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The Raven Returns

edgar allan poe bicentennial celebration

Intro | Poe & Boston: 1809-1849 | The Lyceum Fiasco | Lowell & Poe | They Love Poe | Poe & Boston: 2009


Poe & Boston: 1809-1849

January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe is born in Boston to itinerant actors Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe Jr.

“For my little son Edgar, who should ever love Boston, the place of his birth, and where his mother found her best and most sympathetic friends.” Inscription written by Elizabeth Poe on the back of a watercolor of Boston Harbor she left Edgar in her will. She died on December 8, 1811, in Richmond.

May-November, 1827: Poe moves to Boston, enlists in the army, and is stationed at Fort Independence. “By a Bostonian.”  -how Poe identified himself as the author of Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827)


Portrait of Poe as a Young Man                                            Eliza Poe                     

January-August, 1845: Poe publishes a series of articles arguing that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a plagiarist.

“Mr. Poe has that indescribable something which men have agreed to call genius.” James Russell Lowell, “Edgar Allan Poe,” Graham’s Magazine, February, 1845.

1842-1849: Poe assails the didactic impulse in contemporaneous writing that he associates with New England Transcendentalism:

“…while rhythm is an essential aid in the development of the poem’s highest idea—the idea of the Beautiful—the artificialities of this rhythm are an inseparable bar to the development of all points of thought or expression which have their basis in Truth. Poe, “Review of Twice-Told Tales,” 1842

“For it is not meters, but a meter-making argument, that makes a poem.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Poet," 1844

“It is the excess of the suggested meaning—it is the rendering this the upper instead of the under-current of the theme—which turns into prose (and that of the very flattest kind), the so-called poetry of the socalled transcendentalists. Poe, “The Philosophy of Composition,” 1846.

October 16, 1845: With the support of James Russell Lowell, Poe speaks at the Boston Lyceum.

October-November, 1845: Poe’s Lyceum lecture is negatively reviewed in Boston papers. Poe responds with a series of articles in The Broadway Journal.

November 1848: Poe attempts suicide in a Boston hotel.