Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was a tortured literary genius and borderline alcoholic who mastered the genre of the Gothic horror story. Poe wrote one of the first "detective novels" in 1841, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which was inspired by the sensational stories of the metropolitan penny press. The real catalyst for Poe's fame, however, was "The Raven and other Poems"which he published in 1845.
Poe's tales were infused with the pain and anguish he endured throughout his life and his fascination with intense beauty, brutal violence, and death. He often experienced tormenting dreams, which he spun into enthralling stories. In particular, Poe's work reflected the romantic genre of the time and its fascination with matters of the occult and the afterlife. A man with a weak heart, the author died at the age of 40 after a drinking binge in Baltimore, Maryland.