Edgar Allan Poe and the Death of His Mother



"When Edgar Allan Poe's mother died when he was a boy of almost three, he was left alone in the house overnight with his baby sister and the corpse until a family benefactor found them. In his work he returns again and again to the image of the blank stare of the dead, and the proximity of death is everywhere. Burials are premature, bodies won't stay dead, dying chambers stretch out to infinity, cadavers rot and decay, and blood seeps from a corpse's mouth. Before his own death, the spectre of a ghostly woman that haunts these stories would invade his waking life in a series of terrifying hallucinations. Poe's literary effort to describe this encounter with death from every possible angle suggests that the work of mourning could not be completed. Rather than laying his mother to rest, her presence became increasingly real, despite his attempt to transpose the horror of what had happened to another, symbolic level through his writing."


— from The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression by Darian Leader