The 10 Most Interesting Facts About Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe is considered the father of detective fiction and a master of macabre. But how much do you really know about Poe? Here are 10 facts that are sure to test your knowledge. Don’t forget to watch the brief Poe bio at the bottom, courtesy of!

1. Poe enlisted in the US Army on May 27, 1827, and then got himself discharged on April 15, 1829 so he could enter the Military Academy at West Point. He entered West Point on July 1, 1830.

2. He got himself kicked out of West Point on purpose because he no longer had the desire or finances to continue. But to be discharged, he needed the permission of his father, Allan – who never responded to Poe’s request. So Poe racked up 44 offenses and 106 demerits. West Point kicked him out.

3. The same year Poe enlisted, he also self-published his first bookTamarlane and Other Poems. The author’s name on the book was simply “a Bostonian.” Only 50 copies were printed (though some say it was fewer) and it never received any critical attention.

4.  Poe is believed to be the first well-known American author to try to make a living at just writing. The lack of international copyright laws meant that publishers were constantly stealing each other’s books, instead of paying for new ones. It didn’t help that when publishers did pay, they paid very little.

5. He married his 13-year old cousin, Virginia Clemm, in 1835. She died on January 30, 1847 of tuberculosis.

6. Despite the popular belief to the contrary, Poe never abused opium. He only claimed to have used it once, during a (failed) suicide attempt.

7. Poe suffered from depression, and some say he might’ve had biplar disorder.

8. He loved cats and had his own cat named Catterina. She died two weeks after Poe passed away.

9. Poe had a second cousin, twice removed, also named Edgar Allan Poe, who became the lawyer for another famed author - F. Scott Fitzgerald.

10. From the 1930s until 2009, an unidentified man called the “Poe Toaster visited Poe’s grave in the early morning hours of January 19, Poe’s birthday. The Poe Toaster would raise a glass of cognac at in front of the grave in honor of Poe’s memory. Then he’d leave the unfinished bottle of cognac, 3 roses and a note at the grave. While there’s plenty of speculation of the Toaster’s identity, no one knows for sure who the mysterious man is.

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