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Life of Edgar Allen Poe

            Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston. His mother was Elizabeth Arnold Poe, an actress who had also been a leading lady in society. His father was David Poe, Jr., an actor who pursued a less succuessful career ruined by his drinking problems. Around Edgar's second birthday, his father abandoned him. His mother took Edgar, his brother William, and his sister Rosalie to Richmond, Virginia in 1811. She died there in December. Edgar was forced from his siblings and was placed in the care of a childless couple, John and Frances Allan.
             John Allan was an English/Scottish merchant who pushed Edgar Allan Poe to get a valuable education. In 1815, John and Frances took their 'stepson' (Edgar was never legally adopted) to England on a long business trip. Edgar spent his early childhood in England at the boarding academies, including the Manor House School of Doctor Bransby at Stoke Newington. He was an excellent student, and John Allan praised him to his friends. It was also in England that Edgar Allan Poe became acquainted with the very popular Gothic literature. .
             The Allans and Edgar returned to Richmond in 1820. Edgar continued his education at private schools, studying Latin, verse, and oratory. He was also very athletic. He was an excellent swimmer and a fine marksman. However, he was not popular. His peers teased him about his parents (acting was a disreputable profession) and about the fact that he was unadopted. Jane Stith Stanard, a mother of one of Edgar's classmates, gave Edgar support and encouragement, but she died of a brain tumor when Edgar was fifteen. After her death, Edgar fell into a world of depression. During this time, he visited her grave often. During the same time, John Allan's firm suffered from financial companies, and it was beginning to break down. Once again, he turned to alcohol to help him cope with his problems.
             In 1825, John Allan had a small string of good luck.

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