Edgar Allan Poe’s influence is so wide and so deep as to be nearly impossible to comprehend. He is a force, a literary gravity, from which no writer or reader has escaped for over a hundred years. The inventor of the horror tale and the modern mystery story, Poe’s shadow is long indeed. And, amazingly, he remains to this day not only the unequaled master of the horror story, but one of the half-dozen or so greatest short story writers in American history.
It is a fact little remarked upon that few other writers left behind so little fiction and yet forever altered the literary landscape. Poe’s collected fiction and poetry fills but a single volume, although his critical essays fill many, many more. Yet, born out of a small handful of stories is a legacy that gave us everything from Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot to HP Lovecraft and Stephen King. Yet, even now, Poe is rarely understood in his home country. The finest critical attention he has received has been in France, a distinction he shares with another American Gothic writer, Poe’s literary descendant, William Faulkner.
The dark worlds Poe’s stories inhabit delve deep into the psyche, and what you find there may disturb you, but it is a journey well worth taking.
Edgar Allan Poe Works to Read:
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado, A Descent into the Maelstrom, The Fall of the House of Usher, William Wilson, The Masque of the Red Death, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym.
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