Poe: A Life Cut Short

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jan 20, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
Gothic, mysterious, theatrical, fatally flawed, and dazzling, the life of Edgar Allan Poe, one of America’s greatest and most versatile writers, is the ideal subject for Peter Ackroyd. Poe wrote lyrical poetry and macabre psychological melodramas; invented the first fictional detective; and produced pioneering works of science fiction and fantasy. His innovative style, images, and themes had a tremendous impact on European romanticism, symbolism, and surrealism, and continue to influence writers today.
In this essential addition to his canon of acclaimed biographies, Peter Ackroyd explores Poe’s literary accomplishments and legacy against the background of his erratic, dramatic, and sometimes sordid life. Ackroyd chronicles Poe’s difficult childhood, his bumpy academic and military careers, and his complex relationships with women, including his marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin. He describes Poe’s much-written-about problems with gambling and alcohol with sympathy and insight, showing their connections to Poe’s childhood and the trials, as well as the triumphs, of his adult life. Ackroyd’s thoughtful, perceptive examinations of some of Poe’s most famous works shed new light on these classics and on the troubled and brilliant genius who created them.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

Perhaps because I already knew a good deal about Poe's life, I found Ackroyd's sympathetic portrait a little too adroit and somewhat unsatisfying. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bsiemens - LibraryThing

It is difficult to separate my thoughts about the man, Edgar Allan Poe, from his biography, by Peter Ackroyd. Poe was certainly a tragic figure. It appears that he, and others close to him, took poetic licence in describing a life. His biographer renders the life through the subterfuge. Read full review

Contents

The Women
167
The Last Year
181
Poes Principal Publications 793
193
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

PETER ACKROYD is the biographer of William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More, and the author of the bestselling London: The Biography. The subject of his previous Brief Life was Isaac Newton. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award (jointly) and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and is the holder of a CBE for services to literature. He is the author of Thames: The Biography. His novels include The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (winner of the Somerset Maugham Award), Hawksmoor (Guardian Fiction Prize), Chatterton (short-listed for the Booker Prize) and most recently The Fall of Troy. He lives in London.

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