"I have been too deeply conscious of the mutability
and evanescence of temporal things to give any continous
effort to anything – to be consistent in anything. My life has been whim
– impulse – passion – a longing for solitude – a scorn of all things present,
in an earnest desire for the future.

– Edgar Allan Poe

The Faces of Poe

compiled by Mordantia Bat



This graphic based on a November 1848 daguerrotype.

Here, Poe looked like someone "immediately after being snatched back from the ultimate world's end of horror." So commented Mrs. Whitman, one of Poe's love interests in his later years. She hated this portrait of him.




Everyone knows what Edgar Allan Poe looks like, right? You're envisioning him right now, aren't you? Something no doubt similar to the portrait here at the left?

True, the face of Poe is a well-known icon, and most illustrations of him both during his lifetime and continuing into the modern day are somewhat similar – the usually-seen graphics being all apparently slight variations of a few famous portraits of him from the 1840s.

The familiar-looking pictures and daguerreotypes had all been done in his latter years, and have become, de facto, what most of us envision as Poe: somewhat worn, haunted-looking.

These, here, are some of the most often seen:


Another daguerrotype

Based on a portrait from 1848.

A Drawing from 1840s



Unusual Portraits

But there are some lesser-known "faces" of Poe, including some portraits of a younger Poe.

Here, below, are a small collection of these:


A full-length daguerrotype of Poe




A self-portrait sketch done by Poe



Another daguerrotype from the 1840s.





A charcoal portrait of Poe by Edward Sullivan
(done in the early 20th century).

Portrait of Poe as a young man





A French etching of Poe





A Russian etching of Poe





Poe in his cadet days.




Poe's likeness certainly does get around.

Picture below is of a building in Philadelphia. (photo by le Marquis Déjà Dû)


The Marquis explains the unusual and interesting setting of this photo:

Poe's erstwhile home (at 7th and Spring Garden) where he wrote Black Cat and other stories around that chronology, still stands and serves as a Poe Museum. It is a beautiful old brick house, well kept, and typical of the better examples of 18th c. residential Philly architecture. It has a rather immense yard (considering its downtown location) with a statue of a raven on the lawn.

In the last 50 years or so, that neighbourhood has become run down and a number of awful tenenment homes were built. It is a very violent part of town, and one not recommended for the ladies to walk about alone. Which makes Poe's clean, neat house stick out like a sore euphemism.

Right across the street, the Projects begin. That's where the mural is from. Poe in the Projects.


If you have an unusual or obscure picture of Poe you could contribute, I'd love to add more to this page. Just drop Bat a note.



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