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Timeline of Edgar Allan Poe

1809----> Born in Boston, January 19, as the second of three children of David Poe and his wife, Elizabeth Arnold, both actors. The father soon abandons the family.

1811----> Death of Poe's mother in Richmond, Virginia. The children are taken into diverse households, Edgar into the home of John Allan, a Richmond merchant. Not legally adopted, he is nevertheless renamed Edgar Allan.

1815-20----> Resident, with the Allans, first in Scotland, then in London.

1826----> Enters the University of Virginia (founded by Thomas Jefferson the year before), where he studies languages. Gambling debts compel him to leave, after Allan refuses to pay them.

1827----> Enlists in army in Boston, where his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, appears and is ignored.

1828-29----> Honorably discharged as sergeant major and lives in Baltimore, where Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems is published

1830-31----> Enters West Point in May 1830; does well in studies but is expelled in January 1831. Lives in Baltimore with his father's sister, Maria Clemm, and her daughter Virginia, then eight years old. Begins to write tales.

1832-35----> Tutors cousin Virginia Clemm, while continuing to write stories. Death of John Allan, who neglects to recognize Poe in his will. Poe writes book reviews for Southern Literary Messenger, and becomes editorial assistant on magazine. Moves to Richmond with Virginia and Mrs. Clemm and becomes editor of the journal.

1836----> May marriage to Virginia Clemm, who was fourteen; her mother stayed on as housekeeper. Busy with writing or revising reviews, poems, and stories for the Messenger.

1837-38----> Resigns from Messenger and moves himself and household to New York City, where he is unable to secure editorial work. Publishes “Ligeia” and, in July 1838, Pym. Moves household to Philadelphia

1839-40----> Works for Gentleman's Magazine, where he prints “William Wilson” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Publishes two volume Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in Philadelphia, late in 1839. Fired by his employer and fails to found his own magazine.

1841-42----> Is employed as an editor of Graham's Magazine, where he prints “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” In January 1842, Virginia Poe suffers a burst blood vessel while singing. She survives but is never the same.

1843-45----> Rise in Poe's popularity with the prize-winning “The Gold Bug.” Moves to New York City and helps edit the Evening Mirror, where “The Raven” is printed in January 1845 and causes a sensation. Tales published in July 1845, The Raven and Other Poems in November of the same year. Engages in literary quarrel, falsely accusing Longfellow of plagiarism. Virginia’s condition worsens. Becomes owner and editor of the Broadway Journal.

1846----> Abandons Broadway Journal because of depression and financial problems. Moves household to Fordham, New York.

1847----> Death of Virginia on January 30. Poe becomes very sick but is nursed by Mrs. Clemm and recovers.

1848----> Proposes marriage to poet Sarah Helen Whitman, who later breaks off the relationship. Publishes Eureka in June.

1849----> A year of rapid decline, marked by heavy drinking and paranoid delusions. Travels to Richmond, where he is engaged to Elmira Royster Shelton. Sails to Baltimore and then vanishes. Discovered delirious outside a polling booth on October 3, thus suggesting the subsequent legend that he was dragged from poll to poll as an alcoholic “repeater.” Dies on October 7, ostensibly of “congestion of the brain.”


Edgar Allan Poe 2008

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