[[quoteright:160:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Edgar_Allan_Poe_7503.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:160:The world's most famous daguerreotype]]

->"''Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?''"
-->-- '''[[Creator/ArthurConanDoyle Sir Arthur Conan Doyle]]'''

The [[TropeMakers inventor]] of the modern [[HorrorLiterature horror story]] and the modern [[DetectiveLiterature detective story]], as well as an early influence on the [[SpeculativeFiction science fiction]] genre. [[http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/philcomp.htm Poe believed that all stories should be short enough to be read in one sitting.]] He also believed that the perfect subject for poetry is the death of a beautiful young woman[[note]]To be precise, he thought it perfect because it married the "most poetical subject"-- Beauty-- with the "most poetical emotion"-- Melancholy.[[/note]] (which should tell you volumes about [[CreatorBreakdown his own love life]], not to mention the death of his mother and his adoptive mother at a young age). Poe's life was plagued by rifts with his adoptive father, deaths of numerous loved ones, and alcoholism. [[CreatorBreakdown Typical]]. He was also a noted CausticCritic, which undoubtedly earned him a few enemies and tarnished his reputation, despite the critical acclaim that he received.

After Poe's death [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe#Griswold.27s_.22Memoir.22 his literary executor was also one of his greatest enemies in the literary world and sought to destroy Poe's reputation with lies and forgeries]]. ''The Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe'' by James Albert Harrison actually provides evidence from eyewitness accounts that suggest he wasn't quite an alcoholic at all. That said, even without it, he still had way more than enough "inspiration" for his work.

He also created the first notable introverted GreatDetective character of C. Auguste Dupin who, operating independently of the police force, solved crimes via his great observation and reasoning skills while assisted by his {{Heterosexual Life Partner|s}} and roommate, who also narrates the stories. [[Franchise/SherlockHolmes Sound familiar?]]

Along with his detective fiction and poetry, Poe is celebrated for his wonderfully {{goth}}ic and macabre horror fiction which did away with traditional themes of simple ghosts and witches. These stories would go on to influence dozens of authors who would expand and refine the genre, and they were loved most greatly by a certain [[Creator/HPLovecraft Mr Howard Phillips Lovecraft]], an introverted fellow who'd go on to set the tone of horror fiction for the rest of the 20th century. Poe also wrote quite a lot of humor (often ''[[BlackComedy dark]]'' humor, admittedly), which may come as a surprise to those who know his works only from assigned readings in high school.

Poe was a Baltimorean, and "Literature/TheRaven" is the namesake of the Baltimore Ravens.

His only novel was ''Literature/TheNarrativeOfArthurGordonPymOfNantucket''. That he had written a novel while preferring short stories could be explained seeing the {{Troll}} entry.

His works were the inspiration for the first album from Music/TheAlanParsonsProject and for a series of PC mystery games called the ''VideoGame/DarkTales''.

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!!Works by Edgar Allen Poe with their own trope pages include:

* "Literature/TheCaskOfAmontillado"
* Literature/CAugusteDupin stories
* "Literature/TheFallOfTheHouseOfUsher"
* ''Literature/TheNarrativeOfArthurGordonPymOfNantucket''
* "Literature/TheRaven"
* "Literature/TheTellTaleHeart"

