Ghent University Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
A literary analysis of Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow
Paper submitted in partial fulfilment of the
Prof. dr. J.P. Van der Motten
requirements for the degree of ―Master in de Taal- en Letterkunde: EngelsScandinavistiek‖ by Liesbeth Van Herzeele
2 Foreword This dissertation is written at the conclusion of my four-year training as ―Master in de taal-en letterkunde‖. Before I start my analysis, I would like to thank a few people who have supported me during the process of writing this dissertation. First of all, I would like to thank my supervisor, prof. dr. J.P. Van der Motten, for the assistance he has given for bringing this dissertation to a favorable conclusion. I highly appreciate the time he has made for guiding me through the process of a literary analysis and for giving me timely feedback. Also, I would like to thank my professors of literature throughout my university career. They have give me a good basis in order to make this dissertation succeed. I would also like to thank my friends and family for the support they have given me. I could not have done this without them.
3 Contents 1. Introduction 4 2. Literary analysis 8 3. Plot 11 4. Symbolism 16 5. Genre 21 5.1 Detective novel 22 5.2 Historical fiction 27 5.3 Thriller 30 5.4 Horror literature 33 5.5 Other genres 36 6. Poe‘s influence 38 7. Setting 47 7.1 Europe 47 7.2 North America 50 7.2.1
Historical developments 50
7.2.2. Slavery 52 7.2.3. Class 55 8. Conclusion 58
4 1. Introduction It can be said without any hesitation or further ado that the nineteenth century American author Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most influential writers of all time. He was the author of several hugely popular short stories and poems, as well as a critic and essayist, and his works are widely read and analyzed up to this day. He is regarded as the writer of the first detective story (―The Murders in the Rue Morgue‖) and was a pioneer in the horror genre. The absurd nature of his tales, the carefully built up tension and suspense and especially his eloquence have made him one of the great authors in literary history. It is only natural that there are a whole host of works not only influenced by, but also based on his oeuvre. In this master‘s paper I will analyze Matthew Pearl‘s much acclaimed novel The Poe Shadow, which deals with the mysterious events surrounding the last days of Poe‘s life. Matthew Pearl is an American author of contemporary fiction. So far, he has published three novels, which have been international bestsellers: The Dante Club (2003), The Poe Shadow (2006) and his most recent novel, The Last Dickens (2009). These works are commonly described as historical thrillers and, as can be derived from the titles, deal with important figures of literary history. Pearl‘s fascination with significant authors is in all probability a side-effect of his education. He grew up in Florida but had Ivy League ambitions and moved North to study English and American literature at Harvard University. He was also a law student at Yale Law School, a fact that can be immediately linked to The Poe Shadow, for three characters of this novel (Quentin, Peter and Baron Dupin) are lawyers as well. Moreover, the novel includes some passages set in a courthouse. Before starting his own literary career, Pearl taught courses on literature, creative writing and gave lectures on literature and law. In this dissertation, I will analyze Pearl‘s second novel, The Poe Shadow. This narrative has many layers, all the more interesting to analyze. First of all, Pearl‘s use of
5 symbolism is an interesting topic to explore. His two main characters represent two major modes of thought or conduct, i.e. rationality and passion, and these opposites clash on several occasions. Pearl leaves us to consider that it perhaps is best to find the golden mean between these extremes. Also the mansion in which the protagonist resides has some symbolic value reminiscent of Poe‘s own ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖. To conclude this part of my research, I will analyze the symbolism in Pearl‘s use of weather elements, in particular rain, as well as the symbolic value attributed to light and darkness, or night and day. Secondly, the novel is an amalgam of different genres and literary techniques, combined into a cohesive work that clearly illustrates the influence of Edgar Allan Poe up to this day. It is for this reason that this work is particularly interesting to study, for it is not merely a straightforward crime novel. Pearl combines elements of crime literature, the historical novel, the thriller genre and horror stories into this novel which borders on nonfictional investigative journalism. Moreover, I will examine the elements of intertextuality that the novel displays. Pearl‘s way of portraying the character‘s psychology instantly reminds the reader of Poe‘s own creations and gives the novel a literary depth worthy of Poe. Apart from studying Pearl‘s use of different generic elements and strategies, I will also undertake an analysis of the setting of the story. It so happens that the novel paints a very accurate picture of nineteenth century North America and Europe. The story is for the largest part set in Baltimore, Maryland; and Pearl succeeds in describing this city in a truthful manner. He mentions many important developments of this era, including the dramatic growth of the cities, the rapid growth of railroads, which became the most important means of transportation, the popularity of temperance movements, the historical reality of slavery and the class distinctions that prevailed in this era. Secondly, an important part of the plot unravels in Paris, and the author does not fail to include the European affairs of the time, such as the rise to power of emperor Napoleon III.
6 The novel received various differing reviews. Many praised Pearl‘s accurate depiction of nineteenth century Baltimore as well as his talent for writing about mysterious events. Most reviewers gave Pearl a great deal of credit for giving ―a reasonable explanation for the events that led to Poe's strange death‖ (Greer) and providing ―new insights into Poe's personal life and literary career‖ (BookMarks magazine1). However, there is also some negative criticism given to this novel. One reviewer criticizes the fact that Pearl uses a first-person narrative, saying that ―[w]e are stuck with [Quentin‘s] voice, his myopic grasp of things and his naiveté‖ (Ebeling). In the first part of this paper, I will explain that this is a conscious choice and strategy of the author, used in order to suck the reader into the narrative and experience the narrator as reliable. The story we read is actually Quentin‘s defense, addressed to the courthouse, so we are presented with a very personal narrative about the journey he himself undertook. Some critics suggest that it would be better if the plot were ‗tighter‘; for example, one reviewer states that ―while the subplots offer intrigue, they rarely advance the plot‖ (BookMarks magazine1). In this paper, I will meet this argument and explain that Pearl‘s use of layering contributes to the richness of the narrative. The intrigue he offers is one of the great assets of this novel and the techniques that are used to achieve this prove Pearl‘s talent as a novelist of this type of literature. His mixture of genre and breaking of conventions make this ―an ambitious and refreshingly unique novel, a welcome change from the typical thriller/mystery fare‖ (Griffiths). We can safely state that there is more to this novel than meets the eye; it is far more than an exciting tale. Analyzing it will give the reader a deeper insight into the different layers of meaning that Pearl intended. As a truly gifted author, Pearl plays with his reader‘s expectations and astounds us with his insights. The clues he uses are thoroughly researched and the theory he presents at the end of the novel is a plausible solution to the age-old mystery
7 of Poe‘s last days. As Mark Lawson accurately states in the Guardian, ―it‘s possible to imagine Edgar Allan Poe enjoying The Poe Shadow‖.
8 2. Literary analysis I will start my research with an analysis of the novel, which will reveal some interesting techniques used by Pearl that mold his story and influence its reader. The Poe Shadow is a homodiegetic first-person narrative with internal focalization, which gives us a rather restricted point of view. Quentin Clark is the protagonist of the story, as well as the narrator and focalizer. The book describes his personal journey to find out the truth behind Poe‘s death. While telling his story, the narrator gives the impression that he addresses the reader directly. This is a very cunning and successful strategy to set up a bond of confidence and trust between the narrator and the reader, a strategy which is also frequently used by Poe. The reader can only support and feel sympathy for the protagonist, and aversion towards the protagonist‘s enemies. Therefore, the reader will also evolve together with the narrator: when the narrator forgives his enemy, so will the reader. When some injustice is done to the narrator, the reader will automatically feel anger and resentment toward the wrongdoers. This is of course the oldest trick in the book, cunningly used by Poe as well as Pearl. Another way to portray a homodiegetic, internal first-person narrative is in the form of an epistolary novel. A classic example of this is Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. Here this technique can also be observed; yet there is a slight, but important difference: we are presented with differing points of view: Mina‘s through her letters and journal, Jonathan‘s and Dr. Seward‘s through their diaries, and so on. What is interesting about this choice of writing, is that it is ―able to demonstrate differing points of view without recourse to the device of an omniscient narrator‖2. In contrast, in more restricted forms such as in Poe‘s ―William Wilson‖, the narrator also tells his story directly to the reader (―Let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson.‖ (Poe 1)) but here we are presented with Wilson‘s point of view alone. This is also the case in The Poe Shadow, since we experience the events only through Quentin Clark. What is still a mystery for him, is also a mystery for us. It is only when the truth is revealed to
9 him, that we are also able to understand. Here we have the disadvantage of having only one side to the story, yet the advantage to this writing style is that the bond between narrator and reader is far more intimate. Pearl‘s choice of narration and focalization thus adds a heightened sense of reliability to the story. The narrator is welcomed by the reader as a friend with whom he has a relationship based on mutual trust, and with whom he sets off on a passionate and zealous journey to find the truth. This trust is for a large part obtained by the personal approach that is used in the novel and of which the following quote is a clear example. Here, Quentin shares his deepest feelings to explain the motive for his passionate search for the truth: Poe freed me from the idea that life had to follow a fixed path. He was America – an independence that defied control, even when being controlled could have benefited him. Somehow, Poe-truth is all personal to me, and allimportant. (343-4) Another interesting feature concerns the level of realism in the story. The narrator provides the reader with some observations or comments, often in footnotes. I implored Duponte to expand on this ill-omened statement in full; he relented only under the condition that I never write of it publicly. If I am at a future date able to relate Duponte‘s revelations touching this point, it must be at a site far more private. (498) or: Unfortunately, I had no means of acquiring this knowledge at the time I discovered the reference during my stay in the Maryland penitentiary. (374) The latter paragraph illustrates the personal approach I mentioned, and it moreover shows us just how Pearl adds verisimilitude to his novel. This note is seemingly written in hindsight, and indicates that Quentin is commenting on his own writings. It gives the illusion that he researched some events afterwards and that it was he who wrote the book that we are reading now. Pearl is thus trying to portray the idea that we are reading some sort of autobiography or report. Or, we can also assume that Pearl uses Quentin as a spokesman for his own findings. This method blurs the boundaries between the author and narrator. I will come back to the
10 aspect of realism later, but it may be interesting to point out that the reader finds out at the very end of the story (in the ―Historical note‖) that this research is indeed valid and undertaken by Matthew Pearl himself. The link to reality he creates is indeed genuine, and gives the reader a strong sense of narratological reliability. Another fact to point out is that the novel is a frame story, i.e. there are different levels of narration within the story. The novel starts with a two-page introduction, in which Quentin prepares the speech he will give in court: ―I present to you, Your Honor and Gentlemen of the Jury, the truth about this man‘s death and life.‖ Then the story immediately cuts back to the very beginning of the events which he intends to describe and explain. At the end of the novel, from chapter 34 onward, we are back in the courthouse. The scenes at court are thus the outer frame in which the main narration is placed. By making Quentin the narrator of the frame story, the author distances himself and emphasizes the bonding between narrator and reader. For this part, we can conclude that even though the point of view of the story is restricted, the narrator is experienced as relatively reliable. This effect is reached by Pearl‘s personal approach and by the level of reality that is present in the novel. In a review, Christopher Benfey states the following: I'm not sure that Pearl and his stand-in Quentin Clark have achieved their stated goal of "the unraveling of the entire mystery of Poe," but their theory of Poe's death is both ingenious and plausible. Of all the things than can be said about the novel, one of its most striking qualities is indeed the degree of verisimilitude that Pearl is able to convey. Quentin‘s quest for answers absorbs the reader and the unraveling of the mystery leaves him in awe.
