Born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts, writer, poet, critic, and editor Edgar Allan Poe's tales of mystery and horror gave birth to the modern detective story and many of his works, including The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher became literary classics. The Raven which he published in 1845, is considered among the best-known poems in American literature.
Edgar Allan Poe's evocative short stories and poems captured the imagination and interest of readers around the world. His imaginative storytelling led to literary innovations, earning him the nickname Father of the Detective Story.
Poe never really knew his parents. His father left the family early in Poe's life, and his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was only three. He separated from his brother William and sister Rosalie. Poe went to live with John and Frances Valentine Allan, a successful tobacco merchant and his wife, in Richmond, Virginia. By the age of 13, Poe was a prolific poet, but his literary talents were discouraged by his headmaster and John Allan, who preferred that Poe follow him in the family business.
While in Boston, Poe published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827. He also joined the U.S. Army around this time. Two years later, Poe learned that Frances Allan was dying of tuberculosis, but by the time he returned to Richmond she had already passed away. While in Virginia, Poe and Allan briefly made peace with each other, and Allan helped Poe get an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Poe, who continued to struggle living in poverty, got a break when one of his short stories won a contest in the Baltimore Saturday Vister. He began to publish more short stories and in 1835 landed an editorial position with the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. During this time, Poe also began to devote his attention to his young cousin, Virginia, who became his literary inspiration, as well as his love interest. The couple married in 1836 when she was only 13 years old.
While he never had financial success in his lifetime, Poe has become one of America's most enduring writers. His works are as compelling today as they were more than a century ago. An innovative and imaginative thinker, Poe crafted stories and poems that still shock, surprise and move modern readers.