Hello Friends! And welcome to our spooky special for Halloween! We hope you enjoyed our episode about the tragic yet beautiful poet, Edgar Allan Poe. (If you haven’t listened to it yet, you can do so here, on Stitcher!)
Edgar Poe was born on January 19, 1809. His parents were actors, and unfortunately died when he was very young, his mother from consumption, which is now known as tuberculosis. This disease was common at the time, and had no cure. Edgar Poe was taken in, though never legally adopted by the Allan family, thus the addition to his name. He attended the University of Virginia, but dropped out to join the army. In 1827, Tamerlane and Other Poems, Poe’s first collection, was published. He was a cadet at West Point for a short while, before starting to work for Literary Journals. Poe was an incredible critic, even accusing the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of plagiarism. In 1836, he married Virginia Clemm. This has caused much debate and eye-brow raising throughout the years. Virginia was Poe’s first cousin, and only 13. He was 26 at the time of their marriage. As with most of Poe’s life, his marriage has many theories, some theorise that it was a marriage of convenience, and was not consummated, others that they were truly and deeply in love. In 1845, possibly his most famous poem, ‘The Raven,’ was published, and earned a whopping $9, which was actually pretty successful for back then. Unfortunately, Poe’s life starts to decline, as Virginia died in 1847 of tuberculosis. Poe began to drink more, and the journals he worked for failed. In his last few years, Poe attempted to court a few more women, but nothing ever came of it.
Poe’s death was as tragic and strange as his life. On October 3rd, he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious, and was taken to the hospital. He was never coherent enough to explain the circumstances, why he was not wearing his own clothes, or why he kept saying “Reynolds.” On October 7th at 5 in the morning, Edgar Allan Poe died. Supposedly, his last words were “Lord help my poor soul.” His medical records and death certificate have since been lost. The newspapers printed that his death was caused by “congestion of the brain,” but that could mean many things. Again, there are many theories of what he could have died of, including cholera, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, even murder. However, the most popular theory is that of extreme alcoholism, as it was known that Poe started drinking an alarming amount after the death of Virginia.
On a lighter note, here are some fun facts about the strange and wonderful Edgar Allan Poe! He was very critical of other writers, and was a literary critic of his contemporaries, but strove for perfection in his own writing. He had a pet cat, a tortoiseshell named Caterina (very imaginative, I know). There is an….interesting movie called ‘Raven’ about a series of very Poe-esque murders, in which he is a suspect, and has a pet raccoon. Poe was friends for a while with Charles Dickens, who did have a pet raven named Grip who is thought to possibly be the inspiration for his poem ‘The Raven.’
The beloved poem (and our favourite) Annabel Lee, was the last poem Poe completed before his death, and it wasn’t published until shortly after. (If you listen to our episode, you can hear Abby read it, as a Halloween treat for you!)
Well, that’s all for now, folks! (Sidenote- If you love Edgar Allan Poe and other literary figures, check out Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner, a miniseries on Youtube. It is fantastic and hilarious, and just the thing for the season!) As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know! Drop us an email, or Facebook message! Comment, like, share, rate. We’re really friendly nerds, I promise. And we are always looking for new things to talk about, so let us know what you want to hear!!
One last thing….
Happy Halloween from Across the Pondcast!!