Edgar Allan Poe was a predominate and highly influential figure in world literature. Much of Poe's notability is based on his ingenious and profound short stories, poems, and critical theories. The innovative way that he wrote established a pretense of how the short form in both poetry and fiction should be, which is one reason they regard Poe in literary histories and handbooks as the architect of the modern short story (Quinn 93). It was Poe's particular genius that in his work he gave consummate artistic form both to his personal obsessions and those of previous literary generations, at the same time creating new forms which provided a means of expression for future artists (Allen 473).
Edgar Allan Poe was born to poor actor parents. His father David was an average actor and a heavy drinker who deserted his son and wife and disappeared forever. His mother Elizabeth, on the other hand, was said to have been a charismatic and talented actress. Elizabeth died of tuberculosis in December of 1811. Edgar Poe was not quite three, but always remembered his mother vomiting blood and being carried away from him forever by sinister men dressed in black. It was her sudden death that was said to have warped Poe for the rest of his life (Krutch 12). After his mother's death Poe was taken into the home of John and Frances Allan - hence his middle name.
In 1834 Poe brought his aunt Mrs. Clemm and her daughter Virginia to live with him and in 1836 he married his young cousin. It was during this time that an extreme production of literature came from Poe. He wrote stories and many forceful and slashing reviews, waging war on mediocrity and trying to enforce high literary standards (Krutch 55). Unfortunately his efforts were often wasted on rather insignificant works. After six years of marriage Virginia had become fatally ill, and her slowly progressing illness between 1842 and 1847 had driven Poe to distraction.