The world of literature is filled with a plethora of characters who have been abandoned, orphaned or merely left to be cared for by strangers. But there are several examples where authors have led equally difficult lives. Here are just a few of them:

This 19 century writer is known for his eerie works such as The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven and The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Edgar Allan Poe was born into a family of actors in 1809. A year later, his father abandoned the family, and when Poe was only two, his mother died of tuberculosis. Poe was taken in by a Scottish merchant, who never officially adopted him.

The biography – The Life of Charlotte Bronte – played a significant role in the literary career of British author Elizabeth Gaskell. Gaskell was born in 1810 at Chelsea. Her mother died when she was very young and her father, William Stevenson, sent her away to live with her aunt in Knutsford. Since then, she hardly met her father, who had remarried.

Multifaceted Russian author Leo Tolstoy, who wrote Anna Karenina and War and Peace, was born in 1828. He lost his mother when he was two and his father, a war veteran, when he was nine. Tolstoy was raised by his grandmother, and later, by an aunt.

J.R.R. Tolkien created a new world – the Middle Earth – populated by characters such as elves, orcs, wizards, hobbits and the evil Sauron. This British author was born at Bloemfontein, South Africa. When he was three years old, the family settled in England following his father’s death. When Tolkien was 12, his mother died of acute diabetes. He and his brother were left to the guardianship of their mother’s close friend.

Courtesy: Book Lovers’ Program for Schools

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