Is Poe Still Scary?/Poe and the Detective Novel

Oct 11, 2012

For storytellers, horror fans and high school teachers,  Poe is an American original, who shocked the genteel readers of his day with tales of premature death, torture and reanimation. But this is 2012 – the age of Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Jersey Shore and Kim Kardashian …where every chapter is a cliffhanger, and a twenty-two minute episode is considered long-form narrative.  So, The Word of Mouth team asked around… are the works of Edgar Allen Poe still scary today?


Whether or not Poe’s works still send chills through the bones of readers, he remains one of America’s most influential writers. Generations of literature, film, music, graphic novels and fine art have been inspired by his dark, romantic style and fascination with death and morbidity. Poe is often called the father of the horror and science fiction genres, which did not exist in his lifetime. He also played a pivotal role in creating one of the world’s most popular genres…his story The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and its leading man, Dupont, paved the way for modern formula behind the murder mystery or detective genre.  Here to talk more about Poe as originator of the formula detective story is Denise Askin, Professor Emerita at Saint Anselm College. 

Click here to see the comprehensive list of Edgar Allan Poe Big Read events