Poe: A life cut short

Peter Ackroyd

Edgar Allan Poe’s life (1809-1849) was mysterious, theatrical, fatally flawed, original, dark, dazzling, satirical, inventive – in short, an ideal subject for Peter Ackroyd. Concise, dramatic and immensely readable, this is an essential addition to Ackroyd’s canon of brilliant biographies.

‘Wonderfully rewarding. Poe’s brilliant, erratic, abbreviated career stands to gain rather than lose from the form of brief life patented by Ackroyd. It operates by lightning strikes, atmospheric colouring, impressionistic techniques of concision and suggestion.’ Guardian

‘Poe’s difficult nature and the economics of the US literary scene in the first half of the 19th century combine in Ackroyd’s hands to create a trap from which every escape leads to unhappiness. The result is unsettling but hugely powerful.’ The Times

‘The biography admirably captures the heady mix of the esoteric, grotesque and thoroughly modern in Poe.’ The Sunday Times

‘Makes the reader want to re-read Poe, and indeed to read more of Ackroyd.’ Scotsman


  • Chatto & Windus UK
  • Nan A Talese USA
  • Atena Finland
  • Editions Philippe Rey France
  • Edhasa World Spanish
  • Karaat NL
  • Yapi Kredi Turkey
  • Sareni Ducan Croatia
  • Patakis Greece
  • Atticus Russia
  • Saida de Emergencia Portugal
  • Clio, Serbia

Material: finished copies (170pp)