Study Guide

Edgar Allan Poe West Point

West Point

In 1827, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name "Edgar A. Perry." He did well as a soldier, rising to the rank of sergeant major. He also continued to write. A book of his poetry was published anonymously (the author being listed only as "A Bostonian"). In April 1829, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A few months later, he published his second book of poetry, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems.

Poe soon realized that West Point wasn't for him. He decided to get himself kicked out of school, which he successfully accomplished by refusing to attend chapel or classes. He was court-martialed and dismissed. "The army does not suit a poor man — so I left W. Point abruptly," he later wrote, "and threw myself upon literature as a resource. I became first known to the literary world thus." John Allan did not respond. And when he died on 27 March 1834, Allan omitted his adopted son from his will entirely.