Essay on Edgar Allan Poes Cask of Amontillado and Poems (Gothic Lit Genre)

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1627 Words
Date:  2021-07-02

Arguably, as a writer, editor, poet, and a critical writer, Edgar Allan Poe brought about numerous changes in the world of literature. As an American author born in Boston, the changes that were brought about by his writing did not only impact the American literature but also influenced the international literature. As one of the pioneers who develop the genre of both detective and horror fiction, Poes writing set him apart from other writers of his time. Besides, according to any anthologies, Poe is credited as the architect of the modern short stories, such as is works, Cask of Amontillado & Poems (Poetry Foundation). Therefore, although Poe is considered one of the most influential writers in the Gothic literature genre, his influence on writers of his own time is limited, but his impact on the literature world that followed him is overly significant.

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To begin with, Poe significantly impacted literature as a whole, based on numerous factors which were mirrored in both his life and writing. Growing up as a young American boy, Poes life was surrounded by tragedy. Firstly, when he was just at the age of three, both his parents passed away. Growing up, Poe became obsessed with both drinking and gambling, besides his excellent literary skills. Having gone through a life marked by both pain and loss, many scholars believe that Poe substantially impacted the gothic literature genre since, through a majority of his works, in which, he wrote haunting tale within which, he explored the dark side of the human mind. Additionally, Poe portrayed himself as an estranged, tortured soul with a great death and violence obsession. For this reason, he was best known for his genre of horror and science fiction. For instance, renowned literary scholars such as Walt Whiteman described Poes works and poetry verses as those who exemplify a rhyming art, which particularly points out an incorrigible propensity towards nocturnal themes. Besides, because Poes literary works were centered on the gothic literature genre, he is believed to have written his works using a demoniac undertone on every page (Poe 20).

Besides, Poe is known to have an enormous impact on the literary world, based on the fact that he was the pioneer of the detective story. In his literary work, Baym contends that Poe invented the detective story, with all its major conventions complete (Baym 1483). This being the case, Poes detective story influence is depicted in his three detective stories, The Murders in Rue Morgue, The Purloined Letter, and The Mystery of Marie Roget. In the creation of these stories, Poe portrayed that he was actually responding to the ongoing scientific debate about what the universe means, as well as how it originated (Frank 170). This aside, Poes legacy of detective fiction is evidenced and clearly seen in Sir Arthur Conan Doyles work, among others. Like Poe, in his literary work, Doyle talks about using reason and method to arrive at their solutions.

Poes great influence in the world of literature is also greatly attributed to the fact that throughout a majority of his short stories, the first element that Poe used is horror. By definition, horror is an overwhelming feeling that is often caused by something that is frightfully shocking, revolting or terrifying. For instance, in his 1famous short story, The Cask of Amontillado, whose central theme is revenge, Poe gives a vivid description of how people in the 19th Century seemed to have a considerable interest in revenge. As such, this particular short story was a popular tale. Besides, Poe was considered a rather grim writer whose story was unveiled from a murderers perspective. This being the case, numerous modern day scholars contend that Poe was an overly talented writer who was able to penetrate the inner psychology of a murderer. Therefore, based on this aspect, he is said to have greatly influenced the international world of literature through being able to create a graphical depiction of both terror and horror that are bound to leave the reader aghast.

In a similar regard, Poes most conspicuous contributions to the Gothic literature genre derives from his diversity as well as the analytical methods that he practiced both as a creative author and as a critic of the works if his fellow authors and contemporaries. Precisely, his mystery writing was recognized by scholars such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as being exceptional and also, the ability to give life to the characters that he portrayed in his writings. According to Poe, he believed that he had a self-declared intention, which was to formulate strictly artistic ideals in a precise milieu that he thought was overly concerned with the utilitarian value of literature (Doyle). Concerning his contribution and implications in the field of literature, Poes emphasis on literary formalism was directly linked to his philosophical ideals. Besides, Poe created for himself a theory of literary creation, which is noted for two critical points. These two points are inclusive of the fact that a work must create a unity of effect on the reader to be considered successful, and finally, the fact that the production of this single effect should not be left to the hazards of accident or inspiration. According to Poe, these particular works should be the results of rational deliberation on the part of the author. This being said, in his works, which were primarily from the gothic genre, Poe made use of this single effect to mostly arouse his readers sense of beauty. Besides, this is an ideal that Poe closely associated with loss, horror and hence creating his works which evoked passion, terror or horror.

