Hawthorne, Melville, & Poe can be considered the fathers of the modern form of the short story
What is the short story?
- an uncertain and ambiguous genre
- not a mini-novel
- not a simple tale or account of a simple incident
- not merely an anecdote or sketch
Why Read Short Stories? Short stories are reflective of America: - the fragmentation, chaos, and diversity of American life makes short stories a natural expression - eager, hasty, impatient country responds to the minimal time requirement of the short story
Elements of Short Story - short story should be able to be read in one sitting - (between 1/2 hour and 2 hours to read) - during that time, the reader is at the writer's control; free of external influences or interruptions - writer attempts to create a "single dominant effect - every word contributes to that "single effect"
The inventor of the detective story...
The father of the modern American short story... The architect who helped the world discover science fiction as a literary genre...
All Contributions from Poe!
Poe the Critic
Many people consider Edgar Allan Poe to be one of the finest literary critics of his time. Literary critics examine what other people have written. Through this examination, they often outline what they feel is good writing.
Some critics today say Poe was at his best as a literary critic when he wrote "The Poetic Principle." In it, Poe explains his thoughts on poetry and its creation.
Most Famous Poem
Edgar Allan Poe's most popular poem, "The Raven," tells the story of a man who gets a late-night visit from a mysterious bird that speaks only one word: "Nevermore."
One of the most modern of writers, Hawthorne is relevant in theme and attitude.
Hawthorne's use of psychological analysis (pre-Freudian) is of interest today.
Major Themes in Hawthorne's Fiction:
Alienation, Guilt, Pride, Italian background, fate vs. free will.
First professional writer - college educated, familiar with the great European writers, and influenced by puritan writers.
Displayed a love for allegory and symbol. He dealt with tensions involving: light versus dark; warmth versus cold; faith versus doubt and heart versus mind.
The story's central symbol is its title character, Rappaccini's daughter Beatrice. She functions primarily as a symbol because Hawthorne does not develop her as a character.
Explores research gone wrong, rendered unethical by virtue of the personal motives of the physician-scientist, his isolation from his peers, and the unmonitored nature and progress of his experiment which eventually results in death