Skip to Content

Master of Mystery, Horror and the Macabre

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

“Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore…”
Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven


UB Libraries celebrate the birthday of famous 19th century American poet, writer and literary critic, Edgar Allan Poe. Best known for his stories of mystery, horror and the macabre, Poe’s works include “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Masque of the Red Death.”

In 1841 with the publication of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Poe also gained recognition as a writer of detective fiction and earned the moniker, “Father of the Detective Story.” Many authors, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, were influenced and inspired by Poe’s use of deductive reasoning, or as he called it “ratiocination.”

The 1845 publication of Poe’s poem “The Raven” garnered him great praise in the literary world and established Poe as one of the era’s most recognized authors. “The Raven,” which explores the themes of love, loss and grief, is arguably one of the best works of his career and remains an American classic in the 21st century.

Born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to travelling actors, Poe was an orphan by age three and sent to live with wealthy businessman John Allan and his wife in Richmond, Virginia. Though urged to follow in Allan’s footsteps, Poe doggedly pursued his passion and was determined to making his livelihood through writing.

Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849 at age forty. Though many have speculated as to how he died, the cause of Poe’s death remains a mystery.