Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) has long been hailed as the creator of the detective fiction genre and celebrated for his macabre contributions to literary Romanticism. Born in Boston, Poe lived a short life fraught with poverty and tragedy–suitable, I suppose, for a romantic. The middle of three children, Poe’s father abandoned his family when he was an infant and his mother died of consumption a year later. He was sent to live with John Allan (who gave him his middle name), a Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia. At age sixteen, Poe inherited a substantial sum from his guardian’s uncle and decided to attend the University of Virginia, then in its infancy, to study languages. Soon Poe gambled away his inheritance and quit school. In need of funds he joined the army and served for two years. During that time he published his first book, a forty-page collection of poems that sold almost no copies. He went on to write a total of seventy poems, sixty-six short stories, nine essays, a novel (he died before a second could be finished), and one poorly received play. His death, in keeping with his work, was somewhat mysterious. In his penultimate chapter, he was found roaming the streets of Baltimore, delirious and wearing another man’s clothes.