While Poe is overly recognized for his great impact on the gothic literature genre, there seems to be a vast agreement in the contention made by numerous scholars that his literary works had a great impact on science fiction. Based on some of his works such as his short story, Cask of Amontillado, it is evident that Poe created satirical works that are, up to the modern day today, considered the forerunners of science fiction. Particularly, most of his short stories leave his readers with a sense of uneasiness due to his vivid description of his vivid description of supernatural, horrifying and supernatural stories. Additionally, it is through some of his works, that Poe is said to have had a substantial impact on the society in which he lived in. For instance, in his poem, The Adventures of Hans, Poe vividly exemplifies Hans as a character who abandons his home due to the changes in society that were unpleasant for Pfaall. Therefore, based on this context, by showing the manner in which Hans solved problems and succeeding all by himself, Poe, in one way or the other, is championing the cause of individualism against democratization (Poe 3: 12). Similarly, Poe exemplifies the sense of individualism in the society, in his poem Mellonta Tauta. In this particular poem, Poe makes more elaborate, his views on society versus the individual. This being the case, Poes literary works can be said to have a great impact on society in the sense that, the things that were deemed good far in the future are the same things that horrified Poe since he saw the society headed in that direction. Thus, in a nutshell, it is evident that Poe, as an influential literary author, was very strongly against the movement towards the idea that what was considered good by the many, outweighed the good of a few. He was, therefore, considered a staunch advocate of individualism.

In the same vein, Poe is said to have influenced the modern day literature in numerous ways. Although he did not enjoy as much fame and wealth, as it would be expected in his time, Poe, through his literary works such as The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Take Heart, among many others, he was recognized as the father and among the pioneers of the detective story. Although Poe in 1849, his stories remain famous and overly identified in the modern day literature. His works have influenced many, ranging from the English, Americans, Russians and French. Besides, his life and literary works have had a direct impact on Conan Doyle, who is well-renowned for being the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Among the many modern day authors, Stephen King is an excellent example of the modern day literary scholars whose works have been significantly influenced by Poes works.

In conclusion, dating from the 19th Century, up to the modern day today, Poe, through his literary works, is recognized as one of the foremost progenitors of the modern-day literature. This is considered both in its popular forms such as horror and detective fiction as well as in more self-conscious and complex forms. In a similar regard, past criticism has revealed Poe as a detached artist who was a little more concerned with displaying his virtuosity than in expressing his soul. Therefore, it can be concluded that, although it is evident that Poe was a product of his times, concerning moral beliefs, prejudice, and social ideas, it is with no doubt that he was ahead of his time, through his new short story writing styles and his new genres of fiction.

Works Cited

Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume 1. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2008, p. 1483.

Doyle, Arthur C, and Sidney Paget. The Complete Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Gramercy Books, 2001.

Frank, Lawrence. ""The Murders in the Rue Morgue": Edgar Allan Poe's Evolutionary Reverie." Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 50, no. 2, 1995, pp. 168-188.

Poe, Edgar A. The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Volume 1. Start Classics, 2013.

Poe, Edgar A., and Ed Brisson. The Cask of Amontillado #1. Action Lab, 2016, p. 20.

Poetry Foundation. "Edgar Allan Poe." Poetry Foundation, Accessed 22 May 2017.

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Essay on Edgar Allan Poes Cask of Amontillado and Poems (Gothic Lit Genre). (2021, Jul 02). Retrieved from

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