Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is considered the creator of the detective story and he also perfected the Psychological Thriller.

Themes and Style

He was mainly influenced by aestheticism, as he believed that art is what can be considered beautiful, and the gothic novel, as the atmosphere of the detective story is very similar, though not supernatural.

According to what he said, He believed in the theory of “the single effect”: a work of art should be read in one sitting and should appeal to a particular emotion through a spiralling intensification. This is why he mostly wrote short stories based especially on the emotions of fear, horror and mystery.

Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite Horror of their reality.

Edgar Allan Poe

The Tales

  • Tales of horror = they deal with death, wickedness and crime or survival after a resolution.
  • Tales of ratiocination = they introduced the detective story into literature by combining realism and scientific spirit with terror.

An example: The murders in the rue morgue = The story opens with the discovery of the violent murder of an old woman and her daughter. No grisly detail is spared in the description of the crime scene as it is discovered by neighbours responding to the women’s screams. The police are baffled by the fact that the murderer has managed to escape even though the women’s apartment appears to have been completely sealed from the inside. The genteel but impoverished C.Augusthe Dupin and his nameless friend—who narrates the story—offer their services to the police and, through a brilliant interpretation of the clues at the scene, identify the murderer—an escaped Orangutan.

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