Edgar Allan Poe

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EDGAR ALLAN POE Edgar was born in Boston in 1809. Both is parents were actors. His father abandoned the family when Edgar was two years old, and his mother died soon after. After this Edgar went to live with the Allans, but Mr Allan never officially adopted Edgar. The Allans, together with Edgar, went to live in England for five years, then they returned to the United States. Edgar attended to the University of Virginia. He was a good student but Mr Allan did not send him enough money, so Edgar had to gamble to make money. Finally Mr Allan ended his relationship with Edgar. Edgar won a literary contest and later he was working as a writer for a literary magazine. He was very successful, but he still did not make enough money. He married his cousin Virginia Clemm who was very ill and she died ten years later. He became a drunk. He continued to be successful as an editor and to write many great story and poems, but his financial problems continued until his death in 1849. He became famous and important in France because a poet, Charles Baudelaire, translated all his great stories. Edgar is also famous for having invented the first detective stories. Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of these stories, is the literary ancestor of Sherlock Holmes.
EDGAR’S HORROR Edgar’s horror stories, or “arabesque”, are particular. They are often full of precise, physical details and reasoning. He analyzes the mentality of madmen with the care of a psychologist or of a detective.
EDGAR’S DETECTIVE STORIES “Murders in the Rue Morgue” is considered the first detective story. Before Poe the act of murder itself was the most important part of the story; after Poe, the most important part of the story was the collection of facts and the reasoning about these facts needed to solve the mystery.
“WHODUNIT” The detective story, “Whodunit”, the contraction of “Who has done it?”, is one of the most popular forms and is still very popular today. Its inventor was Edgar Allan Poe, who also created the first important fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin. The eccentric Dupin was the inspiration for most famous and eccentric literary detective, like Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. another descendants of Dupin was Hercule Poirot, the creation of Dame Agatha Christie, who is perhaps the most popular whodunit writer in the world. There are many other famous literary detectives in the British School, they were generally about the rich upper classes of society. In the United States the professional detective, a new kind of fictional detective, was born and the crimes were solved in the big American city. One of the most famous is Philip Marlowe, the creation of Raymond Chandler, another famous American fictional detective-lawyer was Perry Mason, created by Erle Stanley Gardner.
THE BLACK CAT The narrator is in prison and he want make a confession. When he was a child he loved animals. He married a woman who liked animals too. They have some animals. His wife thought that Pluto, their cat, was a witch in disguise. The narrator became moody and irritable because he drank too much. One night he cut out Pluto’s eye with a knife. He was sorry for what he had done to his cat but another night he hang Pluto from a tree in the garden because he knew that his cat loved him. The night of the crime there was a fire and he, his wife and his servant just escaped. The day after he went to visit the house. Only one wall of his house remained and on the wall was a strange image: a cat with a rope around its neck. He thought that someone had thrown the cat into his bedroom window in order to wake him and a chemical reaction formed the image. He continued to drunk and one night he saw a cat identical to Pluto except that it had a white area on the neck, the cat followed him at home. The cat loved the narrator, but he hated the cat. The white area became distinct, it was the image of a gallow. One day he was going into the cellar with his wife, the cat almost made him fall. He became furious and grabbed an axe but his wife blocked him, he killed her. He then walled up his wife in the cellar. He thought that the cat was ran away forever. The police when but didn’t found anything. They came back a second time. he was certain that the police would never find the corpse. He hit the cellar with a cane. They heard an inhuman screaming. The police opened the wall and found the wife’s corpse with the cat on her head.
THE OVAL PORTRAIT The narrator and his servant Pedro were travelling in Italy. They saw a castle recently abandoned. Because the narrator was ill and he had a high fever, Pedro decided to broke into the castle and he took the narrator to a small room. This room had many very old paintings, tapestries, arms and modern paintings. They fascinated him, perhaps because he was delirious from the fever. He also found a book that told the story of each of the painting in the room. Pedro lit the candelabrum and the light illuminated a strange little painting. It was the portrait of a lovely adolescent girl she was extremely beautiful and the painting had surprise the narrator because the painting look extremely real. He looked in the book for the story of this oval portrait and he read the following story: the girl in the portrait was very beautiful and joyous, she married the painter, he was passionate, austere and studios, and he loved his Art. The girl loved all things but she hated the Art, she was afraid of Art. It was terrible for her when her husband asked her to pose for a painting. But she was very humble and obedient, and she agreed to pose. She posed for this portrait in a cold, unhealthy room of a turret of the castle. She became ill but her husband did not notice, all his noticed was his painting. His wife was getting weaker and weaker. He worked day and night to paint the woman who loved and who was becoming more and more ill for this love. When he finished the portrait he was entranced in front of the painting, then he looked his wife, but she was dead.
THE TELL-TALE HEART This is the story of a madman. He says that he isn’t, but we are certain that he is. He tells the story of why and how he killed an old man. He loved the old man and he didn’t want his gold. The old man had a strange pale blue eye with a film over it. It looked like the eye of a vulture. This eye bothered him so much that he decided to kill the old man and eliminated the eye forever. Each night, for seven nights he opened the door of the old man’s room and put his head in very slowly, but the eye was always closed. On the eighth night, he made some noise and the old man woke up, said “Who’s there?” and screamed because he was afraid. Then the crazy narrator says that he heard the old man’s heart. This sound was so loud that the narrator was afraid that the neighbors would hear it. He jumped into the room and pulled a bed over the old man. After some times the noise stopped: the old man was dead. He then cut up the old man’s body and hid under the boards of the floor. At four o’clock the police knocked at the door. A neighbor had heard the scream. He told them that he had a bad dream and that the old man was in the country. He also showed them the old man’s gold. Then he asked them to sit which were over the cut-up parts of the old man’s body. At first the narrator felt good, but then became pale, he started to hear the beating of the old man’s heart. It got louder and louder. He was sure that they could hear it too, but they just smiled at him. Finally he could not stand it any more and he told them to pull up the boards to saw the body of the old man.
In “The Black Cat” and in “The Tell-Tale Heart” the narrator do horrible actions because of some physical problem: one drinks too much and the other has had some terrible disease.