|Quoth the Raven
Author: 13-Goth-Gyrl-13 PM
History Day Paper-Topic: A Turning Point in History. Edgar Allan Poe and the Emergence of the Thriller. Here is an essay on how Poe changed storytelling forever for History Day, courtesy of a high school freshman. All sources are present.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery - Words: 1,643 - Published: 01-29-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3096670
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28 January 2013
Quoth the Raven
From the darkest of minds and the most peculiar of poets, came an air of mystery that has lingered in the minds of many, as well as the ink of few. A controversial figure in literature, Edgar Allan Poe is known as "the father of the detective tale", courtesy of Arthur Conan Doyle, although just as many, such as Jorge Luis Borges, say that "Poe exhausted the genre"(Freeland). Criticized and admired, Poe's stories and poems have brought an unpredictable reputation along with his name. Despite the dark shadow that casts itself upon his literature, Poe is a romantic. The emergence of the thriller from Poe's hand was a turning point in history because of the abnormality in his literature, writing had never before reached this point, and the love of Poe had been, and has been, so divided.
Poe was cursed from the day he was born with the sad perplexity of intense writing. When he was a mere babe, his drunken father left the family and not too soon after, when he was the ripe age of three, his mother passed. He was adopted by the Allan's family and lived as much of a lavish life as they could give him ("Edgar Allan Poe is Born"). He attended many schools and received a classic education, especially in the poetry of the classic ages (Unrue). He married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia, when he was twice her age, and for a short while he was happy. The seemingly unwavering bliss soon faded away when Virginia became ill and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She soon passed, leaving Poe to wallow in an alcohol induced stupor, an unhealthy habit he had been infected with since birth thanks to his father. That is until he himself passed at the age of forty from unknown causes although there have been many speculations as to the reasoning behind his most unexpected departure ("Edgar Allan Poe is Born").
Poe has become the queer taint on the seemingly flawless face of lore that has seemed to be welcomed both passionately and indifferently. Before Poe, the antagonist of the story's identity was always a known factor from the very beginning, leaving very little room for imagination. He was the first to challenge the reader to guess with all their heart's content as to who the culprit was (Krystal). "…as all students of the mystery genre know, it's in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" that the two great principles of detective fiction germinate: (1) When all impossible scenarios have been eliminated, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer; and (2) The more bizarre the crime, the simper its solution" (Krystal). "Poe's paradoxical placement in literary history as origin and endpoint is, however, appropriate to the detective genre, insofar as detective stories, similarly, begin at the end of the plots which they narrate" (Freeland). "Poe simply, startlingly, ushered in a new kind of hero and a new way of telling a story, beginning with a crime, then demonstrating the order and causality of the events that led up to it" (Krystal). The voices of the protagonists are emphasized as confessions as to the crimes committed by the hands of the antagonists; they are clues, bread crumbs left behind to follow the path to the right destination (Freeland).
Along with his extensive knowledge on poetry and storytelling itself, Poe was a mastermind of the inner workings of the human psyche and all that it fears. "Poe's writing evinces a profound psychological intuition concerning the instinct for power underlying social relationships, particularly those relationships involving postures of dominance or victimization" (Folks). The victims of his antagonists' wicked deeds always seemed to die in ways that most individuals would cower at the thought of, like being buried alive or chopped to bits. "Poe's stories reveal an author focused on the destructive effects of social isolation and victimization, and on the consequent responses of paranoia and schizophrenia. In his fiction Poe was well aware of the destructive potential of instinctual responses underlying human social relationships" (Folks). It would also appear that when the perspective of the antagonist is put into play, madness seems to be ever so present within their subconscious, despite them telling themselves they are as sane as any other man on the street.
