Skip to content



  1. Research the author Edgar Allan Poe and the genre “Gothic Fiction”. Note down your most important findings in bullet points.


Edgar Allan Poe

  • Born January 19th, 1809
  • Died October 7th, 1849
  • he had a difficult childhood
    • his dad David abandoned the family when he was a baby
    • his mother Eliza died when he was almost 3 years old
    • tensions arising between him and his foster father
  • social class as a teenager: elite upper-class
  • published his first book of poetry „Tamerlane and Other Poems” (also known as „A Bostonian”) at the age of 17
  • went to army successfully
  • smart person
  • Poe (27 yo) and Virginia (13 yo) got married
  • created stories of true horror and mystery
  • cause of death as „phrenitis” (inflammation of the brain)
    • was commonly used when the true cause of death was unknown
    • even his death created a mystery because the true manner of his death is unknown (over 26 published theories)
  • Poe wrote “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the “Masque of the Red Death,” “The Black Cat,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Gold Bug,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” and more.
  • He wrote detective stories (particularly „The Muders in the Rue Morgue” is important because it was the first modern detective story), science fiction, deep and intuitive horror (the genre that makes him famous today)
  • He often wrote stories where the true monster was the capacity for evil that is inside each person, and what happens when that evil is acted upon.

Gothic Fiction

  • environment of fear, madness and obsession
  • atmosphere is claustrophobic
  • theme
    • mental state of the characters is a central theme, with a focus on mental instability
    • the theme of the present is haunted by the past
  • setting
    • castles
    • religious buildings
    • ruins
  • the threat of supernatural events
    • ghosts
    • monsters
  • common plot elements
    • vengeful persecution
    • imprisonment
    • murder