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!!Edgar Allen Poe's other works provide examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: "The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion"
* AnsweringEcho: In "Never Bet the Devil Your Head".
--> "What right," said I, "had the old gentleman to make any other gentleman jump? The little old dot-and-carry-one! who is he? If he asks me to jump, I won't do it, that's flat, and I don't care who the devil he is." The bridge, as I say, was arched and covered in, in a very ridiculous manner, and there was a most uncomfortable echo about it at all times-an echo which I never before so particularly observed as when I uttered the four last words of my remark.
* ApocalypticLog: "M.S. Found In A Bottle". Also [[MessageInABottle the obvious]].
* AristocratsAreEvil: "Hop-Frog" among others.
* {{Asexuality}}: He had a wife, Virginia, but he loved her only platonically.
** It may have helped that she was his first cousin (and only thirteen at the time of their marriage), though the fact that he married and loved her, even knowing this, meant he would have been perfectly happy to never sleep with anyone for the rest of their lives together. So, [[{{Asexuality}} the shoe still fits]].
** Actually, the "platonic lovers" thing is up for debate.
* AssholeVictim:
** Many of the targets of retribution get what's coming to them... or [[UnreliableNarrator so we are told by the narrators]] [[BestServedCold pursuing their revenge]].
** The narrator of ''The Black Cat''.
* AuthorAppeal: ''Dead women''.
* AuthorTract: "The Imp of the Perverse".
* AuthorVocabularyCalendar: In particular, the word "arabesque."
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Signora Psyche Zenobia. Only her enemies, she proclaims, ever refer to her as Suky Snobbs.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie:
** No, UsefulNotes/TheSpanishInquisition didn't really kill people with a slowly lowering bladed pendulum, as seen in "The Pit and the Pendulum". Although considering the story is set during the Peninsular Wars, it was never meant to be historically accurate.
** "The Balloon-Hoax": a fictional short story written by Poe that was originally released as being a newspaper article of an actual event. He then showed up at the [[BigApplesauce place]] where the hot-air balloon was supposed to arrive and [[TheGadfly explained to everyone that he'd just fooled them all with his writing]]. It was a publicity stunt and it [[{{Trickster}} worked]].
* BedlamHouse: "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," Poe's personal favorite of his stories.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Long-suffering dwarf Hop-Frog [[TheDogBitesBack finally snaps]] when the king dares to strike his beloved. His subsequent revenge is not pretty.
* BigNameFan: He was a great admirer of Nathaniel Hawthorne, saying that despite his own reputation, he couldn't come close to the level of darkness present in Hawthorne's stories.
* BloodFromEveryOrifice: In "The Masque of the Red Death," the Red Death is a mysterious infection or its personification, whose symptoms include profuse bleeding all over the face and the body, which kills within half an hour.
* BreatherEpisode: In between the heavy stories, Poe published comedies such as [[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Angel_of_the_Odd "The Angel of the Odd"]] and [[http://books.eserver.org/fiction/poe/literary_life.html "Thingum Bob, Esq"]].
* BuriedAlive:
** "Berenice"
** "The Black Cat"
** The story "The Premature Burial", which explores several nonfictional cases and has a protagonist terrified that it will happen to him. It doesn't, but a frightening experience that simulates it helps him overcome his paranoia at the prospect.
** This was also Poe's personal AuthorPhobia; he was notoriously terrified of being buried alive, to the point where he would reportedly often go to sleep wearing a sign informing the reader that he was only sleeping, not actually dead. Being buried alive was (and still is) a genuine PrimalFear. It was common back in a time of poor medical treatment to be declared dead when you're just in a fever-induced coma: waking up in a coffin was ''a real and terrifying'' possibility.
* CampbellCountry
* TheCaseOf: His horror story, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" was an early proto-example of this, before it was properly codified.
* TheCatCameBack: Literally in "The Black Cat".
* TheCavalry: The narrator of "The Pit and the Pendulum", a captive of the Spanish Inquisition, [[DeusExMachina is saved from his death trap prison at the last moment]] by French troops moving into Toledo. This places the story during the Peninsular War (1807-1814).
* DeadMansChest: In "The Oblong Box", a young widower on a sea-journey keeps the embalmed corpse of his wife in a wooden luggage box to transport the body to his wife's hometown.
