Edgar Allen Poe - Critic, Romanticist and Story Teller


Edgar Allen Poe was an American author, poet and critic of the 19th century. He was a master of the short story and became famous for his tales of crime, mystery and terror. Poe was also one of the first to write science fiction stories, a genre which was becoming more and more popular at that time.

Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. When he was young his father left the family and shortly afterward his mother died. Young Poe was then brought up by a Virginian family. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester and then left. Afterwards Poe enlisted in the army and wanted to become an officer at West Point academy, but failed. It was at this time that the young man started writing poems. His poem collection “The Raven and Other Poems” made him popular at home.

Later on Poe wrote in literary journals and magazines. He became a well-known critic. In Baltimore he married his cousin Virginia Clemm, who was 13 at the time. Edgar Allen Poe himself died in 1949, at the age of 40. Many have speculated about the causes– alcohol problems, drugs, a bad heart or other diseases may have led to his early death.

Edgar Allen Poe’s works influenced American and English literature, as well as writers around the world. Although many thought of him as a literary critic he did write fiction. He was considered a romanticist. In many of his works Poe deals with death and what happens to the human body afterwards. His tales explore the human mind and feelings. His characters are shadowy figures who wander around in cemeteries or castles.


The short story “The Murders of Rue Morgue” is widelyregarded as the first modern detective story. Poe only completed one novelThe Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”, a story about a stowaway on a whaling ship.


Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe




  • academy = institution where young soldiers are trained to become officers
  • afterward = after this event
  • although = while
  • attend = go to
  • bringup = raise, educate
  • cause = reason
  • cemetery = place where dead people are buried
  • century = a hundred years
  • considered = thought to be
  • critic = someone whose job it is to write good or bad things about new books, films, plays etc...
  • disease = illness
  • drug = illegal substance that some people take to feel happy or excited
  • enlist = to join the army, navy etc...
  • explore = to travel around an area to find out more about it
  • fail = not succeed
  • famous = popular
  • fiction = books and stories about people and things that are not real
  • genre = type of literature
  • influence = to have an effect on
  • literary journal = magazine about new books
  • master = someone who is very good at something
  • mind = what people think
  • mystery = something that people cannot explain
  • novel = a longer story with in which characters and events are not real
  • poem = literature that is written in short lines , using words that rhyme
  • poet = a person who writes poems
  • popular = liked by many people
  • romanticist = way of writing in the late 18 th and early 19 th century, in which your feelings, beauty and what you imagine are more important than anything else
  • shadowy = dark, mysterious
  • speculate = wonder, guess, think about
  • stowaway = someone who hides in a ship so that he does not have to pay
  • tale = story
  • widely regarded = many people think that