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Last Updated on January 9, 2023

Known for his tales and poems of mystery, melancholy, and the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe is celebrated as one of the most influential American authors. To this day, his works continue to capture the imagination of readers all over the world. His stories of mystery and horror shaped generations of stories in both the detective and horror genres. He was also one of the first people to make a living out of writing.

Early Years

 

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on the 19th of January, 1809 to actors David and Elizabeth Poe. He never knew his parents since he was orphaned at a very young age. His father left when he was still a baby, and his mother died from tuberculosis soon after. Edgar and his two other siblings, Henry and Rosalie, were taken in by different families.

Tobacco merchants John and Frances Valentine Allan raised him. He grew up in a nice home and was sent to good schools. At six years old, he moved to England to study, where he learned to speak Latin and French. He also studied math and history while he was overseas. He eventually returned to America to continue his studies.

Education

At a very young age, Edgar showed exceptional literary skills. However, his foster family discouraged him from pursuing this craft; John wanted the aspiring writer to follow in his footsteps and take over the family business. That didn’t stop Edgar from writing. While he was learning his foster father’s trade, he was also writing poems on the back of business papers.

This went on until he was in college. Edgar went to the University of Virginia in 1826 to study languages. Although he was a good student, his adoptive father wasn’t very supportive of his endeavors. Edgar didn’t have sufficient funds to get himself through college, so he sought opportunities elsewhere. He started gambling to cover his expenses, but ended up amassing much debt. A year later, he dropped out of college and decided to head back home. Around the same time, his fiancée Sarah Elmira Royster broke off their engagement without his knowledge and got engaged to someone else.

The Army

 

 A heartbroken Edgar Allan Poe decided to enlist in the US Army under a false name and age. As he was serving his country, he continued nurturing his love of language and published his very first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems. After two years in the army, his foster mother Frances became sick with tuberculosis. He made his way home to Richmond, Virginia—but by the time he got there, she was already dead.

Edgar and his father reconciled after his mother’s death. Shortly after, he made his way to West Point military academy, where he studied for only a year. He was eventually kicked out because he wasn’t performing his duties. Not too long after Edgar and John made peace, the two fought over his father’s failure to inform him of John’s new bride. John had severed ties with Edgar later.

His Writings

 

 After leaving the academy, Edgar Allan Poe became a struggling writer. He went around the country, always in search of the right opportunity. When John died in 1834, he left Edgar out of his will but bequeathed his fortunes to an illegitimate child, whom Edgar had never met. He continued living in poverty until one of his short stories was able to win a contest in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter.

From then onwards, he started publishing more short stories and even acquired an editorial position in the Southern Literary Messenger. In this time with the publication, he was a harsh critic, publishing savage reviews of other writers’ works. People started calling him the Tomahawk Man. Unfortunately, his cut-throat approach as well as his argumentative personality didn’t sit well with the publication, and he left in 1837. The struggling writer worked at a few other magazines before moving to New York City in 1844.

He published a story in the New York Sun about traveling across the Atlantic Ocean on a hot air balloon, which he eventually admitted was mere fantasy. Nevertheless, he attracted the attention of readers. However, it was “The Raven” which made him a literary sensation. Edgar Allan Poe’s writings might have impressed some readers in his day, but he struggled financially throughout his lifetime. He advocated for higher wages, as well as copyright laws.

Final Days

 

Like many of his writings, his death is a mystery. He supposedly hopped on the wrong train, reaching Baltimore instead of Philadelphia. No one knew the circumstances he encountered, but he was in great distress when people found him. In the hospital, he was unable to explain what happened to him. He died four days later on October 7, 1849.

Here are 101 powerful quotes from Edgar Allan Poe:

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Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The best things in life make you sweaty.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It is a happiness to wonder – it is a happiness to dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Convinced myself, I seek not to convince.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect on humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was  years ago.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The ninety and nine are with dreams, content, but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Art is to look at not to criticize.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Mysteries force a man to think.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“In other words, I believed, and still do believe, that truth, is frequently of its own essence, superficial, and that, in many cases, the depth lies more in the abysses where we seek her, than in the actual situations wherein she may be found.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour, I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long and final scream of despair.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“A million candles have burned themselves out. Still I read on.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Imperceptibly the love of these discords grew upon me as my love of music grew stronger.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries” – Edgar Allan Poe

