Edgar Allan Poe
Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827)
Poems by Edgar A Poe (1931)
The Conchologist’s First Book (1839 – textbook to which Poe gave name but did not write)
The Journal of Julius Rodman (1840 – incomplete)
Today Edgar Allan Poe is a celebrated pioneer of the mystery genre and leading figure in the American Romantic movement; however he spent most of his life facing poverty, debatable literary success and addiction.
Poe was born to actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and David Poe Jr. in 1809, but within two years his father had abandoned the family and his mother had died of tuberculosis. After being taken in by the wealthy Allan family (who eventually disowned him), Poe attempted an early literary career under the pseudonym Henri Le Rennet before joining the army to escape gambling debts.
His first work of poetry Tamerlane and Other Poems was published in 1827 with a print run of only 50 copies; it was attributed to merely “a Bostonian,” it was not until the publication of The Raven nearly 20 years later that Poe became a household name. Despite his limited success during his lifetime he was one of the first American authors to attempt to subsist on writing alone.
On the eve of his death in 1849, Poe was discovered delirious in the street wearing strange clothes, obituaries attributed his demise to “congestion of the brain” a euphemism for death by disreputable cause. Speculation has continued to this day including brain cancer, epilepsy, cholera, diabetes, syphilis, heart disease and rabies. All medical records have been lost.
For the past 50 years a secretive visitor has called on Poe’s grave in Baltimore on the anniversary of the author’s death. Dressed in black with a silver cane, the figure arrives in the early morning leaving three red roses and a bottle of cognac. The visitor has rarely been photographed and their identity never revealed.
Ten most expensive Edgar Allan Poe books ever sold on AbeBooks: