Sam Doueiri Edgar Allan Poe and substance abuse The Bottled Curse Edgar Allan Poe was one of America’s most celebrated poet and story teller. His life started early with misfortune. Both of his parents were already dead, when Edgar was 3 years old. His father died of tuberculosis and his mother died of tuberculosis and pneumonia. He was adopted and attended school until he was 17 years old. He started the abuse of alcohol with 17 and he started gambling.
As his adopting father figured out, he stopped all financial supports of his adopted son. Edgar had to leave the University and he enlisted in the U. S. military, and later obtained a military school. Edgar Allan Poe was expelled from the military school after one year attending. During his time in this school he published his first poetry book. Over the years Poe established a reputation as a writer. Drinking remained a lifelong problem. Edgar adopted a lifestyle which included a constant abuse of alcohol.
Although writing brought him fame, he had to struggle through his whole life with financial issues. Because of the leaking copyright protection to his time, he never was financially rewarded for his excellent masterpieces of poetry and literature. Therefore he struggled through his whole life with money issues. Throughout most of his writings Edgar Allan Poe mentions the abuse of alcohol “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I drank … God only knows how often or how much.
As a matter of course, my enemies referred the insanity to the drink rather than the drink to the insanity. ” Courtney JF: “Addiction and Edgar Ellen Poe” Med Times 1972; 100:162-163. He started in a young age with the excessive abuse of alcohol, as a classmate recalled: “He would always seize the tempting glass, generally unmixed with sugar or water- in fact, perfectly straight- and without the least apparent pleasure, swallow the contents, never pausing until the last drop had passed his lips. Bonaparte M: “The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe”, Imago Pub, London 1949:31-32 Alcohol appears frequently in Poe’s stories, usually connected to some following violent act or event: ” One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame.
I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket…. When reason returned with the morning- when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauchery-I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed. ” Poe’s “The Black Cat” www. heliterature network. com pages 2-5. In conclusion, Alcohol abuse became a part of Edgar Allan Poe’s life, it affected his writings his perception and his creativity. He went into almost a “Dark Side” in his life and gave little windows of his mind through his literature. It seems almost as if the Alcohol took overhand and had finally a body of mind, from which on the Alcohol himself and parts of Poe’s personality were writing in between two different worlds, the “Dark side” and the “pure and innocent side” of life.
His way of writing very “ Dark” finds an interesting base of making the reader being curious what will happen next. It is” miserable” itself what makes the reader keep reading. Courtney JF: “Addiction and Edgar Ellen Poe” Med Times 1972; 100:162-163. Bonaparte M: “The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe”, Imago Pub, London 1949:31-32 Poe’s “The Black Cat” www. theliterature network. com pages 2-5.