Edgar Allan Poe
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Poe invented the detective story with his enterprising sleuth C. Auguste Dupin pre-dating even Sherlock Holmes. He wrote a series of stories starring Dupin, most notably The Murders in the Rue Morgue. This collection—edited by Poe scholar (and The Poe Shadow author) Matthew Pearl—is a great collection of one of Poe's best characters.
Poe only completed one novel in his lifetime, and this was it. Poe and his publishers originally tried to convince people that the book was a true-to-life chronicle of the title character, a stowaway on a whaling vessel. Like many things in Poe's life, that was merely a hoax.
Poor Edgar Allan Poe. The first person to write a biography of him was his nemesis and literary rival Rufus Wilmot Griswold (even his name sounds mean) who wrote a libelous (and mostly untrue) biography just after Poe's death. Fortunately, other writers have since taken on the story of Poe's fascinating life and mysterious death. Kenneth Silverman, a Poe scholar, has written one of the best.
English professor and poet Daniel Hoffman offers a unique, fresh take on Poe's biography. It was nominated for the National Book Award and is one of the more interesting Poe biographies.
This novel imagines the days after Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious 1849 death in Baltimore. Author Pearl imagines a fictional Poe fan named Quentin Clark who takes it upon himself to discover the truth behind his idol's demise. It's an entertaining examination of one of literature's great mysteries.
There are several editions and collections of Poe's many short stories and poems. Find one and curl up on a dark and stormy night. Poe believed that the ideal tale was one that could be read in a single sitting, so that the drama and tension could be sustained. The result was some of the best stories in American fiction.