Edgar Allan Poe and Raven: Poe's Dark Tales

Poe's reports from the night side, driving, economical, intense, are dreams within dreams, many rooted in the death of a beautiful woman, his favorite theme. The love stories "Annabel Lee," "Ligeia," and "The Fall of the House of Usher" all center on dead beauties, so greatly mourned that they seem to revive. European sophisticates admired the American rebel who dared celebrate decadence, dehumanization, decay. ("Every morning, I pray to Poe," said the French poet Baudelaire.) A "unity of effect," Poe explained, is his most desired outcome. Nothing external matters; the story is a sealed world with its own rules of evidence. C. Auguste Dupin, Poe's master sleuth, is a calm, collected man with a "bi-partite mind," creative and resolvent, able to observe evidence and reconstruct events he never witnessed. As an archaeologist of crime, he is Poe's ideal expression of art controlled by intellect.