* DeathTrap: "The Pit and the Pendulum" may be the TropeMaker - featuring, among other nasty things, a DescendingCeiling, [[TheWallsAreClosingIn Closing Walls]] and a BottomlessPit.
* DepravedDwarf: Subverted in "Hop-Frog". The king and his courtiers who torment Hop-Frog and his beloved Trippetta are the depraved ones.
* DepthDeception: "The Sphinx".
* DownerEnding: Almost every time, but "The Masque of the Red Death" is a standout example:
--> ''And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.''
* DrugsAreBad: Well, alcohol is bad, in the sense that it's used to set up misdeeds in "The Black Cat" and "Hop-Frog." Poe was generally realistic about it, thanks in part to personal experience. Maybe.
** And the eponymous "Angel of the Odd" is a divine entity made of bottles and kegs who ruins the narrator's life through a series of {{Contrived Coincidence}}s.
* EvilTwin: "William Wilson" is something of an inversion; the narrator is a VillainProtagonist with a {{Doppelganger}} who deliberately foils his schemes. Ultimately, said doppelganger is revealed to be the living personification of his conscience.
* EyeScream: "The Black Cat".
* ForbiddenFruit
* ForDoomTheBellTolls: "The Bells" is divided into "Sleigh Bells," "Wedding Bells," "Fire Bells," and "Funeral Bells". Guess which is lingered on longest?
* ForTheEvulz: The narrator in "The Black Cat" killed his pet cat, as he explains, for no other reason than knowing that it was wrong to do so.
* FunetikAksent: [[EthnicScrappy Jupiter's]] "Negro dialect" is written this way in "The Gold Bug," with a little bit of {{Engrish}} and BuffySpeak as well.
** The eponymous character of "Angel of the Odd" has his dialogue typed out as it were in a German accent. [[WhatTheHellIsThatAccent Or French. Maybe Spanish?]]
* GasChamber: The narrator of "The Imp of the Perverse" manages this with a "poisoned candle".
* {{Goth}}: UnbuiltTrope.
* GothicLiterature: Popularized the genre in public consciousness.
* GrandTheftMe: "Ligeia." It's a variation though involving swapping bodies ''and'' transformation.
* GrayEyes: He was said to have always-changing light grey eyes.
* HandicappedBadass: Hop-Frog may be a midget with deformed legs, but that doesn't stop him from getting his revenge.
* HerCodenameWasMarySue: Signora Psyche Zenobia in "How to Write a Blackwood Article" writes a story about a lovely and refined lady named... Signora Psyche Zenobia.
* HowWeGotHere: Quite frequent, always overlapping with ForegoneConclusion.
* IllGirl: He was especially fond of this one. Incidentally, they tend to be [[EeriePaleSkinnedBrunette pale]] from sickness, but in a pretty way.
** Arguably TruthInTelevision; Poe's wife was ill for several years prior to her death, but he never saw her as anything less than beautiful.
*** Pretty much all of the women he loved became one of these, which also included his mother, his adoptive mother and his friend's mother.
* IncestIsRelative: Finally found love with his teenage cousin, though their love was [[{{Asexuality}} only ever platonic]]. He never had any children with her. Subverted in that under the laws of most lands, marrying one's cousin isn't incest; before widespread travel it was the rule rather than the exception.
* InspiredBy: His unfinished play ''Politian'' was a fictionalization of a famous duel case of the time.
* InvisibleWriting: In "The Gold Bug", the whole plot is triggered by a piece of parchment being accidentally held near a fire long enough to bring out a message in invisible ink.
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: "The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade" is written as an epilogue to the Literature/ArabianNights, in which Scheherazade makes the mistake of putting modern (for Poe's time) inventions in one of her stories, causing the disbelieving sultan to have her executed.
** Also invoked in RealLife by "Eureka" which postulates absurd theories the modern reader will recognize as the Bohr model, the Big Bang, and general relativity... in 1848.
* KillTheCutie: Poor Virginia.
* KissingCousins: Subverted. According to historians, his marriage with his cousin was [[LikeBrotherAndSister comparable to that of a pair of siblings.]]
* LockedIntoStrangeness[=/=]DiseaseBleach: The old man in "A Descent Into the Maelstrom" [[YoungerThanTheyLook isn't nearly as old as he seems]]...
* LoveAtFirstSight: Parodied and gleefully deconstructed in "The Spectacles", in which a short-sighted young man falls in love with a [[UnreliableNarrator beautiful young]] woman at the theater, and ends up marrying her, only to find out she is actually his own great-great-grandmother from France who wanted to teach him a lesson for not wearing glasses and hitting on unknown women at the theater. The wedding was a fake wedding, of course.
* LoveHurts: Let's put it this way - if the character loves a woman, [[SortingAlgorithmOfMortality she's on death row]].
