Read by Christopher Ragland (Unabridged: 1hr 15mins)
Edgar Poe was born in Boston Massachusetts on 19th January 1809. His father abandoned his family the following year and within a year his mother had died leaving him an orphan.
He was taken in by the Allan family but never formally adopted although he now referred to himself as Edgar Allan Poe. His father alternatively spoiled or chastised him and tension was frequent over gambling debts and monies for his education. His university years to study ancient and modern languages was cut short by lack of money and he enlisted as a private in the army claiming he was 22, it is more probable he was 18. After 2 years he obtained a discharge in order to take up an appointment at the military academy, West Point, where he failed to become an officer.
Poe had released his 1st poetry volume in 1827 and after his 3rd turned to prose and placing short stories in several magazines and journals. At age 26 he obtained a licence to marry his cousin. She was a mere 13 but they stayed together until her death from tuberculosis 11 years after.
In January 1845 ‘The Raven’ was published and became an instant classic. Thereafter followed the prose works for which he is now so rightly famed as a master of the mysterious and the macabre.
Edgar Allan Poe died at the tragically early age of 40 on 7th October 1849 in Baltimore, Maryland. Newspapers at the time reported Poe's death as ‘congestion of the brain’ or ‘cerebral inflammation’, common euphemisms for death from disreputable causes such as alcoholism but the actual cause of death remains a mystery.
Poe is also one of a number of authors credited with inventing the detective genre with his Parisian sleuth C. Auguste Dupin. He featured in three stories including the legendary ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ and by sheer deduction, logic and a touch of Gallic arrogance revealed what was hidden to the rest of us.