Table of contents for Readings on the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe / Hayley Mitchell Haugen, book editor.

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Chapter 1: The Detective Stories
1. Auguste Dupin: Poe's Burgeoning Professional
by William Crisman
Poe's ingenious sleuth Auguste Dupin, of the serial myster-
ies "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Mystery of
Marie Roget," and "The Purloined Letter," grows into his
role of professional detective. His mysterious nature and
impressive showmanship add to his aura of professional-
ism, which helps earn him large sums of money for his
2. Dupin Is a New Mythological Figure
by Lothar Cerny
Like many heroes in ancient myths, Auguste Dupin fulfills
almost superhuman tasks in his pursuit for justice. With-
out any special physical prowess, he solves the riddles of
the crimes he is faced with, bringing truth to light where
others have searched for it in vain.
3. Poe's Detective Tales Employ Both Critical
Reasoning and Intuition by Jan Whitt
Poe's detective fiction exemplifies his belief that art must
appeal to both reason and emotion. Detective Dupin lives
by this same belief, solving his famous cases with a de-
tached analysis of scientific data and an understanding of
the human heart.
4. Narrator, Detective, Murderer: The Three Faces
of Dupin by George Grella
Dupin demonstrates the triumph of intellect over chaos
and reflects the rational potential within Poe's own fre-
quently irrational and disordered psyche, which presents
itself in other stories.

Chapter 2: Revenge, Murder, and Madness
1. Madness and Drama in "The Cask of Amontillado"
by Kate Stewart                                     80
Montresor in "The Cask of Amontillado" is a quintessential
revenge-tragedy hero. A master of dramatic technique, Poe
symbolizes Montresor's descent into insanity with the
sound of bells ringing throughout the story.
2. In Defense of Montresor by Patrick White           87
Although many readers read of Montresor's act of revenge
with a sense of revulsion, Montresor is neither demented
nor evil. In fact, he has reasons for the violence he com-
5. The Supernatural and Psychological in "The
Black Cat" by Fred Madden                           94
In writing "The Black Cat," Poe intended his readers to
explore both the supernatural and psychological levels of
the tale.
4. Comic Design in "The Black Cat"
by John Harmon McElroy                             101
"The Black Cat" should be read as a hoax on readers who
too readily sympathize with and pity criminals who pro-
claim their innocence.
5. Evil Eye: A Motive for Murder in "The Tell-Tale
Heart" by B.D. Tucker                              114
In "The Tell-Tale Heart," the narrator commits a seemingly
motiveless murder, for the old man has done him no
wrong and the narrator does not desire his victim's mater-
ial goods. A motive, however, is present as the narrator
explains, "I think it was his eye!"
6. "The Tell-Tale Heart" Is a Nightmare About Death
by John W Canario                                  118
"The Tell-Tale Heart" can best be understood when the
narrator of the tale is recognized as the victim of a bizarre,
hallucinatory nightmare.
7. A Link to Macbeth in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
by Robert Mcllvaine                                121
There are numerous allusions in "The Tell-Tale Heart"
that suggest that Shakespeare's play Macbeth was on Poe's
mind when he wrote the story.
Chapter 3: Journeys into Terror
1. Echoes of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in "MS.
Found in a Bottle" by Don G. Smith                 125
An examination of common elements in Mary Shelley's
Frankenstein and Poe's story "MS. Found in a Bottle" suggests
that Shelley's novel served as an inspiration for the story.

2. "A Descent into the Maelstr6m" Can Be Read as
a Tall Tale by Fred Madden
In light of Poe's penchant for hoaxes, parodies, and bur-
lesques, it is not difficult to read "A Descent into the Mael-
strom" as a tall tale.
3. "A Descent into the Maelstrom" and the Quest for
Ideal Beauty by Frederick S. Frank                13E
"A Descent into the Maelstrom" is a kind of anti-Gothic
story in which Poe transforms the Gothic journey from
dark and forbidden places into a quest for ideal beauty.
4. The Mathematician in "The Pit and the Pendulum"
by Rochie Lawes
In "The Pit and the Pendulum," Poe's narrator is clearly a
mathematician who makes use of his knowledge of math
to escape the terror he faces.
5. Suffering and Self-Knowledge: The Path to
Redemption in "The Pit and the Pendulum"
by Jeanne M. Malloy
Apocalyptic images and the theme of transcendence in
"The Pit and the Pendulum" are best understood not as
precursors to the literature of the absurd but as reminis-
cent of the literary tradition of English Romanticism.
Chapter 4: An Atmosphere of Death: "The
Masque of the Red Death" and "The Fall of
the House of Usher"
1. Allegorical Meaning in "The Masque of the Red
Death" by H.H. Bell Jr.
In "The Masque of the Red Death," the seven rooms Prince
Prospero takes refuge in are allegorical representations of
his own life span. Ironically, he chases through these
rooms in pursuit of the thing he fears most: the victory of
death over all.
2. "The Masque of the Red Death" Is a Fable of
Nature and Art by Kermit Vanderbilt
Prince Prospero is an exact portrait of Poe's image of the
artist-hero, and "The Masque of the Red Death" is, in this
light, a fable about nature and art.
3. In "The Masque of the Red Death" Life Itself
Is Death by Joseph Patrick Roppolo
The Red Death in Poe's story is not a pestilence in the
usual sense of the word. Rather, it is life itself, the one af-
fliction shared by all humankind.

4. The Enclosure Motif in "The Fall of the House of
Usher" by Leonard W Engel
Poe employs images of enclosure, a common motif in his
work, in "The Fall of the House of Usher" to create setting,
influence mood, and intensify the mystery of the work.
5. "The Fall of the House of Usher": A Rational
Interpretation of Terror by .M. Walker
Poe's purpose in writing "The Fall of the House of Usher"
was to explore the process of mental derangement. There
are plenty of elements in the tale capable of causing terror
and such descent into madness.
6. Vampirism in "The Fall of the House of Usher"
by Lyle H. Kendall Jr.
References to Madeline in "The Fall of the House of Usher"
are filled with a dark significance: She is a vampire.
For Further Research


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809-1849 Fictional works, Detective and mystery stories, American History and criticism, Fantasy fiction, American History and criticism, Horror tales, American History and criticism, Short story