Poe's heroin addiction

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Since not many sites have touched on this subject, I see it only fit to ask about his addiction. Has he written any story's about his addiction and are there any stories about his addiction. It deffinetly affects one's writing. That I can purtest to, since I am also an artist and writer who is an addict. Any information about this subject would be great.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2003


There is no indication I am aware of that Poe was a drug addict except for his alcoholism. His experiments or medicinal use of opiate derivatives(once in a fasle suicide attempt) don't seem to show up much in his writings as they do in others like Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, "Sherlock Holmes" or especially Charles Baudelaire who took way too much opium and other stuff despite his best judgment.

These substances were common in medical usage but in America were not pushed upon intellectuals(for their creative expansion!)as they were in Europe. Companies actually supplied free drugs to stimulate the creative powers, thereby shortening the lifespans of many artists for absolutely nothing.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

More to the point. For all your interests by allmeans read Stephen King's "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" that connects his craft with his life- and yes, his career stunting addictions. Also Charles Baudelaire's "Les Paradis Artficiels" which not surprisingly gets less popular mileage than the inferior classic of Thomas DeQuincey.

Get help, get writing.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

I have heard some of rumors about his drug addcition, but there are not many information online to prove that. EAP is famous for Alcoholic so I guess that fact is true...

ALSO I have one more good fact about EAP. He was a BIPOLAR ! He gets really happy and really depressed. This is the reason why he could come up with those historic horror, mystery, etc stories. I think this symptom was caused by his backgrounds(death of parents at age 3, gambling, debt, etc) I have a 8page paper due tomorrow, I need some help too, therefore if anyone have better information about his background please share.......thank you

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2003

Edgar Allan Poe died of alcoholism on October 7, 1849 2 years after his wife died, and this was just an assumed thing. They never could find the cause of death. Plus, they hadn't even discovered heroin in 1849. There is absolutely no way he was involved in heroin. he never spoke of his addiction to aclohol though i just thought i would clarify for the other idiots that answered your question. thank you.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2003

Dear Kris,

I agree with P.E. Murphy. I'll add a recommendaton of eapoe.org & its section "Poe, Drugs and Alcohol." A brief summary: Re. Poe's stories about addiction, many scholars see his narrators' use of alcohol/opium as a literary device, as a way of probing the mind's dark side, addict or not.

Re. Poe's own letters, they resonate with many alcoholic/addicts. Poe's discussions of his drinking change as his last decade (his 30's) wears on: "...for a brief period,...I certainly did give way, at long intervals, to the temptation held out on all sides by the spirit of Southern conviviality" ..."Please express my regret to Mr Fuller for making such a fool of myself in his house, and say to him (if you think it necessary) that I should not have got half so drunk on his excellent Port but for the rummy coffee with which I was forced to wash it down"

As his wife's illness and death take their toll on Poe, his tone changes from casual to tragic: "Each time I felt all the agonies of her death--and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly & clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity....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. I had indeed, nearly abandoned all hope of a permanent cure when I found one in the death of my wife....In the death of what was my life, then, I receive a new but--oh God! how melancholy an existence."

I hope these quotes are of help to you and your work, regardless of your reasons for addiction. I must add that they are a great consolation to me. Due to deaths in my family, I slowly lost interest in literature, creativity, a lot of the outside world. Alcoholism took over imperceptively. I've "joined the temperance society" too, but somehow Poe's words are worth a thousand "Big Blue Books."

Good luck in your future.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2003

I don't have an answer but I do have a question. I am doing a paper on heroin in fiction. If you know of any novels, etc..please send an email. Thanks.

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2004

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