illustrated portrait of American author of gothic fiction Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

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What was Edgar Allan Poe's signature writing style?

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Edgar Allan Poe wrote short stories and poems. His stories are of two types: horror stories, which are his most distinctive, and detective stories. The detective stories tend to be cool and analytical, focused on plot details and the logical processes of solving mysteries, rather than emphasizing atmosphere.

Poe's poetry and horror stories are the most classical exempla of his signature style. Typically, he uses unreliable narrators, who range from nervous and neurotic to outright insane. His narrators often comment on their nervous character, and use the rhetorical devices of interruption such as anacolouthon, aposiopesis, and correctio. Poe is especially adept at creating an atmosphere of horror and melancholy. His works have a strong psychological focus and often include elaborate descriptions of characters' mental states.

In poetry, Poe is distinguished by his use of sound devices such as repetition, alliteration, internal rhyme, and assonance to create hypnotic musical effects.

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