Edgar Allan Poe – A Fascinating, Talented Writer

Edgar Allan Poe was a fascinating, superbly talented writer who lived a troubled, unfortunate life. He was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. His father, an actor, abandoned his family when Poe was one year old, and his mother, an actress, died of tuberculosis when he was two. Brought up by foster parents who never adopted him, Poe did not fit in well at home. A gloomy person, Poe also did not fit in well at school, in the military, or within society at large. But he sure could write well. 

At the age of eighteen he was a published author and by twenty-two he had decided he would make his living as a writer. Unfortunately, Poe needed to write constantly to avoid extreme poverty, and he did not achieve fame until after his ill-fated death at the age of forty. He died soon after being discovered unconscious on a street in Baltimore; he was traveling to Philadelphia to get married. 

Edgar Allan Poe began his literary career as a poet. Many regard his poem “The Raven” as the most famous in all of American literature. Poe believed beauty of sound was the essential element in good poetry. He also relied upon beauty of sound while composing his prose and, as a highly skilled literary critic, he used sound as a criterion to judge the work of others.

Poe believed all literary works should be short. Applying this standard to himself, he became a master of the short poem and the short story. He is universally credited with inventing the detective story and perfecting tales of horror. Moreover, he was an outstanding literary critic. He is the only American writer who could rightfully claim to be a master of three separate literary forms—the short story, the short poem, and literary criticism.

Although Poe’s talents were vast, rarely do people credit him with possessing a sense of humor, though he actually did possess a devilish wit. Along with many other works, the detective story “Thou Art the Man” displays it very well. We included it as the second classic story in our Adapted Classics collection, published in 2014. To date it has been our best seller. 

“Thou Art the Man” will lead our upcoming volume of three illustrated Poe tales. We will publish the volume mid-2019 with the title “Poe Illustrated”. The second story in the volume will be “Hop-Frog”, a story we adapted, illustrated, and published in 2016. The last will be “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether”. That’s a work in progress. We haven’t finished it yet, but it’s coming along nicely.

More than a century and a half after his death, Edgar Allan Poe is still bigly popular with readers the world over. And Marc Johnson-Pencook’s amazing pen & ink interpretations of Poe’s stories do bigly justice to them. We think readers, middle-school and older, will like “Poe Illustrated”, and will like it…well…bigly!  

Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe

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