EDGAR ALLAN POE AND A DETECTIVE STORY: A NEW CONFIGURATION OF THE OLD ONE AND ITS VARIATIONS
Languages of publication
In the study we analyse Poe's 'tales of ratiocination', inaugurating a detective genre. No one of the Poe's short stories as a whole fully fits with an 'ideal' model of a detective story 'according to the rules', but particular short stories are realisations of certain units of that model. A detective story was constituted as a real non-existing variant derived from the particular short stories as a connection, their single units: great detective; breaking the perspective creating a Watson like type of a narrator, who is opposite to a detective, secret of a locked room; 'analytical' discernments, distance from a victim (all that in Dupin trilogy), a murderer as the least suspicious character in the text (in the short story Thou Art the Man). A real text, 'a detective story according to the rules', which fully fits with the model, comes just in the next step of development of the genre. The same structural model - connection of single units, which had worked independently in the literary texts - is also to organize also Poe's inaugurating gesture in the relationship with previous qualifications of development of the genre. Poe applies to the theme of a crime (constituted in pitavals, black chronicles and calendars, in the novel feuilletone and theatrical melodramas) logic discernment (ratiocination, 'serendipity'), which appeared in rebuses (puzzle stories, or riddle stories). Horror (originally coming from a gothic and robbery novel) goes side by side with deduction. Detailed analysis of detective's solutions shows, that results is not formulated through an abstract deduction, but abduction: stating a hypothesis (with references to knowledge within cultural encyclopaedia), which can explain (presented) state of the cause. Also impossibility for the police to decode a secret in the short story 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' is not caused by a mistake in their logic derivation, but in stating the false premise. It is shown how a detective 'observation' is immerged in judgement ('it is necessary to know what to observe').
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier