Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography

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Renowned as the creator of the detective story and a master of horror, the author of The Red Mask of Death, The Black Cat, and The Murders of the Rue Morgue, Edgar Allan Poe seems to have derived his success from suffering and to have suffered from his success. The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart have been read as signs of his personal obsessions, and The Fall of the House of Usher and The Descent into the Maelstrom as symptoms of his own mental collapse. Biographers have seldom resisted the opportunities to confuse the pathologies in the stories with the events in Poe's life. Against this tide of fancy, guesses, and amateur psychologizing, Arthur Hobson Quinn's biography devotes itself meticulously to facts. Based on exhaustive research in the Poe family archive, Quinn extracts the life from the legend, and describes how they both were distorted by prior biographies.