11 3. Plot The Poe Shadow consists of several interwoven plotlines, which results in a rich, complex novel. The story progresses in accordance to Freytag‘s model, beginning with an exposition introducing the protagonist and narrator. Then there is rising action, which takes place in two geographical spaces, Paris and Baltimore. This part of the story is filled with action, such as chases and murder attempts. The climax or turning point of the story occurs in book five, when Quentin falls ill and subsequently recuperates. Following the climax, there is falling action, followed by the dénouement, when Duponte reveals his findings to Quentin. The novel is concluded with a happy end. In the prologue, we are first of all presented with the frame of the story. Here, the protagonist addresses the court and explains that he will tell the story about his quest for the truth. This introduction can therefore be perceived as a flash-forward, giving us a glimpse of how the novel will end, but also creating a mystery about the reason for the trial. The rest of the novel actually represents Quentin‘s defense, expressed in a personal narrative. In the last chapters the dénouement is set in the courthouse. We are presented with some repetition here, for the speech delivered in the prologue is repeated on pages 462-3. This way, the narrative comes full circle. The narrative starts with the introduction of Quentin Clark, the protagonist and narrator of the story. In what Freytag calls the exposition of the narrative, we are given a description of Quentin‘s background and environment: his place in society, his profession, his love for Hattie, the expectation to propose to her, and so on. Apart from this, the first chapter describes the day on which Quentin witnesses a funeral, ―the saddest funeral ever seen‖ (6). He soon finds out it was the funeral of Edgar Allan Poe, one of his favorite writers with whom he had even corresponded for a while. This insight marks the beginning of Quentin‘s quest, and from this moment onward there is the so-called rising action in the movement of the plot.
12 At this point, Quentin starts his research about the circumstances of Poe‘s death. He discovers Poe was wearing ill-fitting clothes, he searches for the mysterious Reynolds for whom Poe called out at his deathbed, pays a visit to Poe‘s cousin, Neilson Poe, and so on. When he reads an article which mentions that Poe‘s famous investigator C. Auguste Dupin is based on a real individual, ―similar in name and exploit‖ (72), he sets off to Paris. These events are described in book two. Quentin first comes across the name Auguste Duponte in a French journal. Between book one and two, i.e. between the moment on which Quentin discovers the existence of Duponte and he embarks for Paris, there is a time span of one and a half years, of which the book does not relate. This indicates that, for the narrator, this period had no relation to his quest for the truth behind Poe‘s death, and thus has no relevance within his story. When Quentin at last finds Duponte, he proves his great intellect and reasoning skills. This makes Quentin all the more determined that Duponte is the ‗real‘ Dupin he is looking for. Duponte is however unwilling to co-operate in Quentin‘s quest. While in Paris, he continues his search for answers and finds a few new insights, such as the fact that Poe had originally planned a trip to Philadelphia and that he used a false name for his correspondence in the weeks before his death: ―For fear I should not get the letter, sign no name & address it to E.S.T. Grey Esqre.‖ (122) Nevertheless, he does not yet understand the reasons why Poe ended up in Baltimore instead of Philadelphia, or what his motivation was for using this false name. In the next chapter, Quentin meets, or rather: is kidnapped by Baron Claude Dupin, whom he at first thought to be the ‗real‘ Dupin, and his wife and assistant Bonjour. Baron Dupin wishes to team up with Quentin in order to solve Poe‘s death, but Quentin is reluctant and doubtful of the Baron‘s good intentions, and announces that he has found the ‗real‘ Dupin to be Auguste Duponte. The Baron however is not planning to give up easily, and announces publicly that he will travel to the United States in order to ―solve the mystery surrounding the
13 death of that country‘s most beloved and brilliant genius of many literary treats—Edgar A. Poe.‖ (142) Claiming to be the ‗real‘ Dupin himself, his motivation for his quest is gaining fame, being ―lavishly heralded and rewarded as a new hero of the New World‖ (142). Duponte eventually agrees to go to America and assist Quentin in his quest. In book three, the duo is back in Baltimore. Duponte starts his research and Quentin assists him; with Baron Dupin also in Baltimore investigating Poe‘s last days. The action continues to rise when it soon becomes clear that the Baron will thwart their plans, since he himself wants to be the hero who unraveled the mystery. He subsequently becomes the antagonist in the story. From this moment onward, Pearl distinguishes between two quests: that of Quentin and Duponte, and that of the Baron and Bonjour. They are separated, yet intertwined, for they have the same unique goal. The two couples continue to cross each other‘s path, even though they do no co-operate with each other. Already in the early stages of their investigation, Quentin remarks the following. On two occasions during these meanderings, (…) we happened upon the Baron Claude Dupin out with Bonjour. Baltimore was a large and growing city of more than one hundred and fifty thousand; therefore, the odds of any two parties intersecting paths at the right time must have been mathematically modest. There was a magnetism of purpose that brought our groups together, I suppose. (234) In book four, the plot unravels at a steady pace: Duponte continues his rather passive investigation and Quentin takes some action by e.g. following the Baron during some of his excursions. At this point, Quentin notices some changes in Dupin‘s appearance and discovers that he is disguising himself as Duponte. From this moment onward, the chapters are filled with action and turns of events. For example, Quentin is chased by some French rogues. He believes these villains are after him because they think he works for Dupin. Quentin however is able to escape them. When the Baron wants to publicly reveal the results of his investigation, he is suddenly shot before he is able to share his conclusions, which were false according to Quentin.
14 In book five, Duponte disappears from the scene, and the author now concentrates on Quentin, who is imprisoned as a suspect for the shooting. In his cell, he is visited by Hattie and Bonjour. After an apocalyptic scene including the flooding of the prison, Quentin manages to escape and is very ill. He is rescued by Neilson Poe, whom calls for a doctor. This chapter is the turning point of the story. Quentin realizes that Duponte was not the ‗real‘ Dupin, and that Dupin existed only in Poe‘s imagination. He has the insight that ―The Murders in the Rue Morgue‖ was actually ―built as an allegory for the modern state of French literature‖ (399). A few other things are brought to his attention, namely the reason why Duponte agreed to come with him to Baltimore. This was not because he was eager to solve the mystery of Poe‘s death, but because he was persecuted in France by president LouisNapoleon, who was planning a secret coup and was afraid the Duponte would expose his plans. We also learn that the murder of the Baron was a mistake: the bullet was actually meant for Duponte. The villains that terrorized Quentin were hired by Napoleon, in order to sabotage Duponte‘s investigation. Following these insights, some minor events take place, representing the falling action of the plot. Quentin wanders around Glen Eliza, which his great aunt had claimed by means of a legal suit. In the following days, Quentin prepares his defense, with which he is later helped by Peter. The following chapters are the dénouement of the story and deal with the trial which serves as the outer frame. The first pages of the novel described Quentin addressing the judges. In the last chapters, this theme is picked up again. Quentin is expected to witness about the events he experienced and tell the ‗truth‘ about Poe‘s death in order to prevent him from being disinherited and losing all his possessions, including Glen Eliza. In chapter thirtyfive, Duponte explains all of their findings to Quentin, and finally reveals the true circumstances of Poe‘s last days in Baltimore. Here, all the clues come together and all the questions finally make place for insight. The last chapter, chapter thirty-six, offers us a happy
15 end: Quentin continues to be a respected lawyer, having a successful law practice together with Peter and another attorney. Also, he marries Hattie. These events provide the catharsis at the end of the narrative. Pearl cleverly makes us of several plotlines, such as Duponte‘s investigation, the Baron‘s investigation, the trouble between Quentin and Hattie, the threat of the French rogues, and so on. These subplots are entwined up to a certain level throughout the novel, but only truly come together at the very end of the novel. Pearl builds up tension by gradually adding to the mystery, continually raising questions and complicating Quentin‘s quest. Only in the end, he finally supplies us with all the answers, providing the reader with a great sense of catharsis.
