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20. Edgar Allan Poe

Henry Claridge

Subject Literature » American Literature

Place United States of America » American South

People Poe, Edgar Allan

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631224044.2004.00021.x


Whether Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49) is a Southern writer or a writer who merely happened to reside in the South is a question frequently addressed but rarely answered. To begin with, it is worth reminding ourselves of the extent of Poe's Southern upbringing. Edgar Poe was born in Boston (on January 19, 1809), was soon after taken by his parents, both itinerant actors, to Baltimore, and on the death of his parents (his father deserted his wife and children in July 1811 and died in December of the year, and his mother died in the same month), was entrusted to the care of John and Francis Allan. Allan, who had been born in Scotland, was a partner in a tobacco exporting and general merchant business in Richmond, Virginia and it was to Richmond that he and his wife took Poe (now Edgar Allan, his foster-father expressing his parental responsibilities through Poe's new middle name, though Allan never adopted Poe legally) in early 1812. Poe received some private tuition in Richmond before the Allans removed to England for some five years. The family returned to Richmond in August 1820. Poe remained in the Allan household until March 1827, interrupted by a year and a half of uncompleted studies at the University of Virginia. After a quarrel with his foster-father in March 1827 he left home and returned to Boston. But Poe was back in Richmond by the summer of 1835, there to take on an assistant ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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