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Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was the son of two travelling actors; when his mother died, he was grown up by John Allan, but was soon covered by gambling debts and turned into drink. He had a happy period when he married his cousin Virginia, and in 1838 he published his only novel, “The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”. All his others works are short stories or collections of short stories:
- “Tales of the grotesque and arabesque”: they are something like horror tales, connected with fear and wonder, humor and imagination.
- “Tales of ratiocination”: these are detective stories, in which there’s a very clever detective helped by an assistant who balances his superiority (such as in “The murders in the Rue Morgue”). This kind of stories (the smart detective and the "normal" assistent) reminds to Sherlock Holmes' novels.

Poe’s tales are quite short in order to be read in one sitting; they are simple, with no action, because they focus on the character’s work of mind and sensations, with deep psychological analysis, and all the elements in the story are thought to convey in a “single effect” at the end of the story. There are very few women, and they are weak and ill, based on his mother and wife; there is also an internal time (the time that his perceived by the main character) and an external time (the chronological time).

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