16 4. Symbolism The metaphorical nature of literature makes the symbolism used in novels an important part of any literary analysis. Also in this novel, it can prove rewarding to analyze the use of symbolism in order to understand all of its interpretations and implications. Pearl uses some other interesting symbols in order to represent important ideas in the story. These symbols are for example the mirror, which in this case is symbolized by the portrait serving as ―the most magical of mirrors‖ (Wilde 124), that, as I will explain later, illustrates the dual relationship between the masterminds Baron Dupin and Duponte; weather elements; but also the characters can be symbolic, as they represent certain ideas and properties. First of all, the character of Duponte. As I will elaborate later, Duponte symbolizes the human mind and its ability to think rationally. He is the incarnation of reason. Pearl however extends this to an extreme: Duponte is stoic and patient, ―strict and serious‖ in his labors (193); his rationality is never tainted with sentiment or passion. Quentin describes Duponte as reading mechanically and compares him to a literary critic, explaining that ―[t]he critic never lets his reading overtake him; (…) and never wishes to be brought into the crevices of the author‘s mind, for such a journey would relinquish control.‖ (218) Because of his calm nature and cool reasoning he tends to come across as dispassionate and detached. Quite the opposite of this is the passion which becomes incarnate in the character of Quentin. This has also been put in extremes: Quentin is very impulsive and determined, perhaps even headstrong. His cause is noble and his intentions are good, but because of the untamed passion he demonstrates in his quest, he hurts and alienates many people along the way and most importantly, he almost loses himself. We can derive from this that Pearl intentionally emphasizes a clear contrast between the two protagonists. The clashes between the two characters symbolize the friction between the ideals that they represent. By exaggerating their conduct, Pearl shows the dangers of these two extremes. Instead of
17 showing the duality between them and pointing out the most virtuous one, he illustrates that the two are not incompatible, and makes us understand that it is best to find harmony, a middle way between the two extremes. Also Glen Eliza, the narrator‘s colossal mansion has an important symbolical value, as well as a significant part in the story. The house can even be considered a character, just as the castle was in Poe‘s own ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖. In the beginning of the novel, Hattie comments on the size of the mansion, wondering how Quentin can stand to be alone in such an enormous house. He replies that ―there is a certain peace to it, separated from the bustle of the streets and the concerns of other people.‖ (50) We can readily observe that the house here serves as a refuge for Quentin, and later also for Duponte. It is welcoming and reflects a feeling of safety and domesticity. This is an important theme in the novel and runs parallel with Poe‘s ―Murders in the Rue Morgue‖. Here, ―Poe contrasts the violent disorder of Madame L'Espanaye's household with the calm domesticity that Dupin and the narrator experience‖3. This domestic tranquility was something Poe had never experienced in his own life, but which he longed for passionately. The same domesticity is to be found in The Poe Shadow, where it is expressed in the bond between Quentin and Duponte and in the fact that they live together at Glen Eliza. However, this domesticity can also be experienced as restricting and has a claustrophobic side to it, which drives Quentin out on several occasions: ―[s]ometimes I excused myself from the house on an errand; these excursions were most of all sacrificial offerings to my nerves.‖ (198) Yet Duponte rather makes a movement inward, exploring ―different chambers and bedrooms of Glen Eliza [Quentin] had forgotten existed.‖ (217) As the house opens up to him, so do Quentin‘s repressed memories of his mother, father and his childhood.
18 As the story progresses and the plot thickens, we start to understand that Glen Eliza carries a lot of symbolism within the novel. Somewhat later in the novel, the state of the house evolves with Quentin‘s own troubled frame of mind. Duponte seemed to bring some life into the house, so when he disappears, Quentin has lost his companion. Moreover, he is in a difficult situation, threatened to lose all his possessions. When he feels empty, shattered and fragmented, this is reflected in the condition of the house: ―[t]he house, with all its rambling divisions and subdivisions, with its wide spaces, still seemed to have room for only a few particles of myself.‖ (435) The house, however, also gives him strength. When Quentin thinks about its history, the place it has within his family and thus the emotional value it has, he immediately feels encouraged: ―I felt an instant possession of this place and of my family and returned to my desk and to the work at hand‖. (436) Quentin seems to have some sort of symbiotic relationship with his house, of which he says it is all that he possesses (457), and it seems to adapt to his mood. The house is truly part of his life, perhaps even part of himself. A third way in which Pearl makes use of symbols is in his description of the weather. In literature, the weather and state of the landscape outside often reflect the events of the plot or symbolize a character‘s mood, and this is no different in The Poe Shadow. It is most obvious in two instances in the novel, i.e. when the author describes the tempest and during the flood. When Quentin is imprisoned because he is suspected to have murdered the Baron, he is in a very troubled frame of mind. Not only because he fears he will never finish his quest and feels that he failed miserably, but also because he has the feeling that he truly stands alone now. Imprisonment, I might interrupt myself to say, does not merely produce a feeling of being alone. Your entire history of loneliness returns to you piece by piece, until the cell is a castle of your mental misery. (…)
19 There was no word about Duponte, meanwhile. I feared for an outcome worse than my own. I had failed him. Failed in my role to protect him in the operation of his genius. (363) At this point it the novel, it seems as if everything is going downhill and there will be no happy ending for Quentin. All of this inner turmoil is paralleled by some exterior symbolism. The most important one, in my opinion, is the state of the weather outside. The narrator describes a tempest which grows worse by the day, and apparently has even swept away bridges and houses. Analogous with the growing tempest, Quentin‘s situation becomes worse as the public opinion is convinced of his assault on the Baron. (―My lawyer returned, each time with more bad tidings from outside.‖ (366)) Somewhat later, the prison starts to flood because of the incessant rain. At the same time, Quentin starts to get ill, and we will later discover that he was poisoned. As Quentin‘s condition gradually worsens, so do the weather conditions. There are two main symbolic aspects of rain. The first one I have illustrated above: the negative side of rain, symbolizing suffering. In this case, rain serves as ―a synecdoche for all bad weather and thus a symbol of life‘s unhappy moments‖ (Ferber 164). In his Dictionary of Literary Symbols, Michael Ferber illustrates this by mentioning e.g. Shakespeare‘s King Lear, who ―finds wind and rain responding to his inner fury and pain‖ (165). This same metaphor can be encountered in The Poe Shadow, where the storm represents Quentin‘s inner turmoil. On the other hand, rain can also represent fertility, a ―fertilizing force from above‖ (Ferber 164), and accordingly has a positive connotation. This symbolism is used in The Poe Shadow as well. We can, for example, observe that it was because of the flood that Quentin was able to escape from prison. On account of his poisoning, however, he increasingly gets worse; and is eventually saved by Neilson Poe, who calls for a doctor and nurses him back to health. At this point, Quentin‘s mental health improves as well; his physical illness was thus a metaphor for his mental state. As Ferber explains, ―[r]ain is the cure for spiritual dryness or thirst, for
20 the waste land of ―accidie‖ (torpor) or despair.‖ (165) Through the purifying powers of water, Quentin is able to start afresh and continue his quest. He had to go through this apocalyptic scene in order for him to be ‗reborn‘, discovering ―what the soul must learn to do‖ (Ferber 165). I will finish with a last pair of symbols, i.e. light and darkness. These antonyms are widely used in literature, and also by Pearl, who gives their connotations a remarkable twist. Traditionally, on the one hand, darkness is paired with ignorance, and night can be ―symbolic of spiritual error‖ (Ferber 136). Light then represents knowledge and insight. On the other hand, ―night is the traditional time for meditation and study‖ (Ferber 136). This symbolism is also applied in The Poe Shadow. For example, Quentin observes the following. Duponte did not mind the bad lighting in Baltimore. ―I see in the daylight,‖ he would say, ―but I see through in the night.‖ He was a human owl; his mental outings were nocturnal hunts. (234) Instead of following the traditional symbolism, where darkness serves as a metaphor for error and ignorance, Pearl rather makes it a moment of insight: an intellectual insight which exceeds the superficial sight that light offers us. In this analysis of the symbolism that occurs in The Poe Shadow, we came across some important instances of symbolic characterization and metaphorical use of several concepts. Especially the description of the storm at a crucial moment of the plot serves a major semantic purpose, expressing the protagonist‘s inner turmoil. Also the use of the antonyms light and darkness are of significance, for they are loaded with symbolism. For Duponte, the darkness of the night offers enlightenment.
21 5. Genre An interesting angle from which the novel can be observed, is that of genre study. Researching genre will shed some light on the effectiveness of Pearl‘s narrative. As Per Ledin notes, genres are culturally and historically bound; and genre is what the members of a certain society determine or perceive to be a genre. Todorov wonders if genres exist today. We can be sure that genres indeed exist, even though they are no longer easily recognizable or clearcut, if we compare them for example with the ballads, odes, sonnets, tragedies and comedies of classicism that Todorov mentions (qtd. in Ledin:5). Jane Feuer grippingly observes that ―[a] genre is ultimately an abstract conception rather than something that exists empirically in the world‖ (Feuer, qtd. in Chandler). In his text, Ledin includes a quote by Jerry Palmer that is also interesting in the context of Pearle‘s novel. Genre is not a static category, but a dynamic social process that directly influences the reader‘s or viewer‘s interpretation of a text. Genre refers to several simultaneous dimensions in and outside the text, and therefore the notion cannot be unequivocally defined. It is anyhow a wonderful analytical tool to make us comprehend how we interpret texts. (Palmer, qtd. in Ledin:8; my translation) As Ledin explains, Palmer emphasizes the dynamic nature of genres. This may be paired to Ledin‘s remark that genre integrates past, present and future; and that texts are all intertextually linked. Also interesting to note is that genre is characterized by the fact that it is both prototypical and repetitive, but that at the same time there is also variation and change (Ledin, 26). The Poe Shadow is a perfect illustration of all of this. It shows how genres can be innovative and modern, since there is a constant mixing of genres and conventions in the text. Pearl uses our knowledge and perception of genres actively and plays with our expectations of how the novel will evolve. It is impossible to describe this novel in terms of just one genre and hard to pinpoint what exactly is the main genre that is used. The Globe and Mail labeled the book ―historical mystery fiction‖4, but in my opinion, this term is too restricted for the
22 immense variety of genres and styles that The Poe Shadow displays. In what follows I will explain which genres and literary conventions Pearl uses, and how they contribute to the richness and meaning of the book.
