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Gothic Literature in Special Collections

An overview of Gothic Literature held in Special Collections at Hornbake Library

Brief Biography

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) is one of the most prolific Gothic authors to date. He is widely regarded as the architect of the modern short story. Poe wrote in many genres, but he is most widely known for revolutionizing the horror genre, a successor to Gothic literature. He was one of the first to involve deep, intuitive, psychological horror. He often wrote stories that explored the capacity for evil that is inside each person, and what happens when that evil is acted upon. His short stories and poems have influenced many authors after him, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. 

Poe's “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) is particularly important because it is credited by many to be the first modern detective story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle cites Poe’s character, Detective C. Auguste Dupin, as the literary inspiration behind his character, Sherlock Holmes.

Poe’s most famous work is “The Raven” (1845), which achieved overnight success after its publication and made Poe a household name. Poe was the first American writer to live completely off of his earnings from writing, though he struggled financially for most of his adult life.

Special Collections holds several rare and interesting copies of Poe's works, such as a first edition copy of  "The Raven", beautifully illustrated copies of his works, and modern day artist's books. In addition, we also have a large collection of secondary sources on Poe, which may be helpful for further research into his legacy.

Illustrated Editions

Artist Books

Secondary Sources on Poe