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1809-1849 His Family and Tragic Life Born in Boston The son of traveling actors Tragic and unhappy life Mother died of tuberculosis and his father deserted him at the age of two. Fostered by a wealthy merchants, Mr. and Mrs. John Allan. Constant disagreements with his step-father developed in his teenage years. Studied briefly at the University of Virginia Drinking and gambling problems kept him from continuing at UVA. Moved back to Baltimore to stay with his widowed Aunt Maria Clemm, her daughter, Virginia, his brother Henry, and his invalid grandmother. Poe’s brother dies of tuberculosis. Lived in poverty stricken conditions. Last 12 years of life worked as a journalist, editor, and creative writer. Father of Detective Story He accepted an offer as editor of Graham’s Magazine, where he published his groundbreaking story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” It was considered groundbreaking because it was the first detective story. Addiction??? Sometimes strange special effects have been linked addiction to opium. Addiction was not uncommon in the 1800’s, because of frequent use of laudanum, an opium based medicine, to treat headaches and stomach pains. Addiction??? Died in Baltimore of unknown causes Much of what we “know” today about Poe’ death came from a biography published shortly after his death by another writer who hated Poe. Addiction??? Adding mystery surrounding Poe's death, an unknown visitor referred to as the "Poe Toaster" has paid homage to Poe's grave every year since 1949 Known for: Tales of mystery and terror stories Introducing the modern detective Just a Few Titles… Short Stories: The Tell-Tale Heart The Cask of Amontillado The Fall of the House of Usher Supernatural horrors and an atmosphere of unknown terror pervades the action. High emotion, sentimentalism, but also pronounced anger, surprise, and especially terror . Use of words indicating fear, mystery, etc.: apparition, devil, ghost, haunted, terror, fright, fainting. Gothic Literature Gothic Literature Romanticism vs. Gothic Romanticism developed as a reaction against the rationalism of the Age of Reason. The romantics freed the imagination from the hold of reason, so they could follow their imagination wherever it might lead. For some Romantics, when they looked at the individual, they saw hope (think “A Psalm of Life”). Romantic writers celebrated the beauties of nature. For some Romantic writers, the imagination led to the threshold of the unknown—the shadowy region where the fantastic, the demonic and the insane reside. When the Gothic's saw the individual, they saw the potential of evil. Gothic writers were peering into the darkness at the supernatural. Gothic Movement in America By the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathanial Hawthorne, and to a lesser extent Washington Irving and Herman Melville were using the Gothic elements in their writing. Edgar Allan Poe was the master of the Gothic form in the United States. Edgar Allan Poe His stories have: Settings that featuring Dark, medieval castles Decaying ancient estates Characters that are Male—insane Female—beautiful and dead (or dying) Plots that include Murder Live burials Physical and mental torture Retribution from beyond the grave For Poe, it was only in these extreme situations that people revealed their true nature.