Photo: Associated Press
The American author Edgar Allan Poe was born 200 years ago this Monday, January 19th. You can get a sneak preview of our extensive biography of Poe with the article "Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe." Calling Poe a "doyen of the macabre," the article sheds light on the events of his short life, which was plagued by "poverty, illness and addiction."
Last year, FindingDulcinea also published an "On This Day" article about a strange event in Poe's life.
On October 3, 1849, Poe was found "drunk and delirious," either in a
ditch or in a tavern in Baltimore (sources vary). He died several days
later. According to the article, "Although the official cause of death given by the Baltimore Commissioner of Health, Dr. J.F.C. Handel, was “congestion of the brain,”
there are several theories surrounding Poe’s death, the most popular of
which include "the alcohol theory," disease and other medical problems,
and the cooping theory." The article links to other Web sources that speculate further.
A findingDulcinea news article on Poe's death discusses a man known as the "Poe Toaster"
who visits Poe's grave in Baltimore every year on the writer's
birthday, leaving behind a half-filled bottle of cognac and three red
For the bicentennial, The New York Times created a slideshow of images of Poe and scans of some of his material, including handwritten manuscripts and first editions.
Project Gutenberg, the open source e-text database, has numerous Poe works available, including poems and ghost stories.