Edgar Allan Poe died 160 years ago. On the anniversary of his death, yesterday, he was given the funeral he never had. As part of the festivities marking the 200th anniversary of his birth, the Presbyterian church in Baltimore in whose churchyard he is buried held two services for him. (This was just the service. He was not re-buried.) Poe died under still-mysterious circumstances, showing up incoherent at a Baltimore hospital, dying four days later, and given a hasty pauper’s burial. He was 40 years old. Poe virtually invented the short story, including the genre of the horror tale and the even-more-influential genre of the mystery, in which a detective sorts through clues to solve a crime.
(For a fictional but well-researched account of the mystery surrounding Poe’s death–including discussion of the various theories and a plausible account of what might have happened–see Matthew Pearl’s The Poe Shadow.)