Philip Van Doren Stern

“In the early summer of 1846 he moved his family to a cottage in Fordham, which was then far out in the country. He was ill and Virginia was dying, so that he was in no condition to do much work. As a result, their meagre income vanished; when winter game they even lacked money to buy fuel. A friend who visited the cottage wrote a description of Virginia's plight:

There was no clothing on the bed... but a snow white spread and sheets. The weather was cold, and the sick lady had the dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of consumption. She lay on the straw bed, wrapped in her husband's great-coat, with a large tortoise-shell cat on her bosom. The wonderful cat seemed conscious of her great usefulness. The coat and the cat were the sufferer's only means of warmth...


A public appeal for funds was made in the newspapers -- an act which Poe, of course, resented. But Virginia was beyond all human aid. She died on January 30, 1847, and her death marked the end of the sanest period in her husband's life. He plunged into the writing of a book-length mystical and pseudo-scientific work entitled Eureka, in which he set forth his theories of the universe. He intended it as a prose poem, and as such is should be judged, rather than as a scientific explanation of matters beyond it's author's ken.”


Philip Van Doren Stern, The Portable Poe
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The Portable Poe The Portable Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
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