As one of the world’s most popular storytellers, Edgar Allen Poe had more than just a flair for the dramatic. His name is instantly recognizable, as is his work, but the stories that surround this author are about as strange as some of his stories. What is unique about Poe, however, is that his dark, mysterious attitude was almost completely made up. His rival, Rev. Rufus Griswold, doctored many of Poe’s letters after his death in revenge of stealing the woman he loved.
When looking at Poe, it can be hard to distinguish the interesting facts from the interesting fiction that was created. Here are some of the facts to consider today.
1. Poe Had an Affair With a Married Woman
It was said that Poe could have had virtually any woman he wanted. The ladies would surround him during his reading sessions and literally swoon at his feet when he’d read a poem at a party. Poe was instead interesting in a woman named Frances Osgood – a married woman, in fact. To try to win Poe’s heart, one evening during a poetry reading, a woman outed his affair in an attempt to win him over to her. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
2. He Really Loved a Good Feline
Poe might be famous about his tales of a murdered black cat, but in real life he was an avid cat lover. His cat was named Caterina and it was said that she would go into a deep depression every time that Poe was away on business. So close was Caterina’s connection with Poe that when he passed away, her depression became so great that she died two weeks later of a broken kitty heart.
3. Would You Soar, Nevermore?
The Raven was by far the biggest hit that Poe ever had. It turned him into an overnight superstar. People would chant “nevermore” whenever they saw Poe. It was said that kids would follow him as he’d walk down the street, flapping their arms like the raven. Newspapers printed numerous parodies of the story just to sell more papers.
4. He Was Dead Broke
The most money that Edgar Allen Poe ever made in a year was $400. That was in 1845 when The Raven had become quite popular. He made a fraction of this amount every other year and was often asking for loans through friends and family. It was his affair that made him become more of a scapegoat than anything else. Francis Osgood went back to her husband, pregnant with Poe’s child, and denied the relationship. Poe took a different route – he sent her valentines.
5. He Loved His Local Book Club
Until the news of the affair got him banned, Poe was an avid member of his local book club. With teas and Italian ices, it was a casual event where discussion and banter about books was the only real entertainment that was available, but it still made the book club a big hit with the local artist scene.