National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

The Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

by Edgar Allan Poe

I would give the world to embody one half the ideas afloat in my imagination.


Edgar Allan Poe, 1848 (Courtesy of the Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia)

Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, perfected the horror tale, and first articulated the theory of the modern short story as well as the idea of pure poetry. A hero of Dostoevsky, Baudelaire, and Nabokov, Poe has never been entirely respectable to American critics because of his twin “faults”: being too eccentric, and too popular among common readers.

It’s time to say the obvious. No author stays internationally popular for 150 years by accident. Poe is one of the classic authors of American literature—a master of the short story, a magician of the short poem, and a critic of brilliance and originality. And no small part of his artistic sleight of hand is that he appeals to readers from childhood to old age. Let us underestimate him nevermore!

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