5.1 Detective novel First of all, the primary genre that can be linked to the The Poe Shadow is the detective novel. The novel is interwoven with Poe‘s well-known Dupin-trilogy. Poe himself is frequently mentioned as one of the founding fathers of the detective genre. As Sucur points out in the Literary Encyclopedia, Elizabeth Sweeney mentions ―The Man of the Crowd‖ as one of Poe‘s earliest detective stories. More famously, ―The Murders in the Rue Morgue‖, the first story of the Dupin-trilogy, ―constitutes the celebrated prototype of detective fiction as problem story (…)‖ (Porter 24). Also Ray B. Browne agrees with this, saying that ―Playing on the innate desire to solve puzzles—especially those as fundamental as murder and death—Poe and A. Conan Doyle invented the detective story.‖ (Browne 374) I will discuss the link with the Dupin-trilogy later in more detail, so let us now concentrate on the genre of detective fiction as it occurs in The Poe Shadow. It may be interesting to take a look at a few of the ―Twenty rules for writing detective stories‖ that were formulated in 1928 by S.S. Van Dine (pseud. of Williard Huntington Wright). Also Ronald Knox presents us with ten ‗commandments‘, written in 1929, which are similar to Van Dine‘s list of conventions. Studying these rules in relation to The Poe Shadow will show how Pearl uses some of the elements of the detective genre, but also how he crosses some of the boundaries set by Van Dine and Knox. As Marty Roth indicates, all these rules can be recapitulated in four concrete statements: there must be one detective who unravels the crime; there must be one criminal
23 who is a major character in the story; the crime must be murder; there must not be a love story as part of the plot. (Roth 30) First of all, ―there must be a single detective who solves the crime openly and methodically‖ (Roth 30). That way, the reader has ―equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery‖ (Van Dine). This means that the reader has the exact same knowledge as the detective, and that no clues are withheld from him. It is obvious that Pearl follows these two roles closely: the narrative evolves alongside Quentin and Dupin‘s search. Their enigmas and insights are also ours. It is however incorrect to state that the author should not mislead the reader. He should rather ―play fair and mislead‖ (Roth 31), i.e. he should not keep clues from the reader, yet influence him in order to keep him interested and to keep the story going. For example, the author of the detective novel may use the old conjuring technique, and immediately after presentation of the clue introduce a bit of action so exciting and important that the reader forgets all about the casual mention of the clue that went just before (Rodell, qtd. in Roth:31). This clever way of deceiving the reader is also applied in The Poe Shadow. An example of this can be found on page 416, when Quentin discusses the Baltimorean Bonapartes with Henri Montor. These Bonapartes play an important role in the plot. When a tip of the veil is lifted, the author cleverly inserts an action sequence, i.e. a chase on a train. Pearl also deceives the reader the other way around: often, Quentin gives us clues which turn out to be unimportant, and in fact are no clues at all. An example is the search for the mysterious Reynolds for whom Poe called out at his deathbed. Only in the end of the novel, we realize that this name had nothing to do with the circumstance of Poe‘s death. This would-be clue was irrelevant to the solving of the mystery. Van Dine mentions that the solution must always be reached by means of ―logical deductions – not by accident or coincidence or unmotivated confession‖. This is the case in The Poe Shadow, where the emphasis lies on Poe‘s so-called ‗ratiocination‘. The term is first
24 mentioned in chapter one, and clarified as follows: ―ratiocination – employing one‘s imagination to achieve analysis, and one‘s analysis to climb the heights of imagination‖ (14). Quentin frequently refers to it in the course of the novel (it is, for example, defined again on page 151). The culmination of the detective‘s reasoning occurs in one of the last chapters, in which Duponte explains his findings to Quentin. At this point, all the clues come together harmoniously. A concrete example of his rational analysis can be found in chapter 35, when Duponte discusses the periodicals‘ statement that Poe was confused and lost all sense of time because of an alcoholic spree, for he did not remember how he had gotten in Baltimore. ―You do not believe this?‖ I asked. ―It is the weakest kind of argument, not just flawed but obesely flawed. It would be similar to you seeing me on the street one day, and then again one week later, at which time I ask you for directions, and you wonder how it is I had been lost for an entire week. (471) A second example of Duponte‘s reasoning is to be found earlier on. Here, he deduces that Quentin was raised both as a Protestant and a Jew from the way he fumbled with his hat at a crime scene. Feeling it was something of a sacred place, a place of recent death, you reached for your hat. However, rather than taking off your hat – as the Christian does automatically upon entering a church – you secured it tighter on your head – like the Jew in his synagogue. Then you fumbled with it for another moment, showing your uncertain instincts in the matter to remove or tighten it. (103-4) These passages illustrate that the explanations and solutions in the novel are indeed not reached by accident or coincidence, but by means of deduction and reasoning. Van Dine discusses is that there must always be one detective character (in this case, Duponte) and that the detective or investigator should never turn out to be the culprit. Interestingly, this law is followed up only to a certain degree, since the Baron Dupin turns out the be the villain, while he in fact was the first candidate for being the investigator or detective. Moreover, he also conducts research, and we are presented with his theory by the end of the novel. This character can thus be interpreted as both a detective and an adversary.
25 Secondly, it is in accordance with the ‗rules‘, though, that the culprit must be a character who plays a relatively prominent part in the story and with whom the reader is familiar, as the Baron is the main antagonist and indeed one of the key characters with which we are introduced early on in the novel. Another fact concerning the characterization in crime fiction, is that there is often a duo of investigators present, or perhaps it is more accurate to say, an investigator and his assistant. Ab Visser remarks that this is the case in ―The Murders in the Rue Morgue‖, the first detective story in the history of crime fiction: ―(…) the particular detective C. Auguste Dupin, assisted by his ―Watson‖, the nameless narrator of the story‖ (Visser 9; my translation). As Visser indicates, this is also the case in Conan Doyle‘s famous detective stories about Sherlock Holmes, who is assisted by his trusty sidekick Watson. The occurrence of the pair investigator – assistant is thus a traditional element of the detective story and is also employed in The Poe Shadow. Here, we even find a double set of duos. One the one hand, there is the investigator Duponte and his assistant Quentin Clark, who is also the narrator of the story. This forms a perfect parallel with Poe‘s Dupin-trilogy, where the role of assistant and the role of narrator collide. On the other hand, we have the charismatic Baron Dupin and his aide Bonjour. The dynamic between these duo‘s is an important motif in the novel, engendering conflict as well as co-operation. The third set of rules indicates that there should not be a love interest, and ―there should be no literary style‖ (Roth 30). Here one may think that Pearl deviates from this rule, but this can be argued. In my opinion, he does not deviate completely for the love story in the novel is only a minor development. Quentin is constantly searching for the truth, therefore the main goal of the story is to discover the true cause of Poe‘s death and the mysterious events that preceded it. It can however not be denied that there are indeed some romanticized elements in the novel, especially towards the ending. Quentin‘s romance with Hatty and the
26 problems concerning this form a noteworthy subplot. I would like to point out that the presence of such a ‗human‘ element adds to the richness of the novel and makes it less onedimensional than a ‗pure‘ detective story. An interesting deviation that occurs in The Poe Shadow involves the fourth rule, stating that there should always be a corpse in a detective novel, and preferably only one. Van Dine explains that ―three hundred pages is far too much pother for a crime other than murder‖. I would like to argue this point. The main source of suspense in The Poe Shadow does not derive from some grotesque murder or phenomenal crime. It is rather the enigma, the constant stream of questions and puzzles that keeps the reader hooked. The Poe Shadow is what Dennis Porter describes as a ―nonviolent problem novel‖ (Porter 11). The tension is only lifted in chapter 35, where the circumstance are finally explained and the mystery is resolved. Even though there is indeed a murder in the novel (the Baron Dupin is assassinated towards the ending), it is definitely not the main event or source of suspense. One enigma that is left open, is the mysterious ―Reynolds‖ whom Poe repeatedly calls out for during the last hours of his life. Even though this turns out to be an insignificant event for the unraveling of the mystery, the reader is left in the dark during most of the novel. In fact, the author creates a greater mystery around this name, for Duponte declares that ―it might have been the name of a man whose part in a deadly affair of several years past‖ (498). There has been a lot of speculation concerning the implication of this name throughout the years. According to Wolf Mankowitz, the ‗Reynolds‘ Poe meant was Jeremiah N. Reynolds, the American explorer of the South Pole who inspired Poe‘s story ―The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket‖. The last words of this narrative are: ‗And now we rushed into the embraces of the cataract, where a chasm threw itself open to receive us. But there arose in our pathway a shrouded human figure, very far larger in its proportions than any dweller among men. And the hue of the skin of the figure was of the perfect whiteness of the snow.‘ The great white mother-wife from beyond the tomb had at last come to collect him. (Mankowitz, 242)
27 Mankowitz goes on to describe Reynolds as being Poe‘s ―guide to the regions of eternal ice‖ (242). The mystery around the name Reynolds is a remarkable phenomenon in the novel, for it is Pearl‘s way of turning the reader into an investigator himself. By leaving this mystery unresolved, we can turn into a Quentin Clark or Auguste Dupin/Duponte ourselves and start digging for the truth. We can conclude this chapter by saying that Matthew Pearl has interpreted the detective genre in his own way. He stuck to some of the ‗rules‘, yet he also deviated from these conventions in order to create an interesting and moreover original detective novel. The strange events and fascinating puzzles arouse the reader‘s curiosity and make him a participant in the unraveling of the mystery.
