The Portable Edgar Allan Poe
Edited with an Introduction by J . GERALD KENNEDY
T H E P O RTA B L E E D G A R A L L A N P O E edgar allan poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809, the son of itinerant actors. Orphaned in 1811, he became the ward of John and Frances Allan of Richmond, accompanying them to England in 1815 and then returning in 1820 to Richmond, where he completed his early schooling. In 1826 he attended the University of Virginia, but gambling debts forced his withdrawal, and after a clash with his foster father, Poe left Richmond for Boston. There in 1827 he published his ﬁrst book of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, and enlisted in the U.S. Army as “Edgar A. Perry.” After tours of duty in South Carolina and Virginia, he resigned as sergeant-major, and between two later books of poetry—Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829) and Poems (1831)—he brieﬂy attended the U.S. Military Academy. Court-martialed and expelled, he took refuge in Baltimore with his aunt, Maria Clemm, and there began to compose fantastic tales for newspapers and magazines; in 1835 he obtained a position in Richmond at the Southern Literary Messenger. Perhaps already secretly wedded to his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, he married her publicly in 1836. At the Messenger Poe gained notoriety by writing savage reviews, but he also raised the journal’s literary quality and enhanced both its circulation and reputation. In 1837, however, economic hard times and alcoholic lapses cost Poe his job; he moved to New York, where he completed a novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, published in 1838. By then, Poe had relocated to Philadelphia, where he wrote “Ligeia” as well as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “William Wilson.” During successive editorial stints at Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine, Poe developed plans to establish a high-quality monthly periodical. He also published his ﬁrst book, a...