Edgar Allan Poe's Influence on Literature

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Detective fiction Pages: 4 (1191 words) Published: July 4, 2013
Edgar Allan Poe’s influence on American literature was nothing short of great; not only was he the creator of the detective story and the horror thriller, but he also influenced many great writers, among those William Faulkner and Fyodor Dostoevsky. While Poe is best known for his horror thrillers, being the creator of that particular genre, he has also fashioned two other literary genres, like the detective and the science fiction genre. Throughout his life, Poe read, reviewed, and critiqued many books for various magazines and papers. Poe did not hesitate to attack what he deemed inferior. “Is purely too imbecile to merit an extended critique,” he once wrote of a novel. Because of his readiness to attack what he believed to be unworthy, Poe helped set high standards for American literature (Meltzer 64).

Poe had an influence on both American and non-American writers, like William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Faulkner, who is considered to be the South’s most renowned novelist, will be forever linked to Poe. Both writers were fanatically obsessed with what made mankind good and what made it evil. Their writings also dealt with common elements, like narcissistic doubling, vengeance, and violence (Wyatt-Brown). In Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, the incestuous relationship between two of the characters, Quentin and Caddy Compson, draws a parallel between Poe’s own incestuous relationship with his first cousin, Virginia (Wyatt-Brown). Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist, was also greatly influenced by Poe. Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment depicts a man who commits murder and becomes increasingly guilty throughout the novel because of it, until he is finally urged to confess by the woman he loves. The novel’s plot was prefigured in Poe’s A Tell Tale Heart, which portrays a man who commits a murder and is driven insane by the guilt as he hears the heart beating from underneath the floorboards, where he had stored the body. Dostoevsky once declared...


Cited: Binns, Tristan Boyer. Edgar Allan Poe, Master Of Suspense. Canada: Franklin Watts, 2005. Print.
Meltzer, Milton. Edgar Allan Poe, A Biography. Brookfield: 21st Century, 2003. Print.
Burlingame, Jeff. Edgar Allan Poe, Deep Into That Darkness Peering. Berkeley Heights: Enslow Pub Inc, 2008. Print.
Wyatt-Brown, Bertram. Poe 's Raven: Influence, Alienation, and Art. National Humanities Center. Dec. 1999. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.5
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