4. Man of the Crowd - Edgar Allan Poe
MAN OF THE CROWD - (1840)
Edgar Allan Poe
It's a short story by Poe, where the main theme is the city (also Henry James wrote a lot about cities, so we
compare this 2 writing). It's a very intersting story because it's one of the most psychological that Poe has
• Poe spent a lot of time in the south of the US, in Virginia, he spent some time also in the neighbour
of the Bronx, in NY, and he visited many times big cities such as Baltimora, Philadelphia,
Washington, and so on. So he managed to witness the changes that this cities underwear, from the
external point of view but also from an emotional point of view.
Idea of the CROWD
At the end of 19 century (14 years after he wrote the story) a french scolar wrote "the psycology of the
Crowd: It begins to be very important at the beginning of the 20 century, and the majour European
dictators, like Hitler and Mussolini, read this book because it was the first studies in crowd
psycology, regarding how people behave.
− Man of the Crowd: takes place in a city, the narrator is recoring from illness and sitting in front of a
house, maybe he's in a cafè, ad he looks people passing by and begins to recover the sense of energy
that comes from the living in a city, which is a common thing in the throughout the 20 century (one
of the slogans used for NY was "the City that never sleeps" – the idea of the city where you can find
everything, everywhere and at anytime of the day and of the night). th
The issue of the CROWD it's seen by Poe (while writing in the first half of the 19 century) as the relation
between the undividual and the group, but it's also a reflection of crowding (= un'affollamento).
What happens in a situation of crowding?
The idea of crowding is the idea of psycological compression underneath: when you are in a close contact
with other people, yours and others sense of identity seems to suffer, they don't recognize themselves
anymore (crowd and psycological compression goes together).
In Poe's idea
Poe was very much individualist, he belived in genious so he was not so democratic. He thought that there
was a big difference between people who are genious and people who lived a common life.
One of his most famous character is a French Investigator – August Dupin – who's the protagonist of 3 short
stories: The Purloined Letter (la lettera rubata), The Murders of the Rue Morgue and The Mistery of Marie
Rogèt. These 3 stories have a very tentral relevance in the history of American Literature because they were
the first 3 detectives stories of that time; they are considered the 3 stories that begun the genre of the
detectives stories and Dupin is the first detective.
There are some interesting characteristics of what we're talking about in Dupin:
− He's an Aristocrate.
− He's an Intellectual Man.
− He's a mathematics, a scientists and an humanist.
− He doesn't belong to the police (one of the major point in detective novel, because detectives are
always people who doesn't work for governement, they solve criminals cases out of some intellectual
curiosity; they do it because solving cases is a way to train and developpe their intelligents, their
Dupin, in these 3 stories, managed to solve these cases by reasoning.
At the beginnings of the story he lives into an old-fashioned house in Paris, with a friend who will be like
Watson (aiutante – the Friend is also the Narrator).
Dupin spend most of the time at home, he keeps windows shuttered and he spend most of the time readind,
but during the night he became active: he walks around Paris with his friend (the Narrator) – they talk with
each other and Dupin develops philosophical theories and, most important, he solves criminal cases ( "the
Purloined Letter" is the most famous).
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Rizzato Giulia di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingue e Letteratura Angloamericana e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Verona - Univr o del prof Cagliero Roberto.
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