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!