Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) One tends to think of Poe as a poet and short story writer and rightly so as he only wrote one complete novel. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket of 1838 tells the story of a stowaway. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American short story writers. Some consider him to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre and some a contributor to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life. Born in Massachusetts, he was orphaned young. After trying the University of Virginia and West Point unsuccessfully he embarked on a writing career and worked for various literary journals and periodicals. In 1835, he married his 13-year-old cousin, who died 12 years later, two years before his own death, the cause of which is unknown.