“We had always dwelled together, beneath a tropical sun, in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass.” – Edgar Allan Poe

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“As a poet and as a mathematician, he would reason well; as a mere mathematician, he could not have reasoned at all.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Philosophers have often held dispute as to the seat of thought in man and brute. For that, the power of thought attends the latter, My friend, thy beau, hath made a settled matter, And in spite of dogmas current in all ages, One settled fact is better than ten sages.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words, with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvelous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Marking a book is literally an experience of your differences or agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“That single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing is indulged.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“No pictorial or sculptural combinations of points of human loveliness, do more than approach the living and breathing human beauty as it gladdens our daily path.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Ah, not in knowledge is happiness, but in the acquisition of knowledge! In forever knowing, we are forever blessed; but to know all, were the curse of a friend.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I smiled,—for what had I to fear?” – Edgar Allan Poe

“So resolute is the world to despise anything which carries with it an air of simplicity.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It is the object of our newspapers rather to create a sensation – to make a point – than to further the cause of truth.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“A judge at common law may be an ordinary man; a good judge of a carpet must be a genius.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“And rays of truth you cannot see are flashing thro’ eternity” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The depth lies in the valleys where we seek her, and not upon the mountain-tops where she is found.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action for no other reason than because he knows he should not?” – Edgar Allan Poe

“A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I was cautious in what I said before the young lady; for I could not be sure that she was sane; and, in fact, there was a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes that half led me to imagine she was not.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“All suffering originates from craving, from attachment, from desire.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“You will observe that the stories told are all about money-seekers, not about money-finders.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The Prefect, who had a fashion of calling everything “odd” – Edgar Allan Poe that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of “oddities.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“[A] fitful strain of melancholy which will ever be found inseperable from the perfection of the beautiful.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To him, who still would gaze upon the glory of the summer sun, there comes, when that sun will from him part, a sullen hopelessness of heart.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“We gave him a hearty welcome, for there was nearly half as much of the entertaining as of the contemptible about the man..” – Edgar Allan Poe

“In criticism, I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose, nothing shall turn me.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“And so being young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.” – Edgar Allan Poe

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“If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul; you haven’t experienced poetry.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“When, indeed, men speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a quality, as is supposed, but an effect – they refer, in short, just to that intense and pure elevation of soul – not of intellect, or of heart.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Yet we met; and fate bound us together at the altar, and I never spoke of passion nor thought of love. She, however, shunned society, and, attaching herself to me alone rendered me happy. It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To be thoroughly conversant with Man’s heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of Despair” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Actually, I do have doubts, all the time. Any thinking person does. There are so many sides to every question.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“And so, all the night-tide, I lay down the side, of my darling, my darling, my life, and my bride, in the sepulcher there by the sea, in her tomb by the surrounding sea.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The rain came down upon my head – Unshelter’d. And the wind rendered me mad and deaf and blind.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There seemed a deep sense of life and joy about all; and although no airs blew from out the Heavens, yet everything had motion through the gentle sweepings to and fro of innumerable butterflies, that might have been mistaken for tulips with wings.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I have not only labored solely for the benefit of others but have been forced to model my thoughts at the will of men whose imbecility was evident to all but themselves” – Edgar Allan Poe

“His heart is a suspended lute; As soon as you touch it, it resonates.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams” – Edgar Allan Poe

“When I was young and filled with folly, I fell in love with melancholy” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Yes I now feel that it was then on that evening of sweet dreams- that the very first dawn of human love burst upon the icy night of my spirit. Since that period I have never seen nor heard your name without a shiver half of delight half of anxiety.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“For passion must, with youth, expire.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly impossible; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions predominates even over my despair, and will reconcile me to the most hideous aspect of death.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“The most expuisite beauty has strangeness in its proportions.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“A mystery, and a dream, should my early life seem.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Stupidity is a talent for misconception.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“It was well said of a certain German book that it does not permit itself to be read.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquility in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“For eyes we have no models in the remotely antique.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I went as a passenger, having no other inducement than a kind of nervous restlessness which haunted me as a friend” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“There are few persons who have not, at some period of their lives, amused themselves in retracing the steps by which particular conclusions of their own minds have been attained.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“Years of love have been forgot, in the hatred of a minute.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” – Edgar Allan Poe