What Impact Did Edgar Allan Poe Have On American Literature

2 Answers

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Edgar Allan Poe had a great impact on society. He was regarded as the writer responsible for creating detective fiction, the horror story, and a master of the short story.

Not only did Poe write, his was a renowned literary critic. He was greatly critical and forced writers to reexamine their own texts. Many writers were influenced by Poe (Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle). Other authors spent years translating his (Poe's) texts into other languages (for example, Baudelaire translated Poe's texts into French--this took him fourteen years).

Overall, Poe's impact on literature was a great one. Students today still study, scrutinize, and dissect his texts. Authors, influenced and impacted by Poe, try to recreate his language, mood, and grasp on readers.

seaofknowledge's profile pic

seaofknowledge | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Although Edgar Allen Poe did not enjoy as much fame and wealth as we would expect him to during his lifetime, he was truly a pioneer in the genres of mystery and horror in literature. Much of what we see today on TV and film -- horror films, detective films, and stories -- have been inspired to some extent by Poe's work. So Poe's writing, his stories, have established these genres in American fiction. Since his work was so new and unique in that time frame, not just Americans and Europeans but writers from all over the world were influenced by him and tried writing in these genres.

In the world of literary fiction, Edgar Allen Poe is one of the best. Having said that, many experts believe that because of his morbid and unconventional stories, Poe was often misunderstood by people when he was alive. There are also aspects of his life that we don't know too much about. Edgar Allen Poe died fairly young at only the age of forty in 1849. It has been more than 150 years since his death and students still read his stories in school. Writers of fiction, filmmakers and makers of TV shows still find inspiration from his stories and his style. This in and of itself says so much about the uniqueness and the quality of his writing. His influence over modern writers and makers of motion pictures is sure to continue for a very long time.

In very basic terms, Edgar Allen Poe has influenced which type of stories society will read and watch. He established the genres that are today known as mystery, horror and detective. Considering that the stories we read have an impact on our imagination and taste in literature, I think he has had a strong impact on our society's attitude and opinions about literature.