The Purloined Letter Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Buranelli examines "The Purloined Letter" within the context of the detective story, comparing it with "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

Graham's Magazine carried in its issue of April, 1841, a short story entitled "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." Nothing quite like it had ever been seen before. The reading public was accustomed to tales of crime, whether fictional or of real events, and the violent deaths of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter would not have been a cause of any particular note, except possibly for protests over the shocking details. What was of note was the novel manner in which the author treated his subject. With "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" Poe became the only American ever to invent a form of literature. He invented the detective story.

He also perfected it. This first detective story may be the best ever written. Only...

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This section contains 2,745 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Purloined Letter Study Guide
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The Purloined Letter from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.