Edgar Allan Poe Is Dead

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Okay, so Poe died a really long time ago, but the good news is, according to The Guardianhe’s finally getting a real funeral.

“It began badly when he was found, aged 40, wandering the streets of Baltimore, penniless, raving unintelligibly, dressed in someone else’s clothes, possibly having been beaten up. He died four days later, on October 7 1849, in hospital, having uttered the final words: “Lord, help my poor soul.””

His cousin, the only one who was told of his death, neglected to tell many people, so he never got an appropriate funeral. Now he gets one.  Nice idea, right?

If only the intentions were pure. From the article:

“To the amusement of Poe experts, the double anniversary of the start and end of his life has led to an unseemly scramble between several US cities – notably Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, New York and Boston – to claim ownership of the writer.

Organisers of the Baltimore funeral are playing their ace card, exclaiming: “We have the body!””

Lovely. Here’s a final thought, from the unnamed narrator of Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum:” “And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave.”


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →