r/todayilearned – TIL Edgar Allen Poe married his 13 year old cousin at 27. His obsession with her and her early death, led to him becoming an alcoholic ,a laudanum addict, and the creation of his best known poems “Annabell Lee”, “The Raven”, and “Ligeia”

This is the worst TIL I’ve ever seen, the word laudanum or opium don’t even appear in the article that OP linked. This is one of those rare cases where OP is truly a piece of crap aha. I’ve studied Poe for a long time and there’s no evidence of drug usage, even people that

This is the worst TIL I’ve ever seen, the word laudanum or opium don’t even appear in the article that OP linked. This is one of those rare cases where OP is truly a piece of crap aha. I’ve studied Poe for a long time and there’s no evidence of drug usage, even people that knew him and didn’t like him said that he didn’t do drugs.

What really happened was an author that Poe had given a poor review of ended up tricking Poe’s mother-in-law into signing over the rights to Poe’s work. The author’s name was Rufus Griswold but he published the biography under a pseudonym. He didn’t even buy the rights, he tricked Edgar Allan Poe’s mother-in-law into signing over the rights under false pretense. The following link contains a discussion about Poe’s alcohol usage and the evidence against drug use. He did seem to have drank heavily for short periods on occasion but then he’d go months if not years without drinking again. Alcohol seem to have a very strong effect on him and it may have made him quite sick following the periods of heavy usage.


Immediately after Poe’s death, his literary rival Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote a slanted high-profile obituary under a pseudonym, filled with falsehoods that cast him as a lunatic and a madman, and which described him as a person who “walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayers, (never for himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned)”.[79]

The long obituary appeared in the New York Tribune signed “Ludwig” on the day that Poe was buried. It was soon further published throughout the country. The piece began, “Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it.”[80] “Ludwig” was soon identified as Griswold, an editor, critic, and anthologist who had borne a grudge against Poe since 1842. Griswold somehow became Poe’s literary executor and attempted to destroy his enemy’s reputation after his death.[81]

Griswold wrote a biographical article of Poe called “Memoir of the Author”, which he included in an 1850 volume of the collected works. There he depicted Poe as a depraved, drunken, drug-addled madman and included Poe’s letters as evidence.[81] Many of his claims were either lies or distorted half-truths. For example, it is seriously disputed that Poe really was a drug addict.[82] Griswold’s book was denounced by those who knew Poe well,[83] but it became a popularly accepted biographical source. This occurred in part because it was the only full biography available and was widely reprinted, and in part because readers thrilled at the thought of reading works by an “evil” man.[84] Letters that Griswold presented as proof were later revealed to be forgeries.[85]

After Poe’s death, Griswold convinced Poe’s mother-in-law to sign away the rights to his works. Griswold went on to publish the collected works attached with his own fabricated biography of Poe that invented stories of his drunkenness, immorality and instability.

From this wikipedia article https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe

A letter “published anonymously in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum on January 28, 1843, but believed to have been written by Poe,[79] asked: “What will be [Griswold’s] fate? Forgotten, save only by those whom he has injured and insulted, he will sink into oblivion, without leaving a landmark to tell that he once existed; or if he is spoken of hereafter, he will be quoted as the unfaithful servant who abused his trust.”[80]

This ended up being (quite literally) prophetic because no one truly remembers him except for how he lied and insulted Poe. Not only this but also no one bothered to build Griswold a monument or even a headstone when he was buried- despite the fact that they raised $3,000 by selling his personal Library.

His remains were left for eight years in the receiving tomb of Green-Wood Cemetery before being buried on July 12, 1865, without a headstone.[70] Although his library of several thousand volumes was auctioned off, raising over $3,000 to be put towards a monument, none was ever commissioned.[70]


The sad thing is that even today with all of the information available to people many people still believe the things which Griswold put in the biography and obituary. Since many of the narrators in Poe’s work were deeply troubled and use drugs it becomes easier to equate Poe’s with his narrators but you really have to do some research before you publically insult someone’s memory. Now a new generation of people will believe the lies and like Poe said that was Griswold’s only lasting mark on society- he died a bitter, vindictive man but he lives on through his lies.


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