Decade after decade, Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the most popular American writers. He is beloved around the world for his pioneering detective fiction, tales of horror, and haunting, atmospheric verse. But what if there was another side to the man who wrote "The Raven" and "The Fall of the House of Usher"? In The Reason for the Darkness of the Night, John Tresch offers a bold new biography of a writer whose short, tortured life continues to fascinate. Shining a spotlight on an era when the lines separating entertainment, speculation, and scientific inquiry were blurred, Tresch reveals Poe's obsession with science and lifelong ambition to advance and question human knowledge. He remained an avid and often combative commentator on new discoveries, publishing and hustling in literary scenes that also hosted the era's most prominent scientists, semi-scientists, and pseudo-intellectual rogues. Tresch shows that Poe lived, thought, and suffered surrounded by science-and that many of his most renowned and imaginative works can best be understood in its company. Pursuing extraordinary conjectures and a unique aesthetic vision, he remained a figure of explosive contradiction: he gleefully exposed the hoaxes of the era's scientific fraudsters even as he perpetrated hoaxes himself.