5.2 Historical fiction Another level on which to perceive the novel is as contemporary historical fiction, described by Maria Margaronis as ―a no-man‘s land on the borders of fact and fantasy‖ (Margaronis 138). She rightly wonders if literature can reveal truths that are otherwise left unknown to us. To start off, let us take a look at the definition of historical fiction on Wikipedia. Historical fiction is a sub-genre of fiction that often portrays fictional accounts or dramatization of historical figures or events. (…) Historical fiction presents readers with a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and usually during a significant event in that period. Historical fiction often presents actual events from the point of view of people living in that time period.5 We can agree that this is what Pearl does, albeit on a relatively more personal and restricted scale. The episode in history he chooses is a rather small and insignificant event compared to, say, the Paris Uprising that Hugo describes or the Jacobite Rebellions portrayed by Scott. Yet we can be sure that this novel can be classified as a historical novel as well as a detective story, for it is based on real events and an elaborate search of historical documents.6 It is an
28 example of what Lukács describes as the tendency towards biography of modern historical novels. The novel can not be cut loose from the term ‗historical‘ because of its content and the fact that it is set at least two generations in the past, which is Sir Walter Scott‘s criterion for a work to be considered ‗historical‘ fiction. Also, Pearl states that he attempted ―to remain historically faithful to what the characters would have known about Poe around the year 1850, which sometimes differs from what we know‖ (M. Pearl 511). Like a true historian, he tried not to be influenced by the knowledge of the outcome but consulted his sources in an objective manner. What is particularly interesting about The Poe Shadow is that it not merely recites the facts of Poe‘s mysterious last days. In most biographies to date, there are no satisfactory explanations for the events occurring at the end of Poe‘s life. Most authors merely state that ―[t]he cause of Poe‘s death remains in doubt‖ (Silverman 435) and continue to name all the known facts, including Dr. Moran‘s account and the diagnoses of mania à potu, ‗congestion of the brain‘ and encephalitis. Most biographers insist that Poe was an alcoholic and probably very drunk on the night he died. Interestingly, Pearl takes it a step further. He researched the details of Poe‘s last days in Baltimore (which he describes as ―one of literary history‘s most persistent gaps‖ (509)) through various sources. His meticulous investigation allows him to explain some of the strange events that happened the moments before Poe‘s death. Through the medium of literature, Pearl contributes to the knowledge of Poe‘s last days and subsequent death. This contribution and his new insights are listed on pages 510-511, and include the fire at Brooks‘s house, the letter addressed to ―Grey, E.S.F.‖ which was intended for Poe, and the reason why Poe used this pseudonym. The newspaper extracts that are quoted in the novel are from authentic nineteenth century articles. The level of realism in this novel is therefore very high, which is a remarkable fact. When we read Pearl‘s historical note, we may even suggest
29 that his work resembles investigative journalism. Some of the articles the author used can even be consulted by the reader on Pearl‘s website, which includes a ―Poe Death Dossier‖7, showing scans of several newspaper articles and Marguerite St. Leon Loud‘s poem on Poe‘s death. Pearl himself admits that the mystery around Poe‘s last days spent in Baltimore will probably never be truly solved. He nevertheless encourages literary students and Poe enthusiasts to keep digging for answers. After writing his novel, Pearl thought up another interesting theory, that might lead to a new plausible cause of death. He had come across an article relating that Poe‘s body had been exhumed years after his death. The article ―suggested that the great man‘s brain had been visible to onlookers during the procedure‖ (Neyfakh). When Pearl discussed this with a physician, they told him that this might have been an indication of a brain tumor, which ―can calcify while the rest of the body decomposes‖ (Neyfakh). This once more shows what a substantial contribution Pearl made to history. Even though this subject might seem only a triviality, an unimportant event to write a complete novel about, it is nevertheless a passionate, honest account of a quest for a personal truth. A quest in which we, the readers, are involved. And this is what all historical fiction does. It makes us feel, as a protagonist, what otherwise would be dead and lost to us. It transports us into the past. And the very best historical fiction presents to us a TRUTH of the past that is NOT the truth of the history books, but a bigger truth, a more important truth – a truth of the HEART. (Lee) As far as historical accuracy is concerned, it is worth mentioning that Matthew Pearl is included in the author‘s list of the Historical fiction network8, which means that he is recognized as an author of genuine historical fiction. However, we cannot restrict the historical aspect of the novel to the concrete events of Poe‘s last days in Baltimore. Next to this, we must be aware of the fact that Pearl paints a very
30 accurate picture of nineteenth century life in urban America. I will discuss the geographical and temporal setting later in more detail, yet it is important to mention it here, in the context of historical fiction. First of all, Pearl gives a truthful depiction of daily life in a large American city, which is illustrated in, for example, Quentin and Duponte‘s nocturnal wanderings through the streets of Baltimore. Secondly, he describes the life and customs of the moneyed classes, which we can observe in the behavior of e.g. auntie Blum. Moreover, he confrontingly depicts the American slave trade from before the Civil War. Also this aspect of the novel is based on vigorous research. Pearl comments on this in the historical note. Baltimore and Paris as they would have been around 1850 have been reconstructed from many memoirs, guidebooks, maps and literary texts of the time. (512) We can hereby conclude that, next to elements from the detective novel, Pearl also borrows from historical fiction. His investigative efforts give us a realistic image of nineteenth century urban America. Moreover, he provides us with a plausible solution to a historical mystery, based on research and reasoning.
5.3 Thriller Thirdly, The Poe Shadow can also be perceived as a thriller. Thrillers are described very broadly as ―[a]ny novel of suspense that has adventure or action‖ (N. Pearl 124) and is distinguished by ―fast pacing, frequent action, and resourceful heroes who must thwart the plans of more-powerful and better-equipped villains‖9. It is one of the most popular genres of contemporary literature, producing bestsellers at a great pace. James Patterson gives an interesting insight about the nature of the thriller. He confirms that the thriller genre is indeed a very broad one with many subgenres, but in the end it is all about the effect a novel creates: ―By definition, if a thriller doesn't thrill, it's not doing its job.‖ (Patterson, qtd. on Wikipedia9)
31 Also Paul Cobley agrees that the term ‗thriller‘ includes a wide range of genres and subgenres and that the shortcomings of the term are obvious. On the other hand, there are also ―many benefits of its long reach‖ (Cobley 26). Cobley discusses that when a genre is very restricted, ―the potentially wide range of interpretations is, to use Altman‘s phrase (…) ‗shortcircuited‘.‖ (21) For a text to be able to fulfil its full polysemous potential, it is best there are as few generic restrictions as possible. Another strategy to avoid these restrictions is, as I have already discussed, to cut loose from the limitations of one specific genre and blend several genres and influences, as is the tendency in contemporary literature. The Poe Shadow demonstrates all of this semantic multiplicity. When we look at the back flap of The Poe Shadow, there are a few quotes from reviews that interestingly state the following. An absorbing combination of cerebral twists and visceral turns. (Daily Mail) Genuinely thrilling… An unusually arresting piece of crime fiction. (Daily Telegraph) A wonderfully engaging, thrilling 19th-century tale. (Scotsman) We can easily deduct from this choice of words that most people automatically link The Poe Shadow with thriller literature. Even though the Daily Telegraph labels it crime fiction, the term ‗thrilling‘ is consciously used to denote the novel‘s characteristic use of suspense. This is not at all surprising or wrong, for it displays many characteristics of the thriller genre. When we look at the definitions of what characterizes the genre, it seems rather obvious that The Poe Shadow fits the description. Roth briefly mentions some structural components of thrillers, which include ―threats to the social order, heroes, villains, deduction, resolution‖ as well as ―the threat of a conspiracy‖ (Roth 3). These elements are to be found in the novel: the hero is the detective Duponte, the villain the Baron Dupin. The crime is solved through deduction and reasoning,
32 and the resolution is presented to us in the final chapters. It even includes the ―threats to the social order‖. As I will explain later, the novel describes the hierarchal nineteenth century society and the threat of being repudiated from ‗good society‘. It also includes some class criticism. One of the key characteristics of the thriller genre is the thwarting of the villain‘s plan; and this motif is one of the main plotlines of The Poe Shadow: Quentin‘s pursuit of Baron Dupin takes up more than half of the novel. Even though they have the same goal, Quentin disagrees with the Baron‘s underlying motivations and goes to great lengths to beat him, i.e. to discover the true story before the Baron does. He senses that the Baron will exaggerate what really happened in order to gain fame as a mastermind. Quentin‘s techniques to thwart the Baron‘s plans include shadowing him and Bonjour, lurking outside their hotel, eavesdropping by hiding in an autopsy shaft which is used to transport corpses, and so on. Relating to this topic, is the threat of a conspiracy. This is, according to Cobley, ―the thriller‘s prime mover‖ (3). This theme is ubiquitous throughout the novel, for it manifests itself on several levels. First of all, Quentin is outraged by the plan to blacken Poe‘s reputation. A leading character concerning this is Rufus W. Griswold. He spreads lies in order to malign Poe‘s memory, and even includes quotes in his memoir which he wholly invented himself. (…) a scholar‘s preliminary comparison of Rufus W. Griswold‘s memoir with surviving manuscripts of Poe‘s letters has determined that this sentence, along with dozens of others, had been invented by the biographer as part of an effort to depict his subject as ungenerous to friends. (374) Many seem to be out to harm Poe‘s reputation. Instead of researching the events, the newspapers want to report a more sensational story and state that Poe was on an alcoholic spree the night he died. Benson comments on this, lamenting the unfounded criticism the newspapers uttered. Also, he points out how the temperance unions used the lies to show the public the dangers of alcohol.
33 ―The newspapers,‖ he sighed. ―The way they cut up Poe. Those fictions they were printing! The temperance unions here and in New York were keen on using him up. You have seen the articles, perhaps. As though to defeat a dead man to teach a lesson was a triumph. (298) Such a web of intrigue is a classic element of thriller literature. The co-operation of several individuals to spread untruths and the subsequent tendency toward conspiracy links The Poe Shadow directly to the thriller genre and once more demonstrates the influence of it within the novel. Secondly, the novel includes a whole host of action scenes and so-called cliffhangers, of which we find numerous examples throughout the book, such as the kidnapping scene in chapter seven or the chase on the train in chapter thirty. ―You there! Stop! What do you think you are doing?‖ The engineer shouted this at me as he grabbed hold of my arm, but I shook him away hard and he stumbled over a piece of luggage. The passenger who had been speaking, from an overload of confusion, motioned to try to restrain me but stopped cold when he saw from my face that I would not be deterred. Forcing the door open, I leapt onto the bank of grass alongside the tracks and rolled myself down the side of the steep, arched ravine below. (418) Nancy Pearl‘s states that ―[u]nlike mysteries, which are about solving the crime, thrillers are concerned with the act of the chase and sometimes preventing the crime from occurring‖ (124). Of course, as I have mentioned, The Poe Shadow blends several genres and is thus not purely a thriller; yet the influence of the thriller cannot be overlooked. The main goal is solving the puzzle and clearing Poe‘s name, but the ends for achieving this goal include many action-filled passages reminiscent of thriller literature. These passages make up a considerable part of the novel and contribute greatly to the plot.
