Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) was an American writer who built his considerable literary reputation on his poems, short stories, and critical essays. Often remembered for his morbid preoccupation with themes related to lost love, regret, and death, Poe himself had an unusually turbulent life. Not two years after he was born, his mother died, and his father disappeared. He came under the care of a wealthy merchant named John Allan, who provided him with an excellent primary education. By the time he entered university, however, Allan’s financial support dried up and Poe’s schooling ended. The years that followed were tumultuous for Poe. He moved from city to city, eventually arriving in Philadelphia, where he married and found gainful employment as a literary editor. All this time he wrote and published. As his literary career matured, he developed a strong position on the aesthetic value of literature. Whereas the culture of his time valued literature as a mere vehicle for didacticism, he believed in art for art’s sake. For this reason, he emphasized style and technique above all else. Poe shows great technical prowess in “A Dream Within a Dream,” where his mastery of subtle variations in meter and rhyme produces powerful stylistic effects.