His legacy has thrived on the opinions of the many who read his material, whether it be a wondrous thrill from which they take great pleasure, or a derivative snort and a cold critique or parody they choose to ungracefully reply with. As such an oddity as a writer, "readers and critics have found difficulty in finding where to place Poe within literature" (Unrue). However, "Poe's apparent preference for fantasy over realism and his placing of beauty above truth in a hierarchy of aesthetic values seem to set him down firmly among the romantics" (Unrue). Still, his status always seems to be in dispute (Tonkin). Being as famous as he is, he has also influence many. "Of course, most of Poe's influence has been upon popular, not high-art, writers…and upon genre, not mainstream, fiction" (Olson).
"A man of the romantic age, he was also a man who looked backwards to the previous Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, and to the distant classical past of Rome and Athens, not to idealize them, but to search them for meaning that would order the darkness" (Unrue). As an eccentricity among the normal, he has taken criticism and thrown it back, even to this day from the depths of his grave. Due to a cursed gene, he washed down most of his life with a swig from a bottle, and yet somehow managed to find a sliver of happiness in such a mad world. He was a master of his craft, a statement which has yet to be proven as truth. "For all its extravagant moments, the essential drama of Edgar Allan Poe's fiction is that of the individual mind, orchestrated and ordered by the life of the senses" (Shear).
Freeland, Natalka. "`One Of An Infinite Series Of Mistakes': Mystery, Influence, And Edgar Allan Poe." Atq 10.2 (1996): 123. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
The well-constructed characters of Poe's stories are analyzed. Many of his characters are influenced by the people in his life and the state of his mind. Their voices are also very distinct, yet many still hold that air of madness. His influence on literature is very clear. This source is endowed with very notable knowledge.
Folks, Jeffrey J. "Edgar Allan Poe And Elias Canetti: Illuminating The Sources Of Terror." Southern Literary Journal 37.2 (2005): 1-16. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
Some of Poe's stories are looked at closely and discussing the fear they can erupt in some people. The terror Poe creates is said to be the work of an author who knows how the mind and people work. It mentions how Poe writes about what society as a whole fear. This source is a great analysis of fear and Edgar Allan Poe.
Krystal, Arthur. "The Usual Suspect." Harper's Magazine 314.1880 (2007): 83-88. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
Poe is credited with pioneering the detective genre. Many of his stories are analyzed. The inspiration for writing murder mysteries was the murder of a young woman in New York. He wanted to solve it himself within his own story. This source is very resourceful, especially with the knowledge of how it all started.
Olson, Ray. "Another Look At: Edgar Allan Poe." Booklist 105.9/10 (2009): 37. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
Poe's contribution to the genres of horror and mystery are noted. By many people, his work is said to be underrated to those who are mainstream. Unlike many other horror stories of the time, there is nothing supernatural about them. Although short, there is enough information for a paragraph or two.
Shear, Walter. "Poe's Fiction: The Hypnotic Magic Of The Senses." Midwest Quarterly 47.3 (2006): 276-289. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
The article mainly focuses on the style in which Poe writes. All of Poe's stories focus on one character's mindset and put them in hostile situations. Many of them have the minds of puzzle solvers, like any detective story would have. This article is very resourceful.
Tonkin, Maggie. "The "Poe-Etics" Of Decomposition: Angela Carter's "The Cabinet Of Edgar Allan Poe" And The Reading-Effect." Women's Studies 33.1 (2004): 1-21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
This passage reads into the pathology of Edgar Allan Poe. It speaks of the loss of his mother and many other women in his life, and the affect they had on him. The influence of their deaths leads him to his most beloved muse. Poe's life is also made a mocking parody as if to explain the context of his mind and his life. This source is one that is seldom used for very little information.
Unrue, Darlene Harbour. "Edgar Allan Poe: The Romantic As Classicist." International Journal Of The Classical Tradition 1.4 (1995): 112-119. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.
Poe's detective stories are analyzed through and through. He has been criticized by countless of critics and scholars on his stories and style. He is also noted to have created the detective story, for he did like puzzles and having to solve them. Poe brought out the darker side of romance, as well as the classics and the ancients. This is a very trustworthy source for its depth of information.
"Edgar Allan Poe Is Born." . A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
This site gives a quick glance at the life of Edgar Allan Poe. From his birth to his death, Poe lived an interesting life. It was an okay source.