5.4 Horror literature Here we can also present the link with the horror genre, including the American gothic fiction of which Edgar Allan Poe is an exponent. Even though The Poe Shadow cannot be considered gothic fiction, the novel has strong intertextual links with Poe‘s works. It is
34 therefore safe to state that there are some gothic horror elements to be found in this novel. For example, Allan Lloyd-Smith observes that ―the Gothic is in essence a reactionary form, like the detective novel, one that explores chaos and wrongdoing in a movement toward the ultimate restitution of order and convention‖ (5). This tendency toward rectification is clearly present in The Poe Shadow, where the protagonist‘s quest is based on his desire to clear Poe‘s name and undo the wrongs that were put upon him. (―Poe‘s name can be restored. Snatched away from an eternity of injustice.‖ (74)) In the end, there is indeed a ―restitution of order and convention‖, not only in the case of Poe, but also for the protagonist. The chaotic events he experienced are resolved in a happy end, in which Quentin is welcomed back into his circle of friends and into the upper middle class. Secondly, the setting of the novel is inherently Gothic. The dark, labyrinthic city of Baltimore serves as a typical Gothic mise-en-scène. The author does not leave this feeling of gloom to the reader‘s imagination, but describes it quite directly in the wanderings of Quentin and Duponte in Baltimore, which give us an impression of wilderness within the city. Their nocturnal rambles very much remind us of the ones made by the protagonist in Poe‘s ―The Man of the Crowd‖. In a rather confronting scene, Quentin describes how he once bumped into a stranger on the street. Baltimore, unlike Paris, is quite hard on the eyes after dark. Indeed once, I remember, in the poor lighting, I collided headlong with a smartly dressed stranger. ―Many apologies,‖ I said, looking up at him. The man was muffled in an old-fashioned black coat. His response stayed in my mind the rest of that night: he looked down and walked away without a word. (234) The urban setting, as it is described by Quentin, creates a dreary, gloomy atmosphere. More prominently even is Glen Eliza, the protagonist‘s large mansion which reminds us of a medieval castle. This is a characteristic setting for a horror novel. The house has many rooms, reflecting the obscure and labyrinthic nature of the city. When Quentin is in desperation, the house which he honors so much seems to confuse him even more.
35 (…) this shattered house, Glen Eliza, which I seemed now to float inside rather than live in. As I loped through the upper stories, and climbed up one set of stairs and down another, it only seemed to confirm this feeling—word of my great-aunt‘s suit, indeed, left me asking myself, ―Where in the land am I?‖ (435) As I have already mentioned, and will explain in more detail later, this setting can be directly linked to Poe‘s own ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖. Quentin has a symbiotic relationship with the house, and its dilapidation represents Quentin‘s own troubled frame of mind. Another important feature of horror literature is ―the interplay between reason and emotion, unreason and passion‖ (Lloyd-Smith 8). This theme is very present in the novel, both reason and emotion are strongly represented. Reason is incarnated by Duponte, while passion and emotion are obviously represented through the character of Quentin Clark. The latter is aware of his nature, and comments on this in the following passage. Though I had a respectably quick mind, ability could never outdo passion however much one memorized the pages of Blackstone and Coke. But in this moment, I had a client and I had a cause that I would not see extinguished. (2526) Quentin experiences his passionate nature as a positive character trait; but it might be argued that it is important for him to team up with Duponte, who restrains him a bit and relativizes his enthusiasm. The two powers (i.e. emotion and reason) collide at times, when Quentin‘s restlessness conflicts with Duponte‘s cool and collected manner, yet both have a mutual respect for one another. They have a complementary relationship, and in the end reason and intellect co-operate harmoniously in resolving the mystery. We can conclude that even though the novel cannot be regarded as purely gothic, Pearl invokes a certain ―mood of Gothic strangeness‖ (Lloyd-Smith 33). The novel might even approach what Marty Roth labels ―explained or rationalized Gothic‖ fiction (Roth 33). The gothic horror elements that are present in the novel remind us of Poe and give a gloomy, mysterious dimension to the narrative.
36 It is very striking to realize how all these genres are interwoven in the novel. Due to its fast-paced action, it can be perceived as a thriller, or at least partly. Moreover, there is within the historical aspect, i.e. the non-fictional content, also a hint of the detective story. Pearl‘s research and collection of evidence is very similar to the methods of (fictional) criminal investigators by the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Duponte or C. Auguste Dupin. Some elements even remind us of American gothic fiction, such as the dark city and the stately yet eerie mansion. When we place this in the time frame of the book, we see that all these genres complete each other and are molded together into an exciting narrative. This seems to be the general generic tendency in contemporary fiction: genres are no longer clear-cut and it is difficult to categorize them. As Alison Bone illustrates, this is for example the case with horror and crime fiction. In her article ―Horror shoots back‖, she quotes Darren Nash, saying ―[t]here‘s a neat symmetry there, with crime/thrillers becoming more horrific and horror books becoming more rigorous in their narratives‖. There is thus an obvious tendency towards the blending of genres and blurring of boundaries in all fiction, which might be considered a natural evolution when the market for a particular genre (such as horror) becomes too small. In this aspect, Matthew Pearl is a perfect exponent of this tendency to open up genres.
5.5 Other genres I have discussed how The Poe Shadow transgresses the conventional boundaries of genre, and how different elements are mixed. So far we have concluded that the novel portrays elements of the detective novel, historical fiction as well as some of the thriller genre, and these are definitely the main frames through which the story can be perceived. It is however also interesting to study two genres of which Pearl borrows elements and which therefore can be brought into relation with the novel on a secondary level. These are the adventure story and the romance.
37 First of all, there are some elements that point towards an influence of the adventure novel. There is a quest present, in this case, a quest for the truth. This quest is often endangered by unexpected risks and complications, of which we find ample examples in The Poe Shadow: the opposition of Baron Dupin, the disappearance of Duponte, the imprisonment of Quentin, and so on. Moreover, there is a love interest which is lost, but regained at the very end, which is also a classic characteristic of the adventure novel. Secondly, there are also some characteristics of the romance or love story present. Even though this is only a secondary theme in the novel, it is nevertheless clearly present as a subplot. Quentin repeatedly comments on his relationship with Hattie, which at some point becomes a love triangle when she is engaged to his friend Peter. Also the affair between the Baron Dupin and Bonjour is of some significance within the overall plot, e.g. when Bonjour makes plans to avenge her husband after he is murdered. The main reasons to apply elements of these genres are to make the novel more accessible to the reader and to add some depth to the story. As many literary theorists have remarked, genres are never clear-cut, and the categorization of genres is a is not a fixed process with definable rules. This is also the case in this novel. It is undeniable that there is an extraordinary blending of genres and it is this blending that renders the novel its uniqueness. The story is far less one-dimensional than the ‗pure‘ genres, because Pearl breaks with the conventions and mixes up several appealing elements of numerous genres. Because of this, the story is experienced as multi-faceted and rich.
38 6. Poe’s influence As Allan Lloyd-Smith remarks, ―a study of genre is a study of repetitions‖ (1) and it is commonly known that within literature, there is always an interchanging of themes and styles. Writers influence and are influenced by each other‘s works, a phenomenon commonly referred to with the term ‗intertextuality‘. This is clearly the case in The Poe Shadow, which not only borrows a lot of typical generic elements, but also heavily builds on Poe‘s own oeuvre. As I have mentioned, the main purpose of Quentin‘s efforts is to solve the mystery that for centuries has engulfed Poe‘s last days, or to fill, as Pearl himself states in the historical note, ―one of literary history‘s most persistent gaps‖ (509); and by doing this he gets more and more entangled in Poe‘s life. Quentin wishes to restore Poe‘s name, ―snatched away from an eternity of injustice‖ (74). For this, he uses the method of ‗ratiocination‘ as described and demonstrated by Poe in his Dupin-trilogy. Illustrating the purest form of intertextuality, these three short stories (―The Murders in the Rue Morgue‖, ―The Mystery of Marie Rogêt‖ and ―The Purloined Letter‖) are the primary sources used in the novel and have a direct influence on Pearl‘s own narrative. Apart from this, there are many more references to Poe‘s own fiction. Because these works are so interwoven with one another, it might be hard to spot their concrete manifestations in the novel, but in what follows I will nevertheless attempt to give a full explanation of the intertextuality that is present here. Before Quentin starts his search for the ‗real‘ Dupin, he is in doubt of whether or not to go through with his quest. He has a presentiment that his search might not be an easy one, and that there is potential danger ahead of him. Also, he realizes he will put his family life in danger since he has very few supporters for his obsession. However, inspired by Poe himself, he decides to continue his quest.
