A Poe of a Good Time

I just finished reading a great collection of stories in an anthology put together by the Mystery Writers of America called On a Raven’s Wing. Each of the 20 stories are written in the spirit and form of Edgar Allan Poe, commemorating the 200th anniversary of his birth, but are modern in setting and content (Amazon Review). Contributing authors include Mary Higgins Clark, Thomas H. Cook, and Don Winslow, amongst others (Amazon Review).

I learned quite a few interesting things about the life and writings of Poe through this anthology. Though you may just think of Poe as the author of “The Raven“, he has had a much more extensive influence on literature and culture. Here are some facts about Poe that may be new to you:

  • He was considered part of the American Romantic Movement (Wikipedia article)
  • He was considered by many to have invented the American horror story, science fiction, and the detective story (Edgar Allan Poe Trivia)
  • Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story (Wikipedia article)
  • Poe didn’t earn a cent from his most famous poem, “The Raven”, having published it first in a newspaper for free and thereby losing any and all future copyright monies (Edgar Allan Poe Trivia)
  • He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone – which of course meant many financial hardships (Wikipedia article)
  • There is some mystery surrounding the actual conditions of his death. In October 1849, at age 40, he was found lying in a gutter, drunk, barely conscious and wearing someone else’s clothing; his death has been attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, and tuberculosis  (Edgar Allan Poe TriviaWikipedia article).

If at any time you have the chance to pick up this enjoyable collection of stories, I would highly recommend it! Find it at your local library.

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