Much remains uncertain about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, the mysterious author of one of the best-known American poems, 'The Raven', the Gothic romance The Fall of the House of Usher, and the first detective fiction, The Murders in the Rue Morgue. This book provides a balanced overview of Poe's career and writings, resisting the tendency of many scholars to sensationalise the more enigmatic aspects of his life. Benjamin F. Fisher outlines Poe's experiments with a wide range of literary forms and genres, and shows how his fiction evolved from Gothic fantasy to plausible, sophisticated psychological fiction. Fisher makes fruitful connections within this diverse body of work, and offers analyses of the major works. The critical afterlife of Poe's work is charted, and the book includes a guide to further reading, making this a handy starting-point for students and readers new to Poe.