EDGAR ALLAN POE was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, the son of impoverished actors. Orphaned when he was not yet three, Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. After a major falling-out with his foster father in 1827, Poe left Richmond for Boston, where he arranged for the publication of his first book of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems. He published two additional books of poetry—Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829) and Poems (1831)—and began to publish short stories and book reviews, gaining an editorial position at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond in 1835. Perhaps already privately married to his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm, he married her publicly in Mary 1836. By this time he had begun work on his novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, early chapters of which were published in the Messenger of January and February 1837. But on January 3, 1837, Poe lost his job (very likely owing to his drinking), and he moved to New York City, where he completed the book. Pym was published by Harper&Brothers on July 30th, 1838. Poe had by then moved to Philadelphia, where he came to serve as the editor for two periodicals and where he published a collection of short stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), as well as many additional stories, including the prize-winning “The Gold Bug” and the first modern detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. However, his wife developed tuberculosis. Returning to New York in 1844, Poe soon reached the peak of his fame with the publication of “The Raven” in 1945. That year also saw the publication of both Tales and The Raven and Other Poems—but Poe's drinking led to the failure of his weekly, the Broadway Journal. Settling in Fordham, Poe continued to write and to care for Virginia, who died in January 1847. In his final years, Poe wrote some of his most celebrated poetry, including “The Bells”, “Eldorado”, and “Annabel Lee”. On October 7th, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore.
GUILLERMO DEL TORO is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and designer. He both cofounded the Guadalajara International Film Festival and formed his own production company—the Tequila Gang. However, he is most recognized for his Academy Award-winning film, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the Hellboy film franchise. He has received Nebula and Hugo awards, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award, and is an avid collector and student of arcane memorabilia and weird fiction.
S. T. JOSHI is a freelance writer and editor. He has edited Penguin Classics editions of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, and The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, as well as Algernon Blackwood’s Ancient Sorceries and Other Strange Stories. Among his critical and biographical studies are The Weird Tale, Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination, and H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, and The Modern Weird Tale. He has also edited works by Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, and H. L. Mencken, and is compiling a three-volume Encyclopedia of Supernatural Literature.