Today is the anniversary of the death of Edgar Allan Poe in 1849. He was only 40 years old.
He was a remarkable innovator in literature. Some credit him with writing the first detective novel and his horror stories plumbed the depths of the human psyche 16 years before the birth of Sigmund Freud. He will forever be remembered for ghastly creations such as the strange raven with its repeated refrain of ‘Nevermore.’
He had a tragic life, prone to bouts of depression and a victim of alcoholism. He married his 13 year old cousin when he was 27 but she contracted tuberculosis at the age of 20 and died 5 years later.
Yet despite his trials and tribulations Poe was dedicated to his art and was one of the earliest writers to make a living by his pen.
He worked on and produced works of art which remain influential to this day.
His death was both tragic and macabre and could well have provided inspiration for one of his stories. He was found wandering the streets in a state of delirium and near collapse. Strangely, yet somehow in keeping with his art, he was wearing someone else’s clothes.
Even after his death he was haunted. One of his enemies wrote a salacious biography of him which, although refuted by those who know Poe, did lasting damage to Poe’s reputation.