The Gothic Romantic Movement combined elements of horror and romance – much like our thriller and horror films today. By the time Poe came along, people weren’t writing as many horror stories – the genre had fallen out of favor somewhat, but Poe was one of the main writers who reinterpreted and rejuvenated the genre. The Romantics focused on awe, trepidation, and terror, and the Gothics focused on the mysterious, such as hidden passageways, ghosts, screams, and magic. So when the two are combined, such as Poe did, you end up with a whole lot of creepy.
As part of the Gothic Romantic movement,
Poe wanted to be as scary and thrilling as
possible, and he particularly enjoyed writing
about death and insanity.
Poe’s stories often take place in dark,
mysterious places. In spite of focusing largely
on horror and suspense, Poe writes about
complex matters like grief and love.
Poe perfected the short story and is
considered the inventor of detective fiction,
although he did also write poems.
Example: Sherlock Holmes
✑“The Fall of the House of Usher” (Short
✑“The Raven” (Poem)
✑“The Tell-Tale Heart” (Short Story)
✑“The Pit and The Pendulum” (Short Story)
The Mystery Writers
of America now
present an Edgar
Award each year to
writer of Mystery
Themes & Motifs
✑ Theme: a central idea or statement;
the big idea or moral such as jealousy,
contentment, or love, but Theme also
includes the author’s opinion or view.
How does the author portray the
Theme and what does s/he have to
say about it?
✑ Motif: a reoccurring element such as a
symbol, a character, a color, a moral –
really, it can be anything.