What effect did Edgar Allan Poe have on literature?

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Edgar Allen Poe had a profound impact on English literature, leaving one of the most influential bodies of work to be found among nineteenth century authors. In fact, he largely stands out among the foremost literary giants of his era in that his literary reputation rests so predominantly on his short stories and poems, rather than on any particular novel. (By comparison, while writers such as Hawthorne and Melville also wrote short stories, their most celebrated works remain The Scarlet Letter and Moby Dick, both novels.) From this perspective, an argument can be made that Edgar Allen Poe was one of those writers who did much to elevate the short story as a literary art form (although this should not diminish the achievements of the aforementioned Hawthorne and Melville, or those of the European literary giants—not to mention other masters of the short story format—such as O. Henry, Guy de Maupassant, and the much earlier Washington Irving).

In addition, Poe's focus on the very dark and morbid exerted a profound effect in influencing the evolution of the horror genre. His use of rich description as a tool for conveying atmosphere and his use of mentally unbalanced protagonists mark him as a forerunner to later authors such as H. P. Lovecraft. Furthermore, his stories involving C. Auguste Dupin established the modern detective story and exerted a profound impact on Arthur Conan Doyle's own literary creation, Sherlock Holmes. One might well argue that modern horror has been shaped in large part by Poe and that detective fiction owes its very existence to Poe.

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America's own Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is one the nation's greatest writers. He is considered the father of the modern horror story as well as the father of modern detective fiction. He was one of the first writers in the emerging field of science fiction. His romantic poetry is also some of the finest of the period. Additionally, he was one of the leading literary critics of the first half of the 19th century. His gothic style and dark romanticism were trademarks. The fact that many of his short stories ("The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum") are among the finest in American literature solidify his standing as one of the country's greatest writers. Several poems--such as "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," and "The Raven"--are also among the most well known of American verse. Many of his stories have been made into movies and songs, and his work is among the most imitated of all writers. His works spawned great interest in cryptography and cosmology; and most future writers of horror and detective stories began their interest by reading the works of Poe.

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