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Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most well-known writers and poet of North America. He was born on the 19th of January in 1809. His parents are Eliza Poe and David Poe Jr., both were actors. Edgar and his brother were orphaned just before Edgar's third birthday, they was taken to the home of John and Fanny Allan. The couple was frequent theater goers, and Fanny was a member of the charitable women for Eliza's sickroom. Edgar also had a sister but she was adopted by another family. The family never legally adopted Edgar because Fanny wanted him to be her son while John did not. Edgar only saw his sister once in his youth after he joined his new family. Edgar came from a poverty stricken home to a new one that was very well off. When the Allan's adopted Edgar, John promised the Poe's the finest education for their son. He valued mathematics, reading, and writing because it was necessary for success in business.

The main reason Fanny became so fond of Edgar was because she was also orphaned as a child. Although she was only 26 when they got Edgar, she was still a great housewife, and a well organized mother but with a poor education.

Not much is known about Edgar's upbringing and his separation from his brother's and sister. Once he was five he was taught by Clotilda Fisher and after that to the Richmond schoolmaster who stated that Edgar was charming and he enjoyed the school.

When Edgar was six and a half, the Allans moved

to England. The five-year stay began with a trip around Scotland before they settled at 47 Southampton Row in Russel Square, London. John Allan set up a London House of Allan and Ellis,his tobacco business with Charles Ellis, it soon prospered after a modest start. The London tobacco market was low and John learned to deal with large shipments to make money. By 1817 the firm was good for more than $300,000 and they rented a house at 39 Southampton Row for another five years.

Edgar Allan, as he was known during his stay in England, received

his first formal education there. He was sent to board with the Misses Dubourg to a school on Sloane Street in Chelsea about three miles from the Allans' flat. John Allan, of course, paid for all the expenses. When Edgar was eight he boarded the school of the reverend John Bransby, at Stoke Newington, four miles from London. Edgar studied some latin and dancing and he was quite successful. John Allan was very pleased with Edgar, even though he seemed to have only remembered his schooldays in London as lonely and unhappy.

John Allan was very busy with his business and the family members felt neglected by him. Edgar was never formally adopted by the Allans and was, outside the family, hardly noticed. In letters received by the Allans, regards was sent to the whole family except to Edgar.

Fanny did not make Edgar's feelings of being ignored much better since she was often ill during their stay in England. She was very homesick and after only a year out of the country and she wanted to return to Richmond. In 1817 she got so bad she had to be sent to the countryside to recover. She was then nursed by her sister Nancy. Her recovery was very short. John Allan had a hard time believing in all her illnesses and blamed it on Fanny's imagination.

After three and a half years abroad, the London tobacco market collapsed. John Allan tried to sell his business but failed in finding a new owner. The market was in absolute disorder. John Allan tried to get some help from his partner Ellis but no money was sent. July 17, 1819, the London House of Allan and Ellis buckled since they could not keep up with their debts. July 21, 1820, the Allans arrived in New York and had to send for a doctor immediately due to Fanny's sickness.

When Edgar grew into his teens the Allans moved around a lot. They finally moved to a house in 1822 or 1823. Edgar continued his education during this time and when he was fourteen he attended the academy of Joseph H. Clarke, and after that he studied with Clarke's successor William Burke. Edgar's schooling in Richmond encouraged his gift for language and he did very well in Latin and French.

When Edgar returned from England he was very pale and weak but in Richmond he participated in athletics. He was a excellent runner, leaper, boxer and a superior swimmer. At the age of fifteen or sixteen he swam six miles in the James River under a hot June sun, against a strong tide.

At the age of fifteen he became a lieutenant in the Junior Morgan Riflemen. As second-in-command he was reviewed by the popular Marquis de Lafayette whom two weeks earlier had praised Edgar's grandfather, General David Poe, for his good work.

Edgar was, when he returned to Richmond, known as Edgar Poe rather than Edgar Allan, to emphasize that he was not formally adopted by the Allans.

Edgar was constantly in search for a mother. He was very fond of Fanny Allan but her regular sicknesses made her less than the perfect mother. At the age of fourteen he became infatuated with Mrs. Jane Stanard, the mother of one of his classmates. He came to her when he was unhappy at home and she somewhat resembled both Fanny Allan and Eliza Poe. Edgar had known Jane for about a year when she died at the age of 31. Edgar suffered from her death and his behavior changed. This brought about conflicts at home with John Allan who spoke of Edgar as; "Sulky & ill tempered to all the family". John Allan took his bad mood as a sign of ungratefulness for all that he had done for Edgar.

On the morning of March 26, 1825, William Galt, the owner of the Allans' house died. The Allans' inheritance from their Uncle Galt was estimated to three fourths of a million dollars, including the house and three land estates.

John Allan later bought a house called Moldavia. It was an impressive place that was more like an estate than a house, with its flower gardens, trees, and eight outbuildings. Nancy and Edgar got a room on the second floor. He was now sixteen and a half and was preparing for University. In February of 1826 Edgar enrolled in the University of Virginia. It had only been open for one year and it had only 144 students.

Edgar was described during his first university year as moody and gloomy. This might be due to his first known romantic attachment with a girl named Elmira Royster, whom he met in Richmond before he left for the university. Edgar wrote to her frequently, but her father opposed to the match due to the age, Edgar was about sixteen and a half and Elmira was fifteen. Her father often took the letters before she could read them.

The student life was chaotic and at times even dangerous.



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