Edgar Allan Poe
(January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849)
Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective story. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genres of science fiction and weird fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
Born Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts, he was orphaned at a young age when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester, but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army, and later failing as a cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans although adding their surname to his name. His writing career began with an anonymously published collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827).
Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world. His work appears throughout popular culture in literature, music, radio, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.
Jules Verne said he was influenced by the stories of Poe. Hugo Gernsback cited him in the first issue of Amazing Stories in April 1926, noting the magazine would feature fiction like Poe’s: "By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Allan Poe type of story."
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