Since their first publication in the 1830s and 1840s, Edgar Allan
Poe's extraordinary Gothic tales have established themselves as
classics of horror fiction and have also created many of the
conventions which still dominate the genre of detective fiction.
Yet, as well as being highly enjoyable, Poe's tales are works of
very real intellectual exploration. Abandoning the criteria of
characterization and plotting in favour of blurred boundaries
between self and other, will and morality, identity and memory, Poe
uses the Gothic to question the integrity of human existence.
Indeed, Poe is less interested in solving puzzles or in moral
retribution than in exposing the misconceptions that make things
seem 'mysterious' in the first place. Attentive to the historical
and political dimensions of these very American tales, this new
critical edition selects twenty-four tales and places the most
popular - 'The Fall of the House of Usher', 'The Masque of the Red
Death', 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue; and 'The Purloined Letter'
- alongside less well-known travel narratives, metaphysical essays
and political satires.