39 Even my favorite character, the great analyst Dupin, voluntarily and cavalierly seeks entrance uninvited into a realm that brings unrest. What is miraculous is not the display of his reasoning, his ratiocination, but that he is there at all. (62) It is most striking to observe how Quentin‘s life starts to get entangled with Poe‘s life, and above all with the fictional universe Poe has created. He uses the fictional character Dupin as a motivation in his own world, and when he sees a link between the two worlds, i.e. when he discovers that the character Dupin is based on a real Frenchman, he immediately takes action and travels to France in search of this person. The merging of these different worlds is noticeable throughout the book, and is even directly commented on by the character of Mr. Benson: When you have taken to reading Poe, it is difficult, nay, impossible, to stop his words from affecting you. Indeed, the man or woman who reads Poe too much, I‘d suggest, will believe themselves eventually to be in one of his astounding and perplexing creations. (300) This is exactly the position that Quentin is in: he is so immersed in Poe‘s fictional universe that he believes there is an exact replica of C. Auguste Dupin to be found in reality. He is deluded, unable to distinguish between reality and fiction. Concerning this topic, we can state that The Poe Shadow clearly demonstrates the use of layering. Maria Margaronis remarks that [o]ut of the confluence of modernism and the twentieth century‘s violence new hybrid forms have emerged, from the haunting documentary fictions of W.G. Sebald to the layered graphic novels of Spiegelman. (Margaronis 140) In The Poe Shadow, Pearl‘s fictional universe is based on non-fictional, historical events. Furthermore, within Pearl‘s fictional account another layer of fiction is added (i.e. Poe‘s fiction). It may be interesting to note that in The Poe Encyclopedia, comparisons are made between Dupin and some other major literary characters (Porfiry Petrovitch, Sherlock Holmes and Will Graham). Furthermore, in his review of Pearl‘s novel, Christopher Benfey states that ―the Parisian cohort—a false baron who is a master of disguise, and a lady-assassin named "Bonjour" with a scar across her face—seem to have strayed from a Dumas novel‖. These
40 examples of intertextual links interestingly provide us with another layer of fictionality and clearly demonstrate what Margaronis means when she discusses hybrid forms in contemporary literature. Apart from the Dupin-trilogy I have already mentioned, there is a plethora of references to Poe‘s other works. A noticeable thematic connection is the Doppelgänger-motif which is elaborated in The Poe Shadow and which repeatedly comes up in Poe‘s writings. In the short story ―William Wilson‖, we find one of the more obvious manifestations of the motif of the double. Here, the double is represented in a dualistic way, where one Wilson is good and the other is evil. As is mentioned in The Poe Encyclopedia, ―the angelic Wilson figure stalks his satanic brother to thwart his degenerate schemes‖ (Frank, Magistrale 378). It is very hard not to instantly link this quotation to The Poe Shadow, for here too we have a comparable Doppelgänger-relationship between the characters of Duponte and Baron Dupin, with the latter obviously impersonating the ‗evil‘ side. It is however the ‗evil‘ Baron who tries to manipulate the ‗good‘ Duponte rather than the other way round, even though they have a mutual goal for their investigations (yet a different motivation). Their symbiotic relationship, or ―mystical connection‖ (247) as Quentin describes it, is cleverly pointed out by means of the Baron‘s disguises. On recent occasions seeing the Baron on the streets, I had noticed a new transformation about his face and general person, (…) His entire countenance now seemed to have become altogether different, and at the same time eerily, breathtakingly familiar. (241) When it soon becomes clear that the Baron is disguising himself as Duponte, his transformation as ‗evil twin‘ is complete, and the uncanny resemblance between the two is further reinforced. Quentin, with his mind permeated by Poe and his characters, immediately links this to ―William Wilson‖. (…) the new and startling resemblance between Claude Dupin and Auguste Duponte, as though one were real and one an image in the mirror, as in the
41 doomed last encounter of Poe‘s own William Wilson. Other times it seemed both were mirror images of the same being. (M. Pearl 247) This extract illustrates once more how the different layers of fiction are superimposed in the novel. Let us take a closer look at this passage. What strikes me as interesting, is the mentioning of the mirror, which establishes a direct connection to the Lacanian theory of the mirror stage. This theory may shed some light on the blending of identities which is represented in the novel. In a nutshell, it denotes the confusion of a child when it discovers its own reflection for the first time. As Dylan Evans explains, the baby sees its own image as whole (…), and the synthesis of this image produces a sense of contrast with the uncoordination of the body, which is experienced as a FRAGMENTED BODY; this contrast is first felt by the infant as a rivalry with its own image (115). In other words, the child identifies with the mirror image, but at the same time the image is alienating (Homer 25). In the final moment of identification with the image, the ego is formed. Secondly, it represents ―a permanent structure of subjectivity‖ (Evans 115), i.e. it also signifies the ―essential libidinal relationship with the body image‖10 in later life and at a more symbolical level it ―illustrates the conflictual nature of the dual relationship‖ (Lacan)10. This tension is also present in The Poe Shadow, although it is Quentin rather than Duponte who is frightened by the resemblance between both personas: ―An abomination, a conjurer, a swindler: masquerading as a great man!‖ (M. Pearl 243). This statement is confirmed by another minor incident that occurs somewhat later in the novel, when Quentin meets Neilson Poe and he is thrown off by the uncanny resemblance to Edgar Poe. As I have explained earlier, the double in ―William Wilson‖ can be interpreted in the light of Lacanian theory (Van Herzeele 9-10). It is in my opinion safe to state that the occurrence of the alter ego in The Poe Shadow can be equally understood through Lacan. The two opposing forces of Duponte and Dupin are separate yet united in their goal to reveal the truth behind Poe‘s last days in Baltimore, albeit with considerably different techniques. They are the perfect examples of this ―conflictual nature of the dual relationship‖ (Lacan)10. We can even speak of
42 a triangle, or better, of some sort of double reflection, since both investigators are based on Poe‘s character C. Auguste Dupin. This is what is meant by Quentin‘s remark that ―[o]ther times it seemed both were mirror images of the same being‖ (247): both investigators are reflections of Poe‘s original mastermind. Pearl cleverly uses the mirror symbolism to stress both investigators‘ symbiotic relationship, as well as their secondary status in comparison to the ‗original‘ Dupin. This is particularly obvious when the painter Von Dantker uses a mirror to produce Duponte‘s portrait. (…) a system had soon been devised whereby a mirror was placed in front of Duponte and Von Dantker sat behind the analyst. He had positioned another large mirror by his easel, facing the first mirror, to transfer the original reflection back to the correct orientation. (221) This way, Duponte‘s image is filtered by two mirrors, and it may be safe to state that there is here a double distortion reminiscent of the Lady of Shalott and Dorian Gray. Also the Baron‘s depiction is not straightforward or transparent. The comparison to Dorian Gray is complete when we read the following: ―In fact, if it were attempted, the Baron would likely grow more like the portrait canvas rather than the other way around.‖ (242) Concerning this topic, Yonjae Jung remarks: Lacan maintains that it is the specular image, the image of the other, that first gives the child a sense of an ideal completeness, totality, and unity. (…) However, the reflected image both is and is not the child. Lacan emphasizes that the conception of unity and mastery is actually a fiction, mirage, and illusion. (Y. Jung, 2001) Especially the last sentence of this excerpt is of importance in the context of the novel, for it illustrates what I have mentioned earlier. Furthermore, it demonstrates the hidden meaning that Poe intended for his character and which Quentin discovers somewhat later in the book; namely that Dupin is part of everyone. He realizes that his quest for ‗the real Dupin‘ was absurd, that ―[t]he astounding ratiocinator existed only in the imagination of the poet‖ (M. Pearl 399) and therefore also in the imagination of the reader. The original for the reflection
43 was in fact a mirage himself, a representation or incarnation of human rationality. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that an image of any kind can never capture the true spirit of things. It is only a representation of a temporary external reality. I kept the portrait that had been painted so many years earlier, but what had seemed an exact replica before looked nothing like Duponte to me now or, for that matter, like the Baron. Or, rather, it resembled nowhere near as well Duponte as the images preserved in my mind. (M. Pearl 508) An essential event regarding the problem of the double identities, is when Baron Dupin is murdered. This radically ends the rivalry between the two alter egos. It is however also the end of Duponte‘s investigations, and at this point in the novel he disappears from the stage. This is only a natural development, since a Doppelgänger-relationship is most often characterized by a ―master/slave‖-dialectic in which ―one cannot do without the other but at the same time each is the other‘s worst enemy‖ (Homer 24). When the double dies, a part of the original is also destroyed, as is clearly illustrated in ―William Wilson‖. Another possibility is that both are killed, which is clearly the case in ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖ and The Picture of Dorian Gray. In The Poe Shadow, however, Pearl once more plays with the boundaries of genre and with the expectations of the reader. Towards the end of the novel, there is a brief reappearance of Duponte, in which he delivers the solution of the mystery and provides us with a sense of catharsis. Another significant theory that is relevant to the novel is the Jungian shadow concept. This notion is described on Wikipedia as ―a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts‖11. Jung himself explains that the shadow is formed by ―dark character traits, respectively inferiorities‖ that have an emotional basis or even possess a certain autonomy (C.G. Jung 13; my translation). An interesting passage concerning this phenomenon can be found in the beginning of the novel. Quentin explains the essence of Poe‘s short story ―The Imp of the Perverse‖, which refers to the irrational attraction or urge to do something that we know we should not do, but anyway want to do.
44 This interpretation largely overlaps with Jung‘s shadow concept. Quentin concludes that ―[t]he shadow always prevails‖ (M. Pearl 62). Jung touches on this subject by saying that we can indeed become the victim of uncontrolled emotions, which prevent us from making a moral judgement (C.G. Jung, 14). This is what Quentin undergoes when he embarks on his passionate quest, heedless of the consequences it has for his personal life and for his friends and relatives. The image of the shadow crops up a few times more and of course cannot be overlooked because of the very title of the novel. On page 128, Quentin describes how he is being shadowed by some villains, one of which will turn out to be Bonjour. Perhaps these two can also said to have some sort of Doppelgänger-relationship, as they share the same role assisting their respective masterminds, the Baron and Duponte. Yet it may be more appropriate to interpret them in the light of the shadow concept. Pearl illustrates this explicitly in the following scene: Only a shadow fell over me, and I believed it was that of my captor. (…) Only when the villain in question came from the other side did I realize that this shadow belonged to someone else. Finally, the shadow moved and he came around to face me. But it was no man. (129) Bonjour can then be considered as the shadow who has more courage and is more impulsive than the docile Quentin. When Jung discusses the Shadow, he also describes how some traits can be even more resistant against moral control. He is here talking about so-called projections, a psychological peculiarity that lies in the unconscious mind and that was first described by Freud. A projection is defined as a ―defense mechanism which occurs when a person's own unacceptable or threatening feelings are repressed and then attributed to someone else.‖ (Wade, qtd. on Wikipedia)12 Jung comments that it is tragic to see how people are unaware of the fact that the misery actually comes from themselves, and is fed and maintained by themselves.
