‘… his rich ideality’— Edgar Allan Poe’s Detective

  • Stephen Knight


Poe was the first to create the intelligent, infallible, isolated hero so important to crime fiction of the last hundred years. He wrote three stories featuring this detective, and each differs from the others. The three together imply that the isolated intellectual and imaginative life is a sufficient and successful response to the world and its problems. This crucial nineteenth and twentieth-century ideology is familiar to us now; Poe’s genius was to shape a literary form that gave it persuasive life. A study of the three texts will show this was not easy or always successful, but a pattern emerged which was artistically meaningful enough to be repeated over and over, with relevant modifications, and satisfy an increasing reading public, assure them that disorder could be contained by activating values that leisured readers could all share.


Detective Story Real Crime Story Pattern Rhetorical Skill Early Story 
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Copyright information

© Stephen Knight 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Knight

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