Poe the Father of Modern Detective

Who is Edgar Allan Poe? To many people he is one of America’s greatest influential writer of the nineteenth century. He made great contributions to literature, that till this day still continue to prosper. Poe wrote poetry although he is most famous for his short stories in particular his gruesome, suspenseful, and mysterious tales. He knew how to captivate an audience with his choice of words and his vivided ability to describe the setting and events so well. Till this day many well known authors have declared their respect to Poe for creating such an exemplary temple on how a well written story.

Thus Edgar Allan Poe is considered the father of modern detective story. To understand Poe’s literary contribution and how he became the father of modern detective story each aspect of Poe’s life should be further analyzed.

Today Poe is known as one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature.

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That’s because he had a different mindset than every other writer. Some people found him irritable and self centered, but they still enjoyed his writing. He had no interest in what people had to say about him or his writing, though he often bashed other writers and their work. Later on Poe admired many authors such as Shakespeare, and Alexander Pope, because as time went by technology was advancing therefore Poe’s writing became more and more popular throughout the literature field.


What is Detective story, one might ask ? Well a Detective story goes back to the mid nineteenth century, it is a genre of fiction whose plot usually revolves around crime and the investigation.

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The purpose for this genre is to actively engage the reader to solve a mystery, by piecing together the information given alongside the detective. Detective story also encourages the reader to use their imagination and problem solving skills so by the end of the book the mystery is solved analytical, and logically not just simply by luck of guessing or intuition. This is because often times the author implants pandemonium to a situation, and they later balance it up with structure and reason. In this genre the author additionally includes a sidekick like assistant that helps the detective solve the mysterious problem given. So overall in a detective story the author is looking to see if the reader is wise enough to come up with the right solution that will put the case to rest,


Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. His parents were traveling actors, but unfortunately two years after he was born his mother died and his father had already abandoned them. Poe was then taken into custody as a foster child by John Allan hence his last name

and his wife Frances Valentine Allan. He studied at the University of Virginia where he excelled academically. After less than a year he was forced to leave the University because of his gambling problems. In 1827 due to poverty he enlisted in the army and in the same year he published a Pamphlet of youthful Byronic poems, including his first poem “Tamerlane” among many others. In 1829 he published his second collection such as, “Al Aaraaf”, “tamerlane”, and several other minor poems. In 1835 he became the editor of the Southern Literary messenger in Richmond. He later came to edit the Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine, as well as the Broadway Journal. It was during these years that he established himself as a poet, a short story writer, and an editor. He also began publishing some of his best works including, “ The Fall of the House of Usher,” “ The Tell Tale Heart ,” “ The Murder in the Rue Morgue,” and “ The Raven.” After some time poe struggled in life and later died of an unknown cause.


In his time he was very irrelevant because when he died of an unknown death and nobody really cared about it. It wasn’t until later on when upcoming writer used his writing as an example for their writing giving him the credit he deserved. The particular story that gave him the name of the father of modern detective story was his first mystery writing “ The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This story was the frame foundation of how the detective genre started based solely of the format that it was written. The story is about the gruesome murder of Mademoiselle L’Espanaye and her daughter in the Rue Morgue. The murder occurs on the fourth floor, with the windows closed from the inside, and the chimney too narrow even for small animals to go through. The case was impossible to solve even the police gave up trying. That’s when detective C. Auguste Dupin is introduced. Dupin uses analytical, and imaginative reasoning as well as good observations to solve the mystery no one was capable of solving. In general this story emphasizes that modern writing is now all based on the attention to detail. Every little thing can be a clue to solve the murder it’s just the way that it’s approached. This also required logic and reasoning, by being able to get a set of clues and being able to put them together to get the big picture from the small fragments of puzzles. Today a mystery story is property planned out with the goal to or motive set up a crime and the events or clues that lead up to it.

John T.Irwin is the author of the book The mystery to a solution:Poe, Borges and the analytical detective story, which examines the significance of the detective story Poe generated. As well as Borges effort to “ double” his stories. Irwin describes the overall genre as dynamic with its mind body problems. He states that the greatness of the story comes from the uncovering of mysteries, the accumulation of evidence, tracing of clues, and the final solution that ties the overall story together. In Poe’s first story he introduces detective Dupin, who later appears in three more stories. 100 years later his stories influenced Borges’s first three stories. Poe’s first Dupin story was “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” influenced Borges’s first story “The Garden of Forking Path”. The second Dupin story was “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt”, and that influenced Borges’s second story, “ Death and the Compass.” The third Dupin story was “ the Purloined letter,” inspiring Borges’s third story, “Ibn Hakkan al-Bokhari, Dead in his labyrinth.” Although these stories are not the same they came from the same concept set up by Poe, who influenced incoming writers to recreate their own story.

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Poe the Father of Modern Detective. (2021, Sep 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/poe-the-father-of-modern-detective-essay

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