Poe Time

We live in very Poe-ish times. I know that many readers find Edgar Allan Poe’s writing style to be antiquated (convoluted, confusing & a bit too lavish), but I think we live in a time that Poe would understand.

During his lifetime, Poe’s most notable stories were largely ignored or misunderstood. He made more money as a critic with scathing reviews of his contemporaries. His rabid approach to tearing into the work of his contemporaries is a slower, print version, of the cultural and political critics on TV, radio and the Internet today.

Poe wrote about revenge, addiction, obsession, violence, loss of love and death. That sounds a bit like the nightly TV schedule or the movie review pages in the paper. Poe didn’t have car chases, computer hacking, electronic surveillance equipment, forensic investigators or the Internet, but the essential ingredients — the people in his stories — are very much like the characters in contemporary fiction.

Dupin, his detective in “The Purloined Letter” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” uses deductive reasoning, astute observations of people and logic — very much like current fictional detectives. Poe’s use of the first person narrative feels reminiscent of popular noir fiction. And the mixed — or outright suspicious — motives of his narrators is completely 21st century. His vivid, detailed descriptive passages would fit into the work of many contemporary genre writers.

That’s why I felt drawn to his work and inspired to write my own Poe-ish novella.

It’s POE time!


  1. What an interesting comparison to Poe and the present day media. I think he had more literary skill that many of the talking heads we have today. Great post.

    • Candy

      Yes, Poe was definitely a better writer, but I think he’d enjoy the crazy mix of ideas shouted out loud in the current media. He’d critique it all — and harshly — but the wild mix of voices would appeal to his most outrageous instincts.

      I hope you’ll check out my Poe-inspired contemporary ebook — POED. It’s my tribute to the master of paranoia and the voice of the narrator.

  2. Metan

    I read POED over the weekend and really enjoyed it. The Usher Institute was a great setting and the ending unexpected 🙂

    • Candy

      Please post a review on Amazon when you can. You’d be the first!

      I wanted to recreate the Poe one-two-punch in an updated setting. FYI… that part of the city is as described except, of course, for that pesky institute that is fictional.

      • Metan

        I expected that the Usher Institute was fictional, but if you were bad enough, and rich enough…. 😉

        • Candy

          To paraphrase F.Scott Fitzgerald — the rich are different, they have a boatload of money!

          When Sandy hit NYC, the disparity in wealth was evident in ways that are unusual most of the time. The rich are different. They moved out of their downtown lofts and high rise buildings, and into fancy hotels with their dogs in tow, turning a challenging (powerless) experience into a spa vacation. Maybe the Usher exists under another, less Poe-y, name?

  3. His stories are so ripe to inspire authors such as yourself to take his ideas to another level. I’ve often wondered why more movies haven’t been made from his stories, but I suppose it’s just a matter of time until the right director comes along. Now that you’ve drawn inspiration from Shelley, Stoker, and Poe, who’s next?

    • Candy

      Hee Hee… playing with a radical interpretation of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde…

      I does surprise me that relatively few Poe movies have been made, but I feel like the time is right and we may see more of them soon. His brand of paranoia is totally 21st century!

  4. I find Poe was able to dance on the dark side of life which made haunting look charming and made horrifying look beautiful. I find contemporary authors who delve in the dark do so with less style. It would be wonderful to see more people tackle this attitude with such flair in contemporary literature.

    • Candy

      It’s true that many contemporary authors approach the dark side with more gore than gorgeous prose. I hope you’ll give my POED a chance, as it’s a tribute to both Poe’s ideas and his language.