Reading Comprehension - Edgar Allan Poe Biography

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text and do the comprehension questions

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe portrait BEdgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Poe is famous for his tales of mystery and the macabre. He was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre

Early life

Both Poe’s father and mother were professional actors. They died before the poet was three years old. John and Frances Allan raised him as a foster child in Richmond, Virginia. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time his publishing career began, although humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement. Later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point and declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, Poe parted ways with John Allan.

A new life and marriage

After his early attempts at poetry, Poe had turned his attention to prose. He spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin.

Success and death

In January 1845 Poe published his poem, "The Raven", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. For years, he had been planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.


Edgar Allan Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields. He is considered as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. He is also credited as the “architect” of the modern short story. As a critic he was one of the first writers to put emphasis on the effect of style and structure. He was thus a forerunner to the "art for art's sake" movement. Poe is particularly respected in France, in part due to early translations by Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire's translations became definitive renditions of Poe's work throughout Europe.

Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Poe finished his studies at university.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. His first work was published anonymously.
    a. True
    b. False
  3. His wife died after two years of marriage.
    a. True
    b. False
  4. His literary work is considered to be part of the "art for art's sake" movement.
    a. True
    b. False

Related books

Books by Edgar Allan Poe:

Related material