"I have great faith in fools - self-confidence my friends will call it."
Edgar Allan Poe
The American writer was born on this day in 1809.
Even non-readers know Poe, if only for his odd life story or because they had to read something like his poem “The Raven.”
In that poem, a young man mourns the death of his lover, Lenore. He is visited by a raven on a December night that speaks to him and leads him into madness.
In his real life, Poe was writing the poem while his own young wife, Virginia, was slowly dying of tuberculosis. She died in 1847.
“The Raven” appeared in journals throughout the country and it was such a rousing success that Wiley and Putnam published two of Poe’s books that year: a collection of prose called Tales and also The Raven and Other Poems (1845). It was his first book of poetry in 14 years.
His first published poems were an anonymous collection, Tamerlane and Other Poems, in 1827 which was credited only to “a Bostonian”.
Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.
Following the example of Dickens and other Europeans, he was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone. He was only mildly successful in that pursuit and he had a financially difficult life and career.