Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd”

  • Antoine Dechêne
Part of the Crime Files book series (CF)


A book dedicated to the metacognitive mystery tale could not exist without a detailed analysis of one of the most (if not the most) important stories in the history of the genre. Based on Poe’s “The Man of the Crowd,” this chapter seeks to establish a chronotope of the metacognitive mystery tale by examining the urban environment in which such narratives take place. I especially focus on the figure of the flâneur described by Baudelaire and Benjamin, moving from Paris to London and New York, before addressing, in the next chapters, two paragons of postmodern literature, allegedly one of its initiators and one of its closing figures: Borges and Auster.

Works Cited

  1. Auster, Paul. 1990. The New York Trilogy. New York: Penguin Books. Original edition, 1985, 1986, 1986.Google Scholar
  2. Bachelard, Gaston. 1994. The Poetics of Space. Trans. M. Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press. Original edition, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. Bakhtin, Mikhaïl M. 2011. Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel. In The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. Michael Holquist, 84–258. Austin: University of Texas Press. Original edition, 1981.Google Scholar
  4. Baudelaire, Charles. 1964. The Painter of Modern Life. In The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, ed. Jonathan Mayne, 1–41. London: Phaidon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Benjamin, Walter. 1973. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism. Trans. H. Zohn. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1999. The Arcades Project. Cambridge and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Original edition, 1982.Google Scholar
  7. Beville, Maria. 2009. Gothic-Postmodernism: Voicing the Terrors of Postmodernity. Amsterdam. New York: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  8. Brand, Dana. 1991. The Spectator and the City in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brooker, Peter. 2002. Modernity and Metropolis: Writing, Film and Urban Formation. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Certeau, Michel. 1988. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. S. Rendall. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press. Original edition, 1984.Google Scholar
  11. Gluck, Mary. 2003. The Flâneur and the Aesthetic Appropriation of Urban Culture in Mid-19th-century Paris. Theory, Culture & Society 20 (5): 53–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hayes, Kevin J. 2010. Rezsch’s Outlines and Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’. Gothic Studies 12 (2): 29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hofstadter, Douglas. 2007. I Am a Strange Loop. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. Kennedy, J. Gerald. 1975. The Limits of Reason: Poe’s Deluded Detectives. American Literature 47 (2): 184–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Magistrale, Tony, and Sidney Poger. 1999. Poe’s Children: Connections Between Tales of Terror and Detection. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  16. McNamara, Kevin R. 2014. Introduction. In The Cambridge Companion to the City in Literature, ed. Kevin R. McNamara, 1–16. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Merivale, Patricia. 1999. Gumshoe Gothics: Poe’s ‘The Man of the Crowd’ and His Followers. In Detecting Texts: The Metaphysical Detective Story from Poe to Postmodernism, ed. Patricia Merivale and Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, 101–116. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  18. Nesci, Catherine. 2014. Memory, Desire, Lyric: The Flâneur. In The Cambridge Companion to the City in Literature, ed. Kevin R. McNamara, 69–84. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nicholls, Peter. 1995. Modernisms: A Literary Guide. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Poe, Edgar Allan. 1975a. The Man of the Crowd. In The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, 475–481. New York: Vintage Books. Original edition, 1840.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1975b. The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Vintage Books. Original edition, 1841.Google Scholar
  22. Sebeok, Thomas A., and Jean Umiker-Sebeok. 1988. ‘You Know My Method:’ A Juxtaposition of Charles S. Peirce and Sherlock Holmes. In The Sign of Three: Dupin, Holmes, Peirce, ed. Umberto Eco and Thomas A. Sebeok, 11–55. Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Original edition, 1983.Google Scholar
  23. Shiloh, Ilana. 2011. The Double, the Labyrinth and the Locked Room: Metaphors of Paradox in Crime Fiction and Film. New York et al.: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  24. Valéry, Paul. 1977. Poetry and Abstract Thought. In Paul Valéry: An Anthology, ed. James R. Lawler, 136–166. London/Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  25. Weinstein, Arnold. 1993. Nobody’s Home: Speech, Self, and Place in American Fiction from Hawthorne to DeLillo. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Dechêne
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiègeLiègeBelgium

Personalised recommendations