Halloween approaches. Time for pumpkin carving, costume making, scary movies, and more candy than you can ever eat in one night (though many try). In the literary world, there are many dark, spooky stories that will help add to the spirit of the day. In particular the works of Edgar Allan Poe, master of the macabre.
Edgar Poe was the 2nd son of two actors. At two years old, after the departure of his father and death of his mother, Poe became the foster-child of John Allan. Though Allan never adopted him, Poe chose to take Allan as his middle name. After these early tragedies life continued to be turbulent for Poe. He quarreled with his foster-father over money and his chosen vocation, and was eventually kicked out of the University of Virginia because of gambling debts. Later, he was court martialed and kick out of West Point. His love life was also difficult, his first love married another, and his second love and wife, Virginia Clem, died after a long illness. Fear of poverty and the loss of his wife lead Poe to drink excessively, which some argue ultimately led to his death.
Poe’s diverse body of work includes poetry, criticism, short stories, dark love stories, and the invention of the detective novel. Many people are familiar with The Raven, which has made it’s way into popular culture through television shows like The Simpsons and Gilmore Girls, and The Tell-Tale Heart, the story of a man haunted by the beating heart of his murder victim. Other important achievements include The Murders in the Rue Morgue (the first detective novel), the development of the short story genre, and considerable contribution to science fiction.
Come check out the Halloween Book Display in the library. In addition to some great works by Poe, we have detective novels, thrillers, horror stories, vampire tales, and spooky short stories. Or if you would like to check out some more Halloween tales check out last year’s post The Origins of Halloween: Terror on Display at the Library.