** This was probably inspired by the fact that basically every woman he ever loved in any way (his mother, foster mother, girlfriends, and his wife) all died young, mostly from tuberculosis.
*** Averted in "Hop-Frog" when Hop-Frog and his beloved Trippetta escape to their own country at the end of the story.
* LovecraftCountry: Helped inspire Lovecraft.
* LukeIAmYourFather: Played for laughs in the comedy story (yes, really) "The Spectacles," where the [[BlindWithoutEm extremely near-sighted]] narrator falls in love with a beautiful woman who turns out to be his great-great-grandmother.
* MacabreMothMotif: In ''The Sphinx''.
* MasqueradeBall: "The Masque of the Red Death"; "Hop-Frog".
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: Contemporaries noted that Poe wasn't as gloomy or spooky as everyone thinks he was, and he often mocked his own persona.
* MeaningfulName: Allamistakeo in "Some Words With a Mummy."
* MoodDissonance: [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] and [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in "Thou Art the Man": the narrator is the one who set up the apparent "miracle," and knows what really happened.
* MummiesAtTheDinnerTable: "Annabel Lee", though [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness it takes a while to realize it]].
* {{Mummy}}: "Some Words With a Mummy", appropriately enough. This is an unusual case where the mummy isn't [[TheUndead Undead]]- he [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum went into a cataleptic state and didn't come out for thousands of years]]. Since he was of a particular group known as the Scarabeus, he was fortunate enough not to get his internal organs removed during embalming.
* NarrativePoem: Several shortish examples, most famously "Literature/TheRaven".
* NightmareRetardant: [[{{Invoked}} Done intentionally in ''The Premature Burial''.]] The whole point of the short story was to serve as NightmareRetardant for the Poe himself.
* NoEnding: "The Devil in the Belfry", among others.
* NoImmortalInertia: "The Facts in the Case of M.Valdemar"
* NoNameGiven: This is actually quite frequent in Poe. It's generally an omission as a result of first-person narration, with the exception of the protagonist of "William Wilson," who refuses to give his name because he's piled too much infamy upon it.
* NoodleIncident: Readers rarely get to learn ''why'' the narrator is pursuing a cold and cruel revenge against his nemesis/victim. There was some slight made back well before the story, but it's never mentioned and most of the time [[ButForMeItWasTuesday the victim doesn't even remember]] what it was.
* NothingIsScarier: In "The Pit and the Pendulum", we ''never find out what is in the pit''.
* TheNounAndTheNoun
* OneBookAuthor: He produced a long list of poems and short stories, but ''Literature/TheNarrativeOfArthurGordonPymOfNantucket'' was his only novel.
* PendulumOfDeath: "The Pit and the Pendulum" is the TropeMaker for this particular DeathTrap.
* PirateBooty: "The Gold-Bug" involves three men - one of them [[SanitySlippage recently bitten by a golden scarab]] - going off on a treasure hunt for Captain Kidd's buried loot.
* ThePlague: In "Masque of the Red Death."
* PsychologicalHorror: A lot of the horror stories have no gore at all, and when there is some it's dealt with quickly.
* RiddleForTheAges: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_allan_poe#Death Poe's own death]], fittingly enough.
* SanitySlippage: Many a Poe protagonist suffers this plight.
* SceneryPorn: "The Domain of Arnheim" is arguably Scenery Porn Without Plot.
** "The Island of the Fay" to a lesser extent.
* SelfParody: In "The Sphinx", the narrator is terrified and thrown into full-blown Poe melodramatics by what appears to be a terrifying apparition of death. It turns out to be just a harmless [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death%27s_Head_moth moth]] magnified by the window he was sitting next to.
** "Eureka" takes Dupin's method of reasoning to absurd conclusions. Which were [[HilariousInHindsight mostly]] [[ScienceMarchesOn right]].
* SerialProstheses: "The Man Who Was Used Up"
* SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror: Poe's works as a whole provide an excellent demonstration of how the scale works. Both his serious stories and his more comical ones tend to be written in the same overall tone, with only certain details and TheReveal at the end determining whether the overall effect is either spine-chilling or morbidly amusing.
* SpoofAesop: "Never Bet the Devil Your Head", one of his less serious stories.
* StableTimeLoop: "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains".
* SpringtimeForHitler: A certain Rufus Wilmot Griswold had a thorn in the side of Poe. After Poe's death, Griswold tried hard to ruin Poe's reputation. Most famously, he wrote a subversive biography where Poe was depicted as arrogant, evil, constantly drunk or high and very mentally unstable. Unfortunately for Griswold, this didn't deter people from enjoying Poe, instead spawned interest in the author and made him a legend surrounded by myths. [[EvilIsCool Who wouldn't want to read a story written by a man who was described as being "evil"]]?
