Edgar Allan Poe’s Life and How It Influenced His Writing Career

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 729
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School


Thesis: Edgar Allan Poe’s writing career was largely influenced by events that happened around him.


  1. Edgar Poe’s background information and his new family.
  2. Poe’s education history.
  3. The end of his education and the start of his writing career.
  4. The international copyright infringement saga and how it impacted Poe.
  5. The Panic of 1837 and the effects it had on Poe’s writing career.
  6. Historical events that happened during Poe’s life and how they influenced his tales.


The great writer Edgar Allan Poe is well known for his literary works that were particularly tales of mystery and full of fiction in the 1830s and 1840s. He was given birth on January 19, 1801, in Massachusetts, U.S. (Cestre et al.). He was born to actors David and Elizabeth Poe as the second child, after which David abandoned the family in 1810 (Cestre et al.). This devastated the family, and unfortunately, Elizabeth passed in the following year from pulmonary tuberculosis (Cestre et al.). John and Frances of Richmond, Virginia, took care of David onwards. He grew up under a strict foster father who disciplined him thoroughly.

Edgar went to different schools in multiple locations he lived in. He attended a linguistic school for a brief period in Irvine (Cestre et al.). In 1817, he went to a boarding school in Chelsea when he rejoined his family in the summer of 1817 (Cestre et al.). Thereafter he schooled at Reverend John Bransby’s Manor House School (Cestre et al.). In 1826, he proceeded to the University of Virginia to study prehistoric and contemporary languages (Cestre et al.). However, he dropped out of University in the same year due to his adverse betting habits.

Edgar started his writing career after dropping out of University. He produced his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, in 1827 (Cestre et al.). Edgar worked in a private army in 1827 before being promoted to an artificer and worked till 1831, within which, in 1829, he wrote his anthology, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (Cestre et al.). He went on to release the third volume of poems, titled Poems (Cestre et al.). Edgar Poe passed on in 1849 under unclear circumstances (Zakarin). He was among the first American writers to be recognized by the international community for his great writings.

Edgar started his writing career in 1832 with works such as Politian and M.S. Found in a Bottle. He also wrote stories in different publications and newspapers. As well was an assistant editor of Southern Literary Messenger (Cestre et al.). During this time, cases of international copyright infringement of British authors’ work by American authors were rampant (Cestre et al.). This would be devastating to Edgar as he had chosen writing as the only income source. This major disaster hampered his earnings, and he would earn just a handful; he struggled to sustain himself. However, this disaster made him write more excellent articles to stay afloat (Cestre et al.). Most of his great articles were written during this time.

The Panic of 1837 is one of the major historical events in the 19th century. America was faced with a pernicious financial crisis due to a steep decline in cotton prices and hazardous lending by American banks (Cestre et al.). It hurt multiple industries including the writing industry. Poe, during this time, hoped to publish his book Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. However, he was unsuccessful due to the panic effects (Cestre et al.). This pushed him to move to Philadelphia from New York, where he became prolific for several years. The panic contributed to his prominent works because he moved to Philadelphia.

Edgar’s horror, mystery tales, and science fiction stories might have been influenced by life events that were happening during the time of publication shortly before. Poe’s first horror story, “Berenice,” might have been inspired by an event around 1835 in Baltimore in which thieves were caught stealing the teeth of corpses for dentures from graves (Semtner). Moreover, “The Pit and the Pendulum” horror story catapulted Poe to international recognition. It was published in 1842, and it was linked to the events of the Inquisition established by Pope Gregory IX in 1232 (Semtner). It is evident that most of his tales were influenced by events that surrounded his life and even some that happened before he was born but were still eminent during his time.

Works Cited

Cestre, Charles, Mabott, Thomas Ollive and Barzun, Jacques. “Edgar Allan Poe”. Encyclopedia Britannica, Web.

Semtner, Christopher. “12 True Stories behind Edgar Allan Poe’s Terror Tales”. Biography, 2020, Web.

Zakarin, Jordan. “Why Edgar Alan Poe’s Death Remains a Mystery”. Biography, 2020, Web.