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Edgar Allan Poe - Essay Example

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Edgar Allan Poe

Detective writings are usually built around imitation and repetition, but Poe is not consistent in his reflections about values of originality or imitation. The evident and most prominent aim of Mr. Poe is originality, either of idea, or the combination of ideas. It is hard to overestimate the influence the Poe’s writings produced on the literature process all over the world. He determined the style and structure of detective stories, influenced the theory of poetry and inspired mystical literature of his contemporaries and the descendants as well. Many poets who lived in the same period as Poe were influenced by his style. Lyrics of Alfred Tennyson were influenced by Poe’s poetry as well. Many critics speak about the influence that the works of Poe made on the fiction by Borges. It is known, that Borges translated the writings of Poe and was his great admirer. The commentators find many similar features inherent to the writings of both these authors. For instance, Irwing in his book "The Mystery to a Solution" asks the following question: "How does one write analytic detective fiction as high art when the genre's central narrative mechanism seems to discourage the unlimited reading associated with serious writing" (Irwin, p. 37) He tries to answer this question in his book, and according to his point of view, the center of detective stories written by both writers is self-consciousness, that defines investigation of analytic power, described in fiction. As soon as the mystery of self-consciousness is irresolvable, the detective plot and the reading is to go on infinitely.
Accordingly, disproportion and impossibility to reveal the essence of mystery and endlessness play a significant role in analysis of the writings of both these authors. Of course, the writings by Poe and Borges cannot be regarded as equal, the critics find difficult to define if similar features are more numerous that the odds. This uncertainty that oscillates between similarity and distinction reflects the tendency to self-reflexiveness and division of the identity that are inherent to human nature. When one attempts to learn his consciousness, he needs to fancy a part of consciousness, to observe and investigate the consciousness as a whole, and Irwin in his critical review uses arithmetical progression, paradoxes of Greek culture to prove this viewpoint. The writings taken as a sample are "The Purloined Letter" by Poe and "The Aleph" by Borges. All disproportionate variables stand for a mystery or a puzzle from the writings.
Connections between the reveal of Poe's automatic chess player of Maezel and the detective stories are evident. The characters of Dupin and automatic chess player reflect the division of a human identity and the conflict between mind and body. Superior intellect of Dupin makes other people seem to be predictable robots, however, in "Rue Morgue," "the narrator's description of Dupin's altered physical appearance as he exercises his analytic skill makes Dupin himself sound like an automaton.... It is as if Dupin's body had suddenly become a physical medium for an alien spirit" (Irwin, p. 113).
"Rue Morge" focuses on the problem of division that a human identity experiences. Here a connection between Poe's writings and the stories by Borges can be found "like the labyrinths Borges constructs and alludes to, Poe's story is a puzzle with a half-human beast at the center, a beast that must be overcome in order to prove the protagonist's superior, non-bestial nature." (Irwin, p. ...Show more

Summary

Detective writings are usually built around imitation and repetition, but Poe is not consistent in his reflections about values of originality or imitation. The evident and most prominent aim of Mr. Poe is originality, either of idea, or the combination of ideas. …
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