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Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe (Library of Congress)

Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe (Library of Congress)

It’s odd how the work of some writers is made more interesting by knowing something of their personal life and others less so. To me, Poe is one of the former.

An American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, part of the American Romantic Movement, Poe is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. Poe led a very interesting, although short, life.

His father David Poe, a lawyer turned actor, and his mother Elizabeth Arnold Poe, a second-generation actress, both died in 1811, leaving Edgar, then age two, his older brother Henry and younger sister Rosalie orphans in the care of John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia.

Photo of painting of Edgar Allan Poe by Mrs. Norman Burwell, c. 1903.  (Library of Congress)

Photo of painting of Edgar Allan Poe by Mrs. Norman Burwell, c. 1903. (Library of Congress)

Rufus Wilmot Griswold made sure that for at least a couple decades after his death, Poe was regarded as a madman. Matthew Pearl has put together a review of Poe’s obituaries.

A bibliography of Poe’s work can be found here.

The Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia has a wealth of material on the man, his life and his work.

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