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" in which Poe attempted an ingenious simulation of a balloon flight to the moon or in "A Descent into the Maelstrom,' Poe's imaginative science and pseudo-science made for compelling pieces of fiction which led to future amplification in the work of such writers as Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke.

Another popular form which Poe created, was the treasure-mystery combination with builtin clues, which Robert Louis Stevenson later capitalized on. This type of story has been required adolescent reading for decades, but was poorly developed until the "The Gold Bug was published.

Poe is justifiably famous for his tales of terror, his "arabesques" as he called them, in contrast with his "grotesques" or humorous satires on Gothic works. From "Morella", the first of his treatments of the death and terrifying rebirth of a beautiful woman which was to find its most compelling expression in "The Fall of the House of Usher", Poe uses his awesome imaginative power. In such tales as "The Black Cat", "The Imp of the Perverse" and "The Pit and the Pendulum", Poe developed his ability to convey imagined horror by making it immediately physical.

Because of the power of Poe's narrative voice, many a tale is indelible. Poe's imaginative sociology in "The Man of the Crowd" will tell you more about loneliness in the crowd than David Riesman did. The psychological analysis in "William Wilson" is an excellent and frightening exploration of split personality two generations before Freud.

One would think that Poe would be best remembered for his powerful tales, but much of his international reputation rests on his critical acumen which pointed in equally new directions. Poe was among the first to discern the tendency of the age toward "the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused" In a famous critical piece, Poe recognized Hawthorne as one of our "few men of indisputable genius;" he went on to formulate his famous conception of the short story, which must be designed for "a single effect" and every word of which must be made to count.

Poe applied his test of condensation to poetry. He had read and absorbed Coleridge, and he responded to the aesthetics of the European romantics. When Poe embodied romantic tendencies, abridged them into rules with his assured spareness and so decreed that a poem must be short as well as extraordinarily crafted, he foreshadowed the direction of symbolist and modern poetry. In his essay, "The Philosophy of Composition," Poe proceeded to deliver a detailed account of every step in the process of designing "The Raven," ostensibly to suit popular and critical taste at once. Poe himself spoke of this essay as being his "best specimen of analysis." The essay epitomized Poe's greatest critical contribution, his insistence upon the application of a rigorous method in all forms of thought."

Poe's approach to literature, his famous method which emphasized strict artistic control rather than the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, earned him the homage of the French symbolists such as Baudelaire who spent fourteen years translating his tales. A phrase in Marginalia," "my heart laid bare" becomes the title of Baudelaire's journal, while another phrase "the orange ray of the spectrum and the buzz of a gnat...affect me with nearly similar sensations" was reflected in Baudelaire's epoch making sonnet "Correspondances ."

Poe's method leads to the symbolist poetry of Mallarme and to Rimbaud and the dreaminspired surrealists Poe's brooding heroes and symbolic houses lead to the decadent heroes, new Roderick Ushers with their concern for the artifical detail of their shut-in paradise, reflected earlier in such Poe tales as "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Philosophy of Furniture".

Poe is returned to America through French symbolism, and so made digestible to such important American poets as T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens. In opposition to the romantic stress on the expression of personality, Poe insisted on the importance not of the artist, but of the created work of art. He stands as one of the few great innovators in American literature who took his place in international culture as an original creative force.


It was many and many a year ago,
......In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
......By the name of Annabel Lee;—
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
......Than to love and be loved by me.

She was a child and I was a child,
......In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
......I and mv Annabel Lee—
With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven
......Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
......In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
......Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
......And bote her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
......In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
......Went envying her and me:—
Yes! that was me reason (as all men know,
......In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling
......And killling my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
......Of those who were older than we—
......Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
......Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
......Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:—

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
......Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
......Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
......In her sepulchre there by the sea—
......In her tomb by the side of the sea.