Monday, June 22, 2009

The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe

A Little History

Edgar Allan Poe was born 200 years ago, in 1809, the second of three children and the son of impoverished actors. His father either died or ran off in 1810; if he abandoned his family, it is unknown what became of him. His mother died in 1811, possibly from tuberculosis. She was 24. The children were raised separately in foster homes - Edgar to a childless couple, John and Frances Allan. (Thus, his middle name.)

His older brother died, possibly of cholera or of tuberculosis and alcoholism. He was 24. He had a younger sister who was apparently stricken with meningitis and left mentally and/or physically debilitated. She later lived at a charitable institution where she died in 1874.

Poe married the daughter of his father's sister (his first cousin) when he was 27 and she was 13. She would die of tuberculosis at the age of 24. They had no children; it has been suggested that they never consummated the marriage.

Poe died in 1849 at the age of 40. The cause of death was unclear but, as noted by the ultimate authority known as Wikipedia, has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

People back then were not necessarily tougher than us. But they had tough lives.


1 comment:

spartan4011 said...

i belive poe was a great man and a even better writer