Israfel - The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe -
Israfet The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe Ey Hervey Allen In Two Volumes Volume I New York George EL Doran Company 1927 Copyright, 1926, by George EL Doran Company Second Edition THIB PLIMPTON PRBgfl NORWOOD PRINTB0 IN THSJ UWTITBD HTATEB OV A M li it 1 A. Edgar Allan Poe as a Young Man From a daguerreotype probably taken in Baltimore in the early Courtesy of the A dryland Historical Society For Mary Lucy Allen - . - s.. SsCa. - t 4t. . sSirjusr ifS- sX Poes Own Comment on His Childhood From a poem clipped from the album of a Mr. BALDERSTONE of Baltimore, by . L. DIDIER. The date and title are in DIDIERS hand, and the date is in correct. POE was at Fortress Monroe on March 17, 1829. The poem probably belongs to sometime later in 1829 before FOB entered West Point PREFACE IT IS not the intention in this preface to attempt to pre sent, in condensed form, a critical estimate of the great figure whose semblance, at least, walks through the pages of this biography. A long, laborious, and conscientious consideration of the immense amount of material concerning Poe, has convinced the author that any brief, comfortably clever, and convenient presentation of his character, either from a literary, psychological, or romantic standpoint is bound to be misleading. So diverse, so conflicting, and so astoundingly confusing was the life experience of Edgar Allan Poe that, in comparison, the lives of many other men of letters are a simple tale. The method followed here has been to disregard, for the most part, the findings of all other biographers who have worked in the field, and to depend totally upon source mate rial drawn from contemporary documents, letters, and the evidence given by those whosaw, talked with, and, to some extent, knew the man. No matter how great the authority, or scholarship of those who lived after Poe died, it is felt that the evidence of those who affirm, I saw him, talked with him, on such and such an occasion he did, or said, or appeared thus and thus is of more value than theories, be they ever so erudite and clever This biography, then, is the story of Edgar Allan Poe, and the strange forgotten America in which he lived, and perished, reconstructed from the direct evidence latent in the docu ments, letters, books, and illustrations of the period from about 1800 to 1850. Neither expense, effort, nor meticulous care have been spared in assembling this data, in which proc ess, the courtesy, advice, and enthusiasm of those who have vii vffi PREFACE been drawn upon for aid, or for source material in their right or custody, have been truly encouraging and have, indeed, made this work possible during the past four years. There are a great many Lives of Poe. This differs from all others in that, for the first time, it tells the complete story of the man, from birth to death, and makes reasonably clear the mystery which has hitherto surrounded the first half of his life and the formative processes of youth. For mer biographers because of the inaccessibility of material, withheld, for sufficient personal reasons, have been largely compelled to project Poe as a somewhat enigmatical torso, with the base draped in convenient and impressive folds. It is purely an accidental circumstance, but nevertheless an important one, that the passing of time has brought about the release of sources, hitherto inaccessible, which now make it possible to tell amply the strange, and startling story of Poes youth. There is no longer any necessity for talking about the Poe mystery, indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that there are few other literary figures whose personal life is so fully documented. There exists in the files of the firm of Ellis Allan, the business house in which Poes guardian was a partner, a surprisingly complete record of the daily life of the family, and community in which Poe lived during his youth...
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