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Who Wrote the First Detective Novel?

Beyond his life as a literary critic, Poe was writing fiction.  He launched the detective-story genre when he wrote The Murders in the Rue Morgue (featuring mystery-solver C. Auguste Dupin). He published the story in Graham's Magazine, during 1841.

Tuberculosis, which had already impacted Poe's life as a child, returned in 1842 when it struck his wife, Virginia. She was ill, with the dreaded “consumption” for five years. Poe, writing at home, observed her struggles.

During the time that Virginia was sick, Poe kept writing. In 1842, he wrote “The Masque of the Red Death.”

Do you think there was something about Poe, or his life circumstances, which caused him to invent the detective novel?  If so, what would it be?

When he wrote “The Masque of the Red Death,” Poe might have been thinking about tuberculosis and its blood-producing cough. If not, what would the “Red Death” signify?

Poe writes that the “Red Death” came “like a thief in the night.” He also talks about “Darkness and Decay.” Do those clues help to determine whether he is calling tuberculosis the “Red Death” which leads to “Darkness and Decay?”

Would the physical presence of a very ill person, whom you deeply love, help or harm your writing (if you lived in the same home)? Explain your position.


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