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Last updated at 13:04 BST, Monday, 12 October 2009

Edgar Poe's second send-off


12 October 2009

One of the best known American writers of the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe, has finally been given the kind of funeral befitting a literary giant - 160 years after his death in the city of Baltimore.

Sarah Morris

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe


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Edgar Allan Poe, the author, poet, literary editor and critic, was hardly undiscovered when he died in 1849. His funeral though was attended by only a handful of people and lasted just three minutes. It seems his next of kin, a cousin named Neilson Poe, had neglected to announce his death to the world, or even to his family and friends.

Now though, 160 years later and in the 200th anniversary of the year of his birth, many present-day fans, aided by the city of Baltimore, have staged the sort of funeral deserved by a literary great. A replica of his dead body was transported in a coffin on a horse-drawn carriage to a burial ground where two packed out ceremonies took place featuring musical performances and several speakers who gave the eulogies missing at his first funeral.

After more than a century and a half, Edgar Allan Poe, author of the poem The Raven, leader of the American Romantic movement and inventor of the detective fiction genre, finally got the send-off he deserved.

Sarah Morris, BBC News, Washington


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hardly undiscovered

very well known ( this is an example of litotes, a figure of speech that uses understatement by negating the opposite to what is really meant, e.g. you may hear people say It is not uncommon rather than It is quite common)

a handful of

very few

next of kin

your next of kin is your closest relative

neglected to

if you neglect to do something, you forget to do it, often because you don't give enough care or attention to it, even though it is your responsibility


organised and held

a literary great

someone who is considered to have made a very significant contribution to literature

a replica

an accurate copy

packed out

crowded, full of people


speeches that praise somebody very highly (especially tributes to somebody who has died)


here, final goodbyes (usually, a send-off is an occasion where people say goodbye and wish good luck to someone who is leaving)

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