Edgar Allan Poe: Background information when reading The Poe Shadow

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Poe Shadow

by Matthew Pearl

The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl X
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2006, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2007, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Edgar Allan Poe

This article relates to The Poe Shadow

Print Review

Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in 1809 to Elizabeth and David Poe, both actors. They died when he was three and he was taken in by John Allan, a tobacco merchant living in Virginia. He became estranged from his foster father in the mid to late 1820s and joined the US Army under the name Edgar Perry - he served for two years before being discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1829. During this time he published his first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems.

His foster-mother's deathbed wish was that he would reconcile with his foster-father, who arranged for him to attend the military academy at West Point, but while there he deliberately disobeyed orders and was dismissed - and was promptly disowned by his foster-father again.

Poe moved to Baltimore to live with his widowed aunt, Maria Clemm, writing fiction to support himself. In 1836 he married his first cousin, Virginia, who was just 13-years-old.

Over the next few years he established a reputation as a critic and a writer The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym was published and widely reviewed in 1838, and he became assistant editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in 1839, moving to Graham's Magazine the following year, and all the while continuing to publish large numbers of articles, stories and reviews.

In 1842 Virginia became ill with consumption (tuberculosis); Poe started to drink heavily and left his position at Graham's - eventually landing up as editor of the Broadway Journal in New York. The Raven was published in the Evening Mirror (New York) in 1845.

The Broadway Journal failed in 1846 and Poe and Virginia moved to a cottage close to Fordham University in The Bronx (it is said that the University's bell inspired him to write The Bells) where she died in 1847. Poe's behavior became increasingly erratic and on October 6th, 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore "in great distress, and... in need of immediate assistance," He died in hospital the following morning. A number of mysterious details surround his death which are explored in detail in The Poe Shadow, as are the various theories about what caused his death - which will never be known for sure.

Filed under Books and Authors

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Poe Shadow. It originally ran in June 2006 and has been updated for the July 2007 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: My Heart Underwater
    My Heart Underwater
    by Laurel Fantauzzo
    Corazon — Cory — Tagubio is a Filipina-American teenager living with her family in ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...
  • Book Jacket: The Orchard
    The Orchard
    by David Hopen
    The protagonist of David Hopen's first novel, The Orchard, is 17-year-old Aryeh Eden, a Brooklyn boy...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
    by Ursula Hegi

    Set on a German island in 1878, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.