Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809. His father abandoned the family, and then died in 1810. His mother died the following year. Poe was subsequently taken into the home of John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia and, although never formally adopted, was given the name Edgar Allan Poe. In 1815, the family sailed to Britain and stayed at the home of John Allan's sister Mary at Bridgegate House, Irvine a two-storey tenement.
Edgar was sent to the old burgh school at Kirkgatehead, where it is said that the teachers used to send their pupils into the neighbouring graveyard to copy down epitaphs. This may have contributed to his obsession with death. Returning to the United States in 1820, Poe failed to complete his studies at the University of Virginia and after some initial success in the military, engineered his own discharge from West Point. He died under unexplained circumstances in Baltimore aged 40.
He was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story genre, came to be considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre, and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He has also been described as one to the first authors to have made, or attempted to make, his living solely from writing. Among his best known works are The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
The photograph below shows the old burgh school at Kirkgatehead.
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