Edgar Allan Poe was a highly lauded poet who lived in the 1800's. He is recognized the most for his gothic-horror short stories and his critical reviews of famous authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne. Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19,1809. His parents were both professional actors, which Poe said contributed to his poetic prowess. Unfortunately, his mother died before he was three, which led to his father's abandonment of the family and death shortly after. A significant amount of his poetry reflects his lost mother and trying to recreate her identity. With both his parents deceased, Poe was taken in by John Allan, a proprietor and merchant from Richmond, VA. Poe took his middle name, Allan from John Allan. After Poe was raised by Allan, he went to the University of Virginia where he studied ancients languages. He eventually dropped out because of gambling problems. Poe, with no direct family and no caregiver to go back to, had no other choice than to join the army. Poe also dropped out of the army because of gambling/financial problems. .
After his failure in the army, Poe married his cousin and true love, Virginia Clemm. He published various articles and wrote for a few magazines while in marriage, but his real breakout came when "The Raven" was published in 1845. During this period, he wrote many of his famous works. His wife, Virginia Clemm, died two years later from a broken blood vessel complication. He grieved his wife's death, but he still kept writing. He married another woman he was seeing in 1848, Sarah Whitman. During this marriage, he wrote and published "A Dream Within a Dream". Poe died shortly after this novel on October 7, 1849, at the age of forty from an alcohol overdose. .
"A Dream Within a Dream" is one of Poe's many poems about death and memories. It magnifies the disorientation that one gets when watching important things in life slip away.