Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents who were itinerant actors. His father David Poe Jr. died probably in 1810 and his mother Elizabeth Hopkins Poe in 1811, leaving three children, of whom William died young and Rosalie ultimately lost her mind. Edgar was taken into the home of a Richmond merchant John Allan and brought up partly in England (1815-20), where he attended Manor School at Stoke Newington. Never legally adopted, Poe took Allan's name for his middle name. Poe suffered from bouts of depression and madness, and he attempted suicide in 1848. In September the following year he disappeared for three days after a drink at a birthday party and on his way to visit his new fiancée in Richmond. He turned up in delirious condition in Baltimore gutter and died on October 7, 1849.
THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (DOWNLOAD)
This is the first of three Poe's stories featuring his famous detective, C. Auguste Dupin. The setting is Paris, and the story goes on mainly at night and in Dupin's apartments. This leaves the reader with a sense of darkness and a little claustrophobia, adding to Poe's great style. Dupin is able to solve the murders of two women by just visiting the crime scene once and thinking a lot. The kind of solution given to the murders may seem a little simple, but we have to remember that this may be considered one of the first "detective stories" of all times. Conan Doyle was obviously inspired in some parts of Dupin's character and reasoning to create Sherlock Holmes. And the noir atmosphere is, as always, great. This is, appearently, not a story to be seen as "horror", but proves that Poe is one of the great authors of all time.
THE OVAL PORTRAIT (DOWNLOAD)
This work is an allegory which reveals how the public sphere operates on representation of the individual which takes autonomy away from the individual and leads to negation or death. In particular, it shows how women in Poe's time were barred from the public sphere altogether and were thus denied power and identity. Poe wanted to do more than entertain people; he wanted to influence how people thought, or how they perceived the world. Poe was mental subterranean, and wanted to reach the unconscious mind, through the doorway of fear.