On this day, 198 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe was born. Poe is often remembered for his macabre tales but there is much more to this tragic figure.

Poe was orphaned at a young age but was taken in by a foster family. As a young man he struggled with gambling and general financial difficulties that prevented him from finishing college. He was able to earn a living from his writing and married Virginia Clemm in 1836. He wrote The Raven in 1845 and it was an instant success. Sadly, Virginia died of tuberculosis two years later. Poe died in Baltimore in 1849, only 40 years old. His cause of death has never been discovered.

I have loved Poe since I was a teen. My best friend Julie gave me a collection of his stories and poems when we were in high school.

I love the stories and illustrator Harry Clarke captured the aura of the macabre that surrounds his work. He is also credited with creating the genre of detective fiction. I remember reading The Purloined Letter in high school English and I adore The Murders In the Rue Morgue-I think I watched the movie version with my dad before reading the story.

I have always enjoyed all of the old Vincent Price movies of his stories: LigeaThe Masque of Red Death, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Pit and the Pendulum. I know more were made but I don’t remember if I’ve seen them.

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