The Source of Horror in Poe's Short Stories
In a review published in Aristidean in October 1845, Thomas Dunn criticizes contemporary American and English authors for their imitation both in thought and style of those who preceded them. "They tread," he remarks," on a beaten track because it is well trodden. They follow as disciples, instead of being teachers." This imitation, he views as the reason to their denouncing all novelty as a departing point from standard rules: " to produce something which has not been produced before, in their estimation, is equal to six, at least, of the deadly sins-perhaps, the most unpardonable sin itself …." Regretting for the contemporary situation of English and American literature, Dunn likens it to a wheel that "ever monotonously revolves round a fixed center, progressing without progress." However, publishing this very review due to the appearance of Tales, a collected form of already-published stories by Edgar Allan Poe, he goes on to express his hope that "we are beginning to emancipate ourselves from this thralldom, " and " are escaping the shackles of imitation."
A glance at journals and newspapers published during Poe's lifetime and shortly after his death would suffice to understand that with the exception of one or two critics who blamed Poe for what they called "Germanism" in his stories, almost all of the critics endorsed the individuality of his thought and his originality for which he was eulogized on both sides of the Atlantic. Thomas Dunn even claims that Poe assumed it a crime to