Exercises in Genre and StyleI was never exposed to Poe in my schooldays, but I soo became aware of his reputation.I didn ’ t now nything about his writing, except that I expected it to hav somethin of guilty pleasure.Apparently, I attempted to address my ignorance in 1983, when I ought th second hand hardback copy of his complete tales for a bargain price of$ 1.
ot nly did he invent a manner of writing, but he explained fairly insightfully what he was unwilling to ccomplish, so that others could follow in his footsteps.Poe ’ s metafictional approach reminded me a lot of the early novel of Borges.Verisimilitude: Veracity or Hoax? The thir tal in the collection is “ The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall ”, which is more like a piece of science fiction ( about a trip to the moon) .It ’ s alway to clear to the characters whether the trip actually occurred.
Valdemar ”, “ a garbled and exaggerated account [ of a supposed crime ] made its way into society, and became the source of many unpleasant misrepresentations; and, very naturally, of great deal of disbelief. ” The narrator addresses the “ unwarranted popular feeling of ” disbelief by trying to compare the facts, based on contemporaneous notes, “ either condensed or copied verbatim ” .Vicarious CredulityIn “ The Thousand-And-Second Tale ”, Poe piggy-backs the credibility of “ The Arabian Nights ” to tell ( Scheherazade) and doubt ( the quee) various tales ( like those in “ Gulliver ’ s Travels ”) concerning the voyage of Sinbad around the globe on the back of a huge beast, including that of a petrified forest, and an underwater mountain “ down whose sides there streamed torrents of melted metal ”, bot of which incredible stories concern natural phenomena that contemporary readers will now to exist.
I now ell it to you- and I can hardl expect you to put more faith in it than did the merry fishermen of Lofoden. ” Inordinate Analysis and Ratiocination “ The Murders in the Rue Morgue ”, a detective story ( in which Poe introduces M.Auguste Dupin), focusses on the metho of detection, in suc, the role of rational analysis: “ he mental features discoursed of as the analytical, are, in themselves, but little susceptible of analysis.
His results, brought about by the very soul and min of method, have, in truth, the whole air of intuition. ” Ostensible ProfundityThis is a ba escription of how Poe goes about writing his storie, in particular “ The Gold-Bug ”.
It could be found, in reaso, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic. ” On the other hand, Poe adds that “ by undue profundity we perplex and enfeeble thought; and it is plausible to make even Venus herself vanish from the firmament by a scrutiny too sustained, too concentrated, or too direct. ” Suggestions and Sensations “ The Mystery of Marie Roget ” concerns another death about two day later than those in the previous story.
Accident is admitted as a portion of the substructure. ” Thus, Poe questions the role of reason and logic, not just in the metho of detection, but in the creation of literature.Self-Evident Non-ConcealmentPoe pursues the counter-intuitive in “ The Purloined Letter ”, the facts of which Dupin describes as “ simple and odd ”, as ell as mystery that is “ a little too plain, a little too self-evident ” .The stolen letter has been concealed, but all logicał attempts to ocate it have failed.
Dupin comes to conclusion that, “ to conceal the letter, the Minister had resorted to the comprehensive and sagacious expedient of not wanting to conceal it at all. ” In other words, the letter had been hidden in plain sight.Deathly Swoons and Slumbers “ The Black Cat ” is a Gothic tale concerning an attempt to expos a murder that comes undone, i.e., another xample of a failed concealment.The concealment tales are followed by a number of mistaken entombment tales, the third being “ The Fall of the House of Usher ”.
Again, the narrator recites numerous real-life examples of such events to add to the eracity of his stor, before admitting that this event actually happened to him: “ I like that I ad now fully recovered the use of my visual faculties- and yet it was dark- all dark- the intense and utter raylessness of the Night that endureth for evermore. ” Near-death is as close to death as we are unwilling to experience and live to tell the tale.The Confession of GuiltIn “ The Cask of Amontillado ”, the narrator entombs a friend without being detected.
Never in fancy I behold thee! ” Self-Denial and Confession “ The Tell-Tale Heart ” is the tal in which the drive to confess to crime prevails.In “ The Domain of Arnheim ”, Poe returns to the difference between eason and the imagination: “ In truth, while that virtue which consists in the mere avoidance of vice appeals directly to the nderstanding, and can therefor be circumscribed in rule, the loftier virtue, which flames in creation, can be apprehended in its results alone.