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One of the greatest of all horror writers, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) also composed pioneering tales that seized upon the scientific developments of an era marked by staggering change. In this collection of sixteen stories, he explores such wide-ranging contemporary themes as galvanism, time travel and resurrection of the dead. 'The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfall' relates a man's balloon journey to the moon with a combination of scientific precision and astonishing fantasy. Elsewhere, the boundaries between horror and science are elegantly blurred in stories such as 'The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar', while the great essay 'Eureka' outlines Poe's own interpretation of the universe. Powerfully influential on later authors including Jules Verne, these works are essential reading for anyone wishing to trace the genealogy of science fiction, or to understand the complexity of Poe's own creative vision
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) was born in Boston and orphaned at an early age. Taken in by a couple from Richmond, Virginia, he spent a semester at the University of Virginia but could not afford to stay longer. After joining the Army and matriculating as a cadet, he started his literary career with the anonymous publication of Tamerlane and Other Poems, before working as a literary critic. His life was dotted with scandals, such as purposefully getting himself court-martialled to ensure dismissal from the Army, being discharged from his job at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond after being found drunk by his boss, and secretly marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia (listed twenty-one on the marriage certificate). His work took him to both New York City and Baltimore, where he died at the age of forty, two years after Virginia.