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Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 was an American poet short-story writer and literary critic Poes stormy personal life and his haunting poems and stories combined to make him one of the most famous figures in American literary history Poes influence on literature has been immense His short story The Murders in the Rue Morgue 1841 is considered the first modern detective story His reviews of American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne mark him as the first significant theorist of the modern short story His poetry and his stories of terror are among the most influential in modern literature Writers as diverse as the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky have used Poes stories to launch their own fictional experiments Poe celebrated pure forms of beauty and opposed the didactic a tendency to instruct or moralize in poetry These attitudes laid a foundation for later literary movements notably symbolismPoe worked as an editor and contributor to magazines in several cities including Richmond Virginia New York City and Philadelphia He unsuccessfully tried to found and edit his own magazine which would have granted him financial security and artistic control in what he considered a hostile literary marketplace During his lifetime Poe made many enemies through his challenge to moralistic limits on literature his confrontation with the New England literary establishment and his biting critical style Some readers too easily identified Poe with the mentally disturbed narrators of his tales a belief reinforced by Rufus Griswold Poes literary executor Griswold wrote a malicious obituary 1849 and memoir 1850 of Poe that combined half-truths and outright falsehoods about Poes personal habits and conduct Griswold portrayed Poe as envious conceited arrogant and bad-tempered Griswolds portrait severely damaged Poes reputation and delayed a serious consideration of the writers place in American literature But Poes later rediscovery by the French poets Charles Baudelaire Stephane Mallarme and Paul Valery helped restore his reputationPoe was born in Boston the son of traveling actors
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