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  • Karen Lee Street

A Mysterious End... the Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's Death

Edgar Allan Poe died at about 5 A.M. on 7 October 1849 in Baltimore. He was found in a delirious state by Joseph W. Walker on 3 October and was taken to the Washington Medical College where he drifted in and out of consciousness for several days.

He never became coherent enough to explain what happened to him or why he was dressed in clothing that was not his own. Those who tended to him reported that he called out the name "Reynolds" many times on the night before he died. His final words are said to have been: "Lord help my poor soul."

There are many theories regarding the cause of his death, but given the lack of evidence, it remains a mystery, a very sad but perhaps apropos resolution to the life of an author famous for his tales of the uncanny. In a life cut short at forty years of age, Poe wrote renowned poetry and is credited with establishing the detective genre and writing some of the earliest science fiction. He was also a literary critic, editor, and author of a novel, theatre play, and many essays. His work has inspired authors, artists, film and television makers, musicians and, of course, readers.

In honour of Poe, here are some images by renowned woodcut artist Antonio Frasconi (1919-2013) from his artistic homage: THE FACE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, published as a limited edition in 1959. Only two hundred and fifty copies were printed from his original woodcuts on hand-made Goyu paper from Japan. The book includes a note about Poe written in 1859 by Charles Baudelaire, a great admirer of Poe's writing who translated his work into French.

RIP Edgar Allan Poe


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