It’s Gothic horror month.
*ahem* Let me try that again…
IT’S GOTHIC HORROR MONTH!!!!!!
The best type of horror. Dark and creepy and fabulous. Filled with sadness and longing, leaving disturbing images and emotions in your head.
When I heard this month’s theme, I knew I wanted to post about Edgar Allan Poe…of course my dear friend Amy had the same idea. Why wouldn’t she? I mean EDGAR ALLAN POE! Go read her post here. I’ll wait…
Edgar Allan Poe, writer
The child of two actors, Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts in January 1809. His father abandoned him and his mother in 1810, then his mother died in 1811. John and Frances Allan took him in, but never officially adopted him, and moved little Edgar to Richmond, Virginia. In his teen years, Edgar had a little trouble with finances, a bit of gambling, and he and John Allan had a falling out…and reunited for a while, but ultimately parted ways for good.
Edgar attended the University of Virginia for one year, but no money means no school, so he enlisted in the army in 1827. In the same year, he published a collections of poems anonymously…TAMERLANE AND OTHER POEMS, setting him on his fated path. Well, Edgar failed as an officer’s cadet at West Point and declared his dream of being a writer. The first well-known American writer to try and make a living with words alone.
He died at the age of forty in October of 1849. The cause of death is unknown… and has been attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, and tuberculosis.
WHAT? Seriously…no one knows? Creepy.
Anyway, fast forward to my fifth grade year and a reading assignment…THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM.
11 year-old me: Hello, dark and creepy story. I like you.
Later we had to do an art project based on one of the stories we had read and, you guessed it…I drew a man collapsed on a stone floor near a large dark hole with a sliver blade swinging over his head. Yup. Dude. I got an ‘A’. And no, I don’t have the drawing. That was a long time ago. *cries*
Soon after, my dad bought me a leather bound book of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems. The pages are edged in gold! OMG IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND I FELT SO SPECIAL! AND LOOK AT ALL THE CREEPY STORIES! This was the best gift ever and is still the most beautiful book I own. My precious…*pets the book*
To my delight Poe’s words appeared through out my years of school, THE TELL TALE HEART and THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO. And memorizing and reciting his poem THE RAVEN was a highlight of my learning years.
When it came time in college to choose between American and English Lit… Duh.
His words are hauntingly gorgeous, sad and full of love. His scary images will lurk in my brain forever. Isn’t it wonderful?
Many people have fallen in love with his words and his life, which explains why pieces of him linger in our world, why we can visit where he once roamed, and fall in love just a bit more with this master of horror.
The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland
Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…where Poe lived from 1843-1844
Edgar Allan Poe cottage in the Bronx…his final home
Edgar Allan Poe grave in Westminster Hall in Baltimore, Maryland
Where ever you are now, Mr. Poe, I hope you smile when someone reads your stories and poems and a shiver of fear traces their spine. I hope the darkness that followed you in life has gone.
People will read your words forevermore.