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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Saturday, December 18, 2010

American Gothic: Edgar Allan Poe in the Shadows of Northanger Abbey

And here is the last of my comments today about the articles in the new Persuasions Online. I heartily recommend the article by Elsie Holzwarth (who also happens to be my friend):

Elsie rivals Monsieur Dupin himself in her ingenious and bravura sleuthing and brainwork speculating about the possibility of Edgar Allan Poe having read, and been inspired by, _Northanger Abbey_ in writing his Auguste Dupin stories which many literary critics credit as giving birth to the detective story genre. She also sniffs out possible intriguing personal connections between the families of JA and Poe.

Elsie has really made me wonder whether Poe read NA, but what I already was sure about is that Poe _did_ read one of the principal, but covert, literary sources for Northanger Abbey, as I explained in my Portland talk---_Hamlet_! As I briefly discussed in my blog last month....

In my opinion, Hamlet is the common source for both Poe and Austen, and is also the modern fountainhead for the detective story.

And behind Hamlet is Sophocles's Oedipus Rex.


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