Today is the birthday of one of the most beloved and enigmatic writers of the 19th century: Edgar Allan Poe. Born on January 19, 1809, Poe is remembered almost two centuries after his death for his haunting poetry and prose. He invented modern detective fiction, was one of the earliest horror and science fiction writers, and proved to be a cunning hoaxer as well. To celebrate the birthday of America’s favorite dark romantic, we have created a timeline of his life.
The Edgar Allan Poe Timeline illustrates some of the major events in the short and tumultuous life of the writer, from his birth, the day he is adopted by Frances and John Allan, and his first published work (Tamerlane), to the first appearance in print of The Raven and the author’s puzzling death.
While plausibly not a saint, Edgar Allan Poe was nowhere near the decadent image most of us have of him today. His negative reputation comes courtesy of his literary rival, author Rufus Griswold. When Poe died in unexplained circumstances after being found delirious on the streets of Baltimore, Griswold wrote a libelous obituary of him, followed by a calumnious biography containing half-truths, falsehoods and forged evidence that depicted him as a deprived, drug-addled alcoholic. Although the book was denounced as deceitful, it was widely reprinted and it became popularly accepted, in part because it was the only full biography of Poe available and, to some extent, because readers liked the idea of an “evil” poet.
The Edgar Allan Poe chronology was created in PowerPoint using the Office Timeline plug-in. To edit the timeline quickly or create similar images for personal, academic or business use, we recommend the Plus version of the software.
Download the Edgar Allan Poe Timeline for PowerPoint here.