Has two siblings; brother William and sister Rosalie. His parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Arnold Poe, were touring actors.
Studied in England during the years 1815-1820.
Poe didn't earn a cent from his most famous poem, "The Raven", having published it first in a newspaper for free and thereby losing any and all future copyright monies. The original title of "The Raven" was "To Lenore" but upon having dinner with Charles Dickens and learning of the great writer's recently deceased pet bird, which just happened to be a raven, Poe reworked the poem to include the black bird as a central figure. Poe wrote "The Raven" with the intent of creating what he called an "adult fairy tale" and when asked why he didn't start the poem with the traditional "Once upon a time" but used "Once upon a midnight dreary" Poe replied, "In my 'time' it's always 'midnight dreary.'" All of Poe's stories took place at night, or if a day scene was required, it was the bleakest, foulest day of the year.
Born Edgar Poe, raised in Richmond, Virginia, by the Allan family.
Virginia Clemm (b.1822) was his cousin/niece.
Pictured on a 3¢ US postage stamp in the Famous Americans/Poets series, issued 7 October 1949.
Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
Considered by many to have invented the American horror story, science fiction, and the detective story.
The Edgar Awards for mystery literature was named in honor of his writing.
Was a sergeant major at West Point.
Wrote the first modern detective story.
There is some mystery surrounding the actual conditions of his death. In October 1849, he was found lying in a gutter, drunk, barely conscious and wearing someone else's clothing. He died shortly thereafter of apparent alcohol poisoning. However, some historians believe that there may have been other reasons for his untimely demise. The most common theory is that he was a victim of a political kidnapping and made to vote in a local mayoral election while dressed up in different clothes and under the influence of massive amounts of alcohol, so that he would not remember anything. Others believe that he may have had a massive brain tumor that led to a stroke; this theory is aided somewhat by the fact that Poe had a rather large, oddly-shaped head.
Every year on the date of Poe's birthday, a mystery man leaves a bottle of cognac and roses on Poe's grave in Baltimore, Maryland.
The NFL franchise Baltimore Ravens are named so because of his famous poem, "The Raven". He, of course, was from Baltimore.
In the September 1996 edition of the "Maryland Medical Journal," Physician R. Michael Benitez -- who ran the coronary care unit at the Baltimore V.A. Medical Center and taught at the University of Maryland Medical Center -- published his conclusion that Poe died of rabies contracted via an animal bite, probably from a pet cat. Poe's symptoms and death indicate he suffered from rabies, a viral encephalitis that attacks the brain and central nervous system. Rabies -- which is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal to the open wound of a new host -- is characterized by wide fluctuations in pulse, perspiration, delirium, coma and confusion. A patient typically seems to recover, then suffers a relapse. The clinical course of rabies is four days, after which the patient dies without treatment. These were Poe's symptoms, and his case lasted four days before he died. According to Benitez, only twice in recorded history has anyone survived rabies, and "they weren't quite the same people they were before" as rabies causes irrevocable brain damage. Poe kept cats, and although there is no record of his ever having been bitten, Benitez noted that only 27 percent of recent rabies victims ever remembered the bite. The incubation period can last up to a year. In Poe's time, there was no treatment for rabies, which was invariably fatal. For Poe, it was almost a case of life (and death) imitating art, an end as inevitable and as gruesome as the sufferings of his tortured characters.
Poe met Charles Dickens during the Englishman's 1842 tour of America. On March 6, 1842, Poe and Dickens arranged to meet while he was in Philadelphia. Dickens had been greatly impressed by Poe's ability to guess the ending of his 1841 serialized novel "Barnaby Rudge". In the "Saturday Evening Post" edition of May 1841, Poe had reviewed the work, which was being published serially in a magazine a chapter at a time. At the meeting, Dickens agreed to consider writing for the magazine that Poe edited, "Graham's", and to try to find an English publisher for Poe's "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque". Nothing of substance came from either promise. Curiously, Dickens owned a pet raven named Grip, and he had introduced the loquacious raven into "Barnaby Rudge" as a character. In his May 1841 review, Poe commented on the use of the talking raven, saying the bird should have loomed larger in the plot. Literary experts surmise that the talking raven of "Barnaby Rudge" inspired Poe's most famous poem, "The Raven", published in 1845. After Grip died in 1841, Dickens had the bird mounted. It now resides at the Free Library on Logan Circle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Many scholars believe that Poe suffered from clinical depression.
Poe desperately wanted to become a Freemason, but the Masons refused to consider him for membership.
When Edgar was two and a half years old, he became-for all intents and purposes-orphaned, as his father had abandoned him and his mother died of tuberculosis. He was then taken in by John Allan and his wife, Frances Keeling nee Valentine (by whom a poem of the name "My Valentine" was later inspired). He later endured when life took his foster parents from him in an insult-to-injury and sort-of deja-vu way. As Elizabeth Poe died of tuberculosis in 1811, Frances Allan died of chronic illnesses in 1829; and as David Poe left Edgar and his two siblings with Elizabeth, John Allan technically abandoned him (and Frances) when he went on multiple sprees of infidelity throughout his marriage-and he estranged himself from him partly because of being held to account for his infidelities. He also left him out of his will, in which he also effectively disavowed two of his out-of-wedlock children (the only two of whom he even acknowledged, albe begrudgingly acknowledged, in any explicit detail)-noting only that he had told his second wife about his affair with their mother before they married in 1830, and that he essentially could not have been happier when the one child died and thus became one less heir. As for John Allan's second wife, Louisa Gabriella Patterson, she became a thorn in Edgar's side and contributed to the increasing impossibility of any reconciliation of Edgar and John, whom (like Edgar's biological father) died of alcoholism. During the last time that Edgar ever saw John, Louisa didn't even try to stop her husband from threatening her step-foster son or otherwise facilitate any olive-branch extension, not even withstanding that her husband had advanced edema that distress from his final meeting with his foster son must've only exacerbated.
Was expelled from West Point for "gross neglect of duty".
In Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), the teenage Holmes and Watson were fans of Poe's writing.
In the remake of "Ladykillers", the chief villain was a fan of Poe.
In a strange turn of events, his first post-mortem biography was written and told by his greatest literary enemy, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who often invented details of Poe's life in order to libel him (as for example his supposed alcoholism, since then Poe had congenital intolerance to it and he was unable to drink alcohol), caused among other reasons by their rivalry for the love of writer Frances Sargent Osgood. It turned into one of the most important cases of defamation in the entire 19th century.
In his last years he was member of the Sons of Temperance, a society found in 1842 and created against the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Member, Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia (established in 1825 by sixteen disgruntled members of the now-defunct Patrick Henry Society). Fellow members include President Woodrow Wilson, President James Madison (Honorary), The Marquis de Lafayette (Honorary), William Faulkner (Honorary) and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Honorary).
Had a cousin named Larkin Poe, who is the great-great-great grandfather of the musicians Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell. Their band 'Larkin Poe' was named after him.
Upon being admitted to the asylum where he would soon decease, it was reported that Edgar Allan Poe was largely incoherent and unaware of his surroundings.