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Edgar Allan Poe's experiments in crime and cryptography fiction can be seen to date from 1840 and "The Man Of The Crowd" - a crime story without a crime - and reach their perfect expression in his trilogy of tales involving Parisian detective Auguste Dupin: "Murders In The Rue Morgue", "The Mystery Of Marie Rogêt", and "The Purloined Letter", works which created and established detective fiction as a genre.THE VERY EYE OF DEATH collects these classic stories along with two others: "'Thou Art The Man'" (1844) was Poe moving crime fiction from Paris to a grotesque and burlesque rural America, while "The Gold Bug" (1843), a treasure-hunt littered with human bones, was inspired by positive reaction to Poe's articles on cryptography in Graham's Magazine.Together, these six stories of guilt, murder, subterfuge and "ratiocination" form Poe's complete investigation into a zone where human carnage and concealment inspires others to new heights of intellectual imagination - an affirmation of life through the very eye of death.
Table of Contents
The Man of the Crowd (1840)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
The Mystery of Marie Roget (1842-43)
The Purloined Letter (1845)
"Thou Art the Man" (1844)
The Gold Bug (1843)
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.
FOREWORDThis collection of Edgar Allan Poe's complete crime and cryptography stories opens with "The Man Of The Crowd”, once described by Walter Benjamin as "something like the X-ray picture of a detective story”. As Benjamin goes on to point out, this vertiginous tale is stripped down to basic components: the pursuer, the crowd, and a mysterious man who seems afraid to be alone with his own (guilty) thoughts. If "The Man Of The Crowd” was Poe picking at the boundaries of the putative detection story, he plunged fully into the genre's creation with his gruesome "Murders In The Rue Morgue” of the following year - a tale of "ratiocination”, the process by which the protagonist, Auguste Dupin, combines intellect and imagination in order to solve the most troublesome decapitation-murder case in all Paris. "Murders In The Rue Morgue” is followed by "The Mystery Of Marie Rogêt” and "The Purloined Letter”, forming the trilogy of Dupin tales which established the detective story in literature and paved the way for Sherlock Holmes and the accompanying deluge. "'Thou Art The Man'” is Poe's only detective tale not to feature Dupin; set in small-town America, it more light-heartedly presents a grotesque tale of murder, an assassinated horse and a talking corpse; the mystery is solved, and all explained in a brief coda. The collection ends with "The Gold Bug”, which Poe was inspired to create due to the great interest in the cryptography articles, such as "A Few Words On Secret Writing”, which he was contributing to Graham's Magazine. Poe manages to combine cryptographic elements with a hunt for pirate treasure, allowing for double detective methods on a trail of human bones - life affirmed through the very eye of death.