“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia
Next week the Dover Public Library is hosting a series of events inspired by the master of horror and the inventor of the detective story, American author Edgar Allan Poe.
I’ve loved Edgar Allan Poe since I was about 11. His stories were dark and weird and twisted, and I loved them. I was obsessed with reading as much Poe as I could get my hands on. Somewhere between “The Gold Bug” and “Three Sundays in a Week,” I finally burnt myself out on Poe and moved on to Shakespeare for a while. What can I say? I was a weird kid.
Years later, I had the opportunity to take a class on Poe in college. Just Poe. There was a room full of people just like me: Edgar Allan Poe Fanatics. None of us was geekier than the professor, who owned and displayed an Edgar Allan Poe action figure. (Yes, they exist) This class rekindled my love of Poe and gave me a greater understanding of the man behind the stories. Get me talking, and I’ll geek out all week about Edgar Allan Poe and what you might not realize about him.
Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston. His parents were actors, and his father left when he was a year old. His mother died the year after.
The “Allan” is not his middle name. Poe was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan in 1811. Poe and John never got along. Mrs. Allan died in 1829.
Poe deliberately got himself kicked out of West Point. (John Allan didn’t like that.)
At 26 years old, Poe won a contest for “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” an adventure story on the high seas.
Poe married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia. They had no children, and she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.
He loved puzzles. If you like Sherlock Holmes, you have Poe to thank. He invented the modern detective story when he wrote “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Poe wrote 3 stories featuring his detective. My personal favorite is “The Purloined Letter.”
Poe was afraid of being buried alive.
Poe did not make a good living as a writer. This is an understatement. He made a lot of people angry with his critical essays and was fired on more than one occasion.
They don’t know how Poe died. Theories include rabies, a drugging related to an election-day scam, and drug overdose. What we do know is that Poe died on October 7, 1849, in a hospital in Baltimore.
“The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether” inspired the 2014 film Stonhearst Asylum starring Kate Beckinsale.
Oh, I guess you got me talking…
I hope you visit the library next week for our Poe programs, which include a Tell-Tale Tale on Sunday at 6:00 PM, a Poe Movie Night on Monday, and a book discussion on Tuesday at the Carriage House. Call the library at 330-343-6123 for more info!
Teen Librarian & Poe Geek