** While Poe's reputation in America suffered thanks to Griswold, Poe's reputation and influence in France kept growing, and eventually worked its way back to the United States where Poe's name was rehabilitated.
* StartOfDarkness: "William Wilson".
* StealthParody: "How to Write a Blackwood Article," in which "sensation stories" (i.e., stories that chronicle the narrator's descent into madness and/or death) are dissected and mercilessly mocked, hints that some of Poe's best-known psychological horror stories like "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" might have been [[{{Troperiffic}} sly jabs at the genre.]]
** Some critics suggest that [[http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/philcomp.htm "The Philosophy of Composition"]] is one of these, but it's more than likely that this isn't the case.
* TakeThatAudience[=/=]TakeThatMe: "The Premature Burial." In the end, having mistakenly thought himself buried alive and found that he wasn't, the narrator overcomes his fears. One of the changes is that he "read no bugaboo tales--''[[HypocrisyNod such as this]].''" (Italics Poe's.)
* TarAndFeathers: "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"
* TemptingFate:
** Whatever you do, please don't doubt odd coincidences, the Angel of the Odd's way to convince you must be read to be believed.
** There's also the Imp of the Perverse, which is that little whispering voice in your head that tries to tempt you into doing something stupid precisely ''because'' you know it's stupid, but you keep imagining what it would be like to do it anyway...
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Too many times to count. Interestingly, these protagonists are almost always [[TalkativeLoon Talkative Loons]] who're clearly nuts, with the exception of the one in "Ligeia", who's merely on drugs and may have seen clearly.
* TitleDrop: A few times, most dramatically in "The Man Who Was Used Up" and "The Man of the Crowd".
* TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth: Quite a few of Poe's stories have a recurring theme of young, beautiful, strong and intelligent women falling [[IllGirl terminally ill]], suffering a slow death and [[VictorianNovelDisease ultimately leaving their partners in deep depression]]. Many point to Poe's cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm, whom he married when he was 27 and she was 13 and, according to sources, had a LikeBrotherAndSister relationship with, up until her death from tuberculosis at age 24, for being the inspiration for those.
* TheToothHurts: "Berenice" is about a young man with a tendency to go into trance states where he can't remember his actions afterward and a growing obsession with the teeth of his cousin/fiancée Berenice. Eventually he wakes up from one such state, surrounded by bloody dental implements and holding a box full of Berenice's teeth.
* TreasureMap: The encrypted message that leads to [[PirateBooty Captain Kidd's buried gold]] in "The Gold-Bug" is essentially a treasure map.
* TwistEnding
* UndeadAuthor: Parodied in "A Predicament", where Signora Psyche Zenobia narrates a story that ends with her having her neck sliced off by the minute hand of a church clock.
* UnreliableNarrator: Poe practically ''created'' the trope, at least in traditional Western literature.
* VictorianNovelDisease: See above.
* VideoGameAdaptation: Several of his stories have received/are receiving these in the ''VideoGame/DarkTales'', a series of PC {{Hidden Object Game}}s from developer ERS.
* TheWallsAreClosingIn: "The Pit And The Pendulum".
* WindowsOfTheSoul: "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether".
-->''"Keeping these impressions in view, I was cautious in what I said before the young lady; for I could not be sure that she was sane; and, in fact, there was a certain restless brilliancy about her eyes which half led me to imagine she was not."''
* WouldHitAGirl: The king in "Hop-Frog" who throws a glass of wine at the dancer Trippetta because she asked him to stop tormenting Hop-Frog. He and the courtiers who laughed pay for their cruelty when Hop-Frog turns them into a human chandelier.
** A [[IncendiaryExponent LIT]] human chandelier, to clarify.
* YouCantFightFate: "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". Each also fits a second trope, respectively WhileRomeBurns and BalancingDeathsBooks.
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: "The Masque of the Red Death". The guests at the MasqueradeBall are all shocked by the tastelessness one fellow displays by dressing as the incarnation of [[ThePlague the Red Death]]. Then someone rips his mask off and finds there's [[NoFaceUnderTheMask nothing underneath...]]

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