The life of a literary genius: Edgar Allan Poe

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Today we pay homage to one of the foremost figures in American literature—Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). Born in Boston to actor parents, orphaned at an early age and brought up by foster parents with whom he shared a love-hate relationship, Edgar tried his hand at various trades (including a stint in the army, which ended when he deliberately got himself a court-martial for indiscipline!) before becoming one of the very first authors to try to make a living by the pen.
Poe is hailed as the father of the modern detective story—the character of Chevalier Auguste Dupin (who first appeared in ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’) being the literary forefather of famous descendants like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and our very own Byomkesh Bakshi and Feluda. Poe is equally well-known for his tales of horror and the macabre where living people are entombed alive (‘The Fall of the House of Usher’) or a murderer’s guilt is revealed by the sound of still-beating heart of his dismembered victim (‘The Tell-tale Heart’). Edgar Allan Poe was also a literary theorist and poet to boot (‘The Raven’ possibly being his most famous poem) and his works are held in far greater value today than during his lifetime.

“The circumstances of Edgar Allan Poe’s death were mysterious, like that of a character in his books” Tweet this

He was found on the streets of Baltimore in a delirious state, wearing clothes not his own and died in a hospital without being able to reveal the source of his despair (All medical records, including his death certificate, have been lost). Thus ended the life of a literary genius, whose detractors tried to ruin his reputation during his lifetime (and succeeded) but whose works stood the test of time to resurrect the long deceased author.

Did you know? The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

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