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UNIT 3:POE AND THE GOTHIC TRADITION Few would Hazard a challenge to long-standing opinions that Poe was a master of the Gothic horror tale, although many might not as readily be aware that he did not Invent Gothic fiction. When he began to attract widespread attention by Publishing several macabre tales in the Southern Literary Messenger in early 1835, critics sounded negative notes concerning his “Germanism,” a synonym for Gothicism, just as they deplored his wasting talents on what they deemed had Become an outmoded type of fiction. Such caveats, as well as many offered over The course of the century succeeding his death, notwithstanding Poe’s Gothic Tales, are what have typically attracted greatest numbers of readers, and that Allurement is wholly understandable. A descent from such British milestones in Literary Gothicism as Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), William Beckford’s Vathek (1786), W. H. Ireland’s The Abbess (1798), or Sir Walter Scott’s The Bride of Lammermoor (1819) is evident in Poe’s writings. In his own Day the brief tale of terror, familiarly known to the Anglo-American readership As the signature for fiction in the popular Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Served as Poe’s, and other Americans’, model, time and again, although his Accomplishments in the short story far surpassed what now often reads like so Much dross in the pages of the celebrated Scottish and other contemporaneous Literary magazines from the first half of the nineteenth century. Well into his Literary career, in his second review of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, Poe alluded to the fine “tales of effect [to be found] in the earlier Numbers of Blackwood [which were] relished by every man of genius” (E&R, 573). In his mind such effect, or unity of impression, was inevitably coupled With “terror, or passion, or horror.” THE DETECTIVE STORY Edgar Allan Poe is commonly regarded as the father of detective fiction. In the three Stories that feature his amateur investigator C. Auguste Dupin – “The Murders In the Rue Morgue” (1841), “The Mystery of Marie Roget”ˆ (1842–43), and “The Purloined Letter” (1844) – Poe invented the detective story,1 a narrative whose “primary interest,” as A. E. Murch writes, “lies in the methodical discovery, By rational means, of the exact circumstances of a mysterious event or series Of events.”2 Chronicling a search for explanation and solution, such fiction Typically unfolds as a kind of puzzle or game, a place of play and pleasure for Both detective and reader. The popularity of the stories of Poe and his Successors partly derives from this intense engagement with the text where, in the Scrutinizing of evidence and the interpreting of clues, the reader becomes a Detective and the detective a reader. Moreover, a detective like Dupin also Becomes an author, who figuratively writes the hidden story of the crime. As a Story that dramatizes the construction of a story,3 replacing the Unintelligibility of mystery with explanation, detective fiction emphasizes the Potential comforts of narrative: the apparent provision of order, of meaning, Of a metaphoric map in time (with beginning, middle, and end) that seems to Tell us where we are.GOTHIC The gothic romance emerged in England when the novel form itself was Only a few decades old. Thus, when Horace Walpole published The Castle of Otranto in 1764, it was in part a reaction against limitations which the early Novelists seemed to have accepted with equanimity.  The novel of manners and the novel of didactic Sensibility are exposed to the whole sub-world of the unconscious. Sensibility Is shown under pressure. Sexuality, elemental passions and fear now moved to The centre of the novelist’s stage. The word ‘gothic’ initially conjured up Visions of a medieval world, of dark passions enacted against the massive and Sinister architecture of the gothic castle. By the end of the century it Implied the whole paraphernalia of evil forces and ghostly apparitions. The Gothic is characterized by a setting which consists of castles, monasteries, Ruined houses or suitably picturesque surroundings, by characters who are, or Seem to be, 

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