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Edgar Allan Poe was talented in several areas of literature. An American author, he is well-known for his short stories, as well as his poetry. He was also a literary critic.
Poe wrote during the 19th Century, but he was anything but the typical Romantic writer. Where Emerson and Thoreau wrote about the beauty of nature, Herman Melville—and Poe—wrote in the literary genre called "Dark Romanticism." It was in this area that Poe wrote works of horror and mystery.
...Melville's dark vision is highlighted in Edgar Allan Poe's...narratives.
Many people today would assume that Poe created the horror story for he is most popular for the stories that seem to be the forerunners of Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.
...[M]ost [critics] agree that the birth of the modern crime-mystery-detective story can be traced...to the 1841 publication of...“Murders in the Rue Morgue”...
This story was written by Poe. Many critics credit Poe with being the father of the detective story and mystery (for there are literary distinctions between the two). He wrote a group of pieces that he called...
...‘‘tales of ratiocination,’’ which helped define the conventions used in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories..
This influence, then, opened the way for the detective stories (like his own) as well as the "modern mystery." Like today's Poirot, Poe created a master detective, "the perspicacious but eccentric" C. Auguste Dupin. Poe's "hero" made use of...
...deductive reasoning—a specific type of logic that examines all factors in a case objectively— to solve mysteries that have stumped others.
Certainly these elements can be seen in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mysteries, when Sherlock Holmes was often his client's last resort. His superior intelligence and flawless logic often left Dr. Watson amazed.
Poe's description of the "investigative methods" used at that time also gives the reader insight into...
...the types of rational thought prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century.
(A new-found respect for the "power of reasoning" came into view with the Enlightenment.)
Poe created the archetypal pattern for stories of detection...
These patterns included...
- an inexplicable crime
- an intellectual and almost "omniscient" sleuth
- solution of the mystery with "superior logical reasoning," and,
- the apprehension of an equally brilliant arch-villain
While amazingly talented in a variety of literary genres, the one that Poe is credited with "getting off its feet" is the detective story or mystery, seen in stories like "The Purloined Letter" and "Murder in the Rue Morgue."
Although Poe may have been influenced by earlier works, he is credited by many with the development of the style and format of detective stories that we know of today.
The influence of Poe's detective stories on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is apparent in A Study In Scarlet when the narrator Dr. John Watson says to Sherlock Holmes:
“It is simple enough as you explain it,” I said, smiling. “You remind me of Edgar Allen Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist outside of stories.”
If one reads the stories of Detective Dupin by Poe, such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue, they will find many similarities between that fictional character and Sherlock Holmes. Doyle developed the concept of deductive reasoning further in his stories and novels, also finding inspiration in his personal experiences and encounters as a doctor. But there is no doubt that Edgar Allen Poe made the first important strides in detective fiction.
Edgar Allan Poe was an American poet, author, editor, and literary critic. Poe wrote during the Romantic period, and therefore, was considered a Romantic writer. Within this period, he was most well known for his dark and mysterious texts. Inside of the Romantic period, Poe was a well-known Gothic writer and author of detective fiction. He has been acknowledged with being the innovator of the American short story and the detective novel.
Within his craft, Poe was known for perfecting symbolism within literature. That being said, he was a master of rhyme, rhythm, and assonance (the repetition of a vowel sound within a line of poetry).
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