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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
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.
Sometimes strange special effects
have been linked addiction to
Addiction was not uncommon in
the 1800’s, because of frequent
use of laudanum, an opium
based medicine, to treat
headaches and stomach pains.
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.
Poe's death, an
visitor referred
to as the "Poe
Toaster" has
paid homage to
Poe's grave
every year
since 1949
Known for:
Tales of
and terror
Introducing the
Just a Few Titles…
Short Stories:
The Tell-Tale
The Cask of
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
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
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
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
Edgar Allan Poe
His stories have:
 Settings that featuring
Dark, medieval castles
Decaying ancient estates
 Characters that are
Female—beautiful and dead (or dying)
 Plots that include
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.