Edgar Allan Poe, quando il “doppio” è una realtà.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809- 1849) was born in Boston from two touring actors, David Poe and Elisabeth Arnold Hopkins. They died very young, about two years after Edgar’s birth and the future writer was divided from his brother Henry and his sister Rosalie and adopted by Mrs. Frances Allan from Richmond.

Edgar Allan (the second name was due to his new family’s surname) was educated in England, where his family moved. In 1820 the Allans and Poe returned to Richmond and Edgar attended the University of Virginia (1826). As a student he was quite successful, but because of his passion for gambling (= gioco d’azzardo), he got indebted (= si indebitò) and had to leave university (= dovette lasciara l’università).
In Boston he wrote and published his first book, Tamerlane, and some Minor Poems , most of them dedicated to Elmira Royster, his first love already married (= già sposata).

Meanwhile (= nel frattempo), Mr. and Mrs. Allan died without forgiving (= senza perdonare)Edgar. The writer joined (= si arruolò)  West Point Academy, but there he only succeeded in getting expulsion (= riuscì solo a farsi espellere) from the academy.

Back again in Baltimore with his aunt Marie Clemm, he began writing stories for which there was a market: he needed money as Mr. Allan had died without leaving him a cent.

He published five tales (1832) and became an editorial assistant at The Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond (1835). There he married Virginia Clemm (1836), his fourteen-years-old cousin and created a reputation of his own as a keen (= molto acuto) critic.

In 1837 Edgar Allan Poe left his job and moved to New York where he published The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym  (1838) in which realistic material and wild fancies (=realtà e fantasia)  were combined under the influence of Melville’s Moby Dick.

In the same year he began editing the Burton’s Magazine in Philadelphia, where he worked for a year writing The Fall of the House of Husher and William Wilson based on studies of double and neurotic personalities.Because of drinking, Poe lost his job in 1840 and together with his wife he found himself once more on the edge (= orlo) of poverty. Moreover Virginia  burst a vessel in her throat (= si ruppe una vena in gola) and, even though she soon recovered, the writer’s restlessness began to grow.

Fortunately, Poe’s former employer recommended him to the publisher of Graham’s Magazine where he worked as an editor and wrote his first detective story The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

In 1843 his Gold Bug  won a prize of $100 from the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper.

In New York he wrote The Balloon Hoax for The Sun (1844) and in The Evening Mirror, where he worked as sub editor, The Raven (1845) his most famous poem,  appeared.

During the second half of 1840s he was editor of a short lived weekly Broadway Journal, published his Tales and wrote For Godey’s Lady’s Book, a series of gossipy sketches (= episodi di pettegolezzi) on personalities of the day on The Literati of New York.

Meanwhile his wife Virginia had died in 1847. In 1848 Poe moved to Providence and published the lecture Eureka, a transcendental explanation of the universe.

Back in Richmond (1849) he got engaged to Elmira Royster, now a widow, but his drinking was to be fatal to his weak heart (= debole cuore) and the writer died in Baltimore on October 7th, 1849.

As to the author’s personality, people who met him witnessed (= testimoniò) the coexistence in himself of two personalities: Poe was kind and devoted to the ones he loved, irritable and humoral to others. He was, for someone, a pleasant friend, amiable and talkative whose musical voice and sense of humour attracted everyone; for others was just a self-centred man (= un uomo concentrato su se stesso), a sharp (= acuto) critic, violent, immoral and drug-addict (= dedito alle droghe).