JF Ptak Science Books Post 1713 [Part of a series on the History of Memory]
Poe is not so remembered today by the general public as an essayist, and less so as his almost-forgotten career as a book reviewer and literary critic. Creator (perhaps) of the genres of science fiction and the detective form, a master of suspense, an agent of words, poet and short story writer, editor, yes; maker of taste and keeper of logical insight in literature, well, maybe not so much.
But the weight of it all is that Poe may have been America's greatest literary critic of the 19th century,--perhaps more than that. And it may have led to Poe being remembered for some not very savory things, some everlasting iconic and not-necessarily true I-cannot-tell-a-lie Poeisms that are known by the social mind. For example, a bad review may have bought him this obituary as a huge helping of pay-back:
"EDGAR ALLAN POE is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet was well known, personally or by reputation, in all this country; he had readers in England, and in several of the states of Continental Europe; but he had few or no friends; and the regrets for his death will be suggested principally by the consideration that in him literary art has lost one of its most brilliant but erratic stars..."--by "Ludwig","Death of Edgar A. Poe, New York Daily Tribune, October 9, 1849, page 2, columns 3-4. [Full text here.]