S: Edgar Allen Poe: Inventor Of the Detective Story
BC: For more information, search any of our sources or go to www.poemuseum.org/works-morgue.php
FC: Edgar Allan Poe: | Inventor of the Detective Story
1: By Christian Smucker, Seneca Heilesen, Sarah Lim, Tatum Kendall, Molly Owens, and Kyle Morgan
2: Question #1 How was Poe an innovator in this aspect of his writing? Edgar Allan Poe was an innovator in the aspect of his writing because he was the inventor of the detective story. Poe was using many writing styles that caught writers attentions around the world. Poe used narrator views in his story giving the reader a better feel of the story. Poe was an innovator of the science of literature by experimenting with styles no one had seen before. This section from The Murder of the Rue Morgue shows his style that caught millions eyes back in the day. | “Several witnesses, recalled, here testified that the chimneys of all the rooms on the fourth story were too narrow to admit the passage of a human being. By 'sweeps' were meant cylindrical sweeping-brushes, such as are employed by those who clean chimneys.
3: These brushes were passed up and down every flue in the house. There is no back passage by which any one could have descended while the party proceeded up stairs. The body of Mademoiselle L'Espanaye was so firmly wedged in the chimney that it could not be got down until four or five of the party united their strength.” This is the well-known first person writing that you will see often in Poe’s writing. Poe’s literary reputation was greater in the United States, perhaps as a result of America’s general revulsion towards the macabre. Many writers respected Poe and used his writing to inspire them on different styles. Poe was also an innovator in the specific genre of mystery stories in that he introduced many aspects of the modern detective story, including the locked door murder, police involvement but incapability, the twist ending, and autopsy to determine the cause of death (which, interestingly, might have let us know more about Poe's death had it been performed on him).
4: Poe was extremely influential to many writers, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Matthew Pearl, Jorge Luis Borges, Nancy Lauzon, Agatha Christie, and Carolyn Keene. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the author of the highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes mystery series. He said Poe was “a model for all time.” An example of how his stories drew on Poe: “The Dancing Men” and “The Valley of Fear” involved ciphers, which Poe introduced in his story “The Gold Bug”. Matthew Pearl is widely known for Poe’s influence on his writing. He is writing many books using Poe’s famous character Auguste Dupin, called “The Dupin Tales”. He has also written “The Poe Shadow”, a novel based around Poe’s mysterious death. Even Poe’s role models were influenced by him. Charles Dickens wrote amazing detective stories, Hunted Down and Mystery of Edwin Drood, after Poe’s death. A famous Argentinian poet, Jorge Luis Borges, wrote many things that seemed to draw on Poe. His "Labyrinths: Selected Stories" was inspired by the Character of Dupin. "Borges and the Eternal Orangutans" included the following: "...of your detective stories and Poe's Auguste Dupin stories which I had submitted to" the editor of the Gold-Bug, who had duly returned it." Carolyn Keene was inspired by Poe, and many people, including Nancy Lauzon, the author of the "Chick Dick" mysteries, were inspired by her. For more authors inspired by Poe, see the chart on the opposite page. | Question #2: How was Poe influential to future writers and artists, and readers based on this aspect of his writing?
6: Question #3: What aspects of his life and experiences, if any, do you think had the largest impact on his writing in your assigned genre? | Poe's opinions on what a short story should be had a huge influence on his detective writing, especially the theory of "no wasted words". Also, there may be connections in that it is a detective's job to notice details others overlook and analyze situations. In his job as a literary critic, he had to analyze stories. Could there be connections?
7: “From childhood’s hour, I have not been as others were; I have not seen as others saw; I could not bring my passions from a common spring” -Edgar Allan Poe
8: Question 4: Why does Poe, the person, as well as his writing, continue to grow in popularity today? | The most obvious factor in Poe’s growing popularity today is his mysterious death. The cloudy circumstances surrounding his death drew attention to him, and in turn, his writing. Because his death was such a mystery, it may have drawn attention to his mystery writing the most. For those who didn’t immediately rush to read his literature, those who did built monuments and museums in Richmond, and after a visit to those, one might be curious and want to read some of his famous stories. When people read his writing and liked it, they told their friends, who told their friends, and so Poe’s writing grew more and more popular as more and more people read his work and liked it. Also, his unfortunately tragic life drew attention to him, not to mention Rufus Griswold's article that was supposed to make his work less popular but actually did the opposite.
9: The Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia
10: Bibliography "Mystery Time Line." Mystery Net.com: Online Mysteries, Mystery Games, Mystery Books. Ed. Mystery Net. Mystery Net, 1998. Web. 28 Nov. 2011.
11: Thomas, Andrew R. World's Best Detective, Crime, and Murder Mystery Books. RAP Diligence, Inc., 2003. Web. 30 Nov. 2011.
13: The famous inventor of the detective story! | Edgar Allan Poe | 1809-1849