45 Nevertheless, this is only normal, for the projection is part of the unconscious mind and cannot be controlled. The culprit is on the contrary an unconscious factor, that spins world- and selfconcealing illusions. This web of fantasy becomes indeed a cocoon in which the individual in the end is being locked.‖ (Jung 15; my translation) This quote is very reminiscent of Pearl‘s treatment of his protagonist Quentin Clark, who seems to be caught in a web of fantasy himself. He projects to Duponte his desire for Poe‘s characters to be real and gets absorbed in this fancy. He fools himself into believing the existence of a ‗real‘ C. Auguste Dupin. At the very end however, Quentin realizes his mistake and is able to break through his cocoon. A second parallel between the novel and Poe‘s own work once more concerns the level of realism and fact. The presence of realism in Poe‘s oeuvre is most clear-cut in the fascinating story of ―The Mystery of Marie Rogêt‖, written in 1842 as the second story of the Dupin-trilogy. Poe based it on a real, unsolved case. Even though this story too, with Dupin as investigator, is set in Paris, it is in reality a clever reconstruction of a true murder, committed in New York in 1841, that was not solved by the police. (Visser 10; my translation) Poe used the facts from the real case, added his fictional detective Dupin and creatively solved the mystery of the crime in his short story. This largely runs parallel with Pearl‘s working method in The Poe Shadow: he collects facts, researches the crime, adds fictional characters and solves the mystery; or at least offers a plausible solution. Apart from thematic similarities, there are also many intertextual links concerning the setting of the story. These are no less important, for they contribute to the appeal of the novel to a great extent. First of all, Pearl has been highly praised for his accurate depiction of nineteenth century Baltimore. He has succeeded in capturing the spirit of the age in which his protagonist lives, which in its turn contributes to the high level of verisimilitude I have mentioned before. More important though, is the parallel that can be made between Quentin‘s impressive mansion, Glen Eliza, and Roderick Usher‘s castle in Poe‘s short story ―The Fall of
46 the House of Usher‖. Both houses play a prominent role within the narratives, acting perhaps even as characters in the stories. H.P. Lovecraft commented on this in his Supernatural Horror in Literature, saying that in ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖, ―a brother, his twin sister, and their incredibly ancient house all [share] a single soul and [meet] one common dissolution at the same moment‖ (ch. 7) 13. This may also be the purpose of Glen Eliza, the manor named after the narrator‘s mother, which serves as a refuge for the brilliant detective and his assistant during their quest for the truth. A striking passage concerning the similarity with Usher‘s mansion is presented to us in the scene where the narrator describes his great-aunt‘s visit: ―She examined Glen Eliza as though at any moment it could crumble from the moral dilapidation I had perpetrated.‖ (433) This is to be interpreted as nothing else but a direct reference to the final scenes of Poe‘s story, which describes the literal fall of Usher‘s home. The house is swallowed whole by the earth after the revelation of an astonishing event (i.e. Roderick Usher‘s sister Madeline being buried alive). Quentin links his own moral decay with that of Roderick and imagines Roderick‘s end to also be his. As I will elaborately explain later, the house is not a mere background or setting but plays an active role within the plot, just as Usher‘s mansion does in Poe‘s story. We can conclude that in The Poe Shadow, Matthew Pearl makes clever use of imagery and psychoanalytical theory to weave a very intricate web of characters. His portrayal of identities is very complex, building on symptomatic traits of the unconscious mind as described by Freud, Jung and Lacan. By his use of doubles, shadows, disguises, false names and so on, he depicts a deep psychological reality worthy of Poe. Moreover, his representation of the setting of the story, especially Quentin‘s mansion Glen Eliza, reminds us of Poe‘s own stories. Pearl has truly payed tribute to Poe‘s own works.
47 7. Setting An important aspect of stories is their setting, especially in novels such as The Poe Shadow, which are set in a particular historical era and place. In the novel, the temporal setting is the first half of the nineteenth century, more specifically from 1949 to 1951. There are two main locations where the action takes place: Baltimore (North America) and Paris (Europe). In what follows, I will study the time and place in which the novel is set. Moreover, I will discuss the surrounding circumstances and significant historical events which are represented in the novel. I will also briefly compare the interaction between the two continents in the context of literary history, and more concretely in the context of the novel.
7.1 Europe European countries are older nations than the United States, therefore Europe has a completely different history. In the nineteenth century, there are some noteworthy European developments that are relevant for our analysis of The Poe Shadow. The first significant political event is the French Revolution (1789–1799). In this era, the French political landscape was turned upside-down, and the ―French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights.‖14 This change did no happen easily, and there was a lot of bloodshed in order to achieve this result. Lloyd-Smith described the Revolution as ―compelling in its possibilities and its failures‖ (65). This was also the era of the rule of Napoleon I, from 1769 to 1821. During this period, the French Empire became the most important nation of Europe, yet Napoleon‘s ―conflict with the rest of Europe led to a period of total war across the continent‖.15 This was thus a very violent episode in European history. In The Poe Shadow, we get a picture of France
48 thirty years post Napoleon I, and get the impression that history repeats itself. The tyrant Louis-Napoléon was voted president of France in 1848. When his plea to run for re-election was refused, he staged a coup in 1851. In that year, France became an Empire and LouisNapoléon declared himself Napoleon III. In The Poe Shadow, some of these historical events are mentioned. During his visit to Paris, the protagonist is confronted with the situation in France, and it is described for example on pages 123-5. The coup that Louis-Napoléon was planning is an important element of the plot, and eventually also of the dénouement. In chapter 31, Quentin discusses the ‗American Bonapartes‘. In this passage, the events of Paris find their way to Quentin‘s present and the two continents connect on a political level. (…) I comprehended, gradually, as I walked through the street, how it had happened, how it had all been connected from Paris until now. How the Bonapartes had come to be involved. How in one attempted assassination in Baltimore indeed lay the future of France…. (421) Quentin discovers the true reason why Duponte agreed to come with him to Baltimore (which is, as I mentioned earlier, because he was persecuted in France from fear of exposing LouisNapoleon‘s plan to stage a coup). The Baron was shot with a bullet that was actually intended for Duponte. This European historical event is truthfully depicted by Pearl. Even though he added elements of fiction (some of the characters, the assassination of Baron Dupin, etc.), he nevertheless succeeded in portraying the political situation in France in that period. Pearl thus cleverly uses these historical events in order to advance the plot. He interestingly places them in a fictional context: the Baltimorean Bonapartes ―are situated within the fictional events of the novel‖ (512), i.e. they existed and lived in Baltimore, yet the storyline Pearl weaves around them is fictional. (They for example did not attempt to assassinate anyone.) Incorporating these historical facts educates the reader, while the fictional events also serve to advance an intriguing plotline, adding yet another layer of suspense.
49 Concerning literature, the interplay between Europe and North America was a determining factor. In the American Gothic tradition, of which Poe was an exponent, there was an important European influence shaping the genre. As Lloyd-Smith points out, European influences in American Gothic writing were not in matters of style or imitated plot, but carried material of genuine anxiety: in this case, the fear of European rationalism and radicalism (…) (65). The different cultures thus gave rise to different literary traditions, as is illustrated in the genre of American gothic fiction, which was shaped by influences such as Puritanism and ―fear for European subversion and anxieties about popular democracy which was then a new experiment‖ (Lloyd-Smith 4). These feelings of anxiety are also expressed in The Poe Shadow. Peter remarks to Quentin that he has ruined his life ―by yielding to the decadence and indecency of Europe.‖ (93) This is of course highly exaggerated, yet the fear Peter expresses was a reality. The novel illustrates the dangers of despotism, and shows how corrupt French politics were at the time. Moreover, the greatest source of worry is the fact that this problematic situation found its way to the United States, that the danger was not safely restricted to France. The interaction between the two continents is thus of great importance in the novel, and Pearl consciously uses this interaction and rivalry. For example, also the Frenchman Duponte comments on the difference in conduct and manners. I have noticed that people put heels on chairs and carpets, pour eggs into glasses, and spit tobacco-juice upon windows. I know I am in America, Madame. (170) At the same time, he talks very rudely to Auntie Blum (e. g. ―You do mean the present matter occupying me quite well, until you came in?‖ (171)), which gives us a hint of unmasked irony.
50 7.2 North America 7.2.1. Historical developments The United States is a much younger nation than Europe and is formed by a completely different history. In the nineteenth century, the period in which The Poe Shadow‘s storyline is set, the United States was at the highpoint of its growth and development as a significant global nation. Louisiana was purchased from Napoleon and Florida from Spain, and there was a massive Westward expansion. Whites coveted western lands and as wagon trains rolled out of Eastern cities, Indians were killed and confined to reservations. (…) (…) President James K. Polk, a fervent expansionist, proclaimed that the country should fill its natural boundaries and reach its ―Manifest Destiny‖ (…) of stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. (Duncan, Goddard, 13) The country was thus growing in area, and a parallel and crucial development in nineteenth century North America concerns the growth of the cities. The transition from rural nation to an urban system started in the 1830s. By the end of the century, a large part of the U.S. population went to live in dense, industrial cities such as New York, Boston and Baltimore. The latter had, as Edward Oliphant explains, ―the most rapid growth of any town on the continent, and is the fourth in size in the United States‖ (Oliphant 286). This was a nineteenth century reality: in those days, the cities grew exponentially and rapidly and became places where all economic threads came together. Baltimore was a busy port and was growing fast, both in size and economic importance. In every respect Baltimore is a most thriving town—its inhabitants are numerous and respectable—its trade, for extent, is amazing—the number of vessels that for traffic pass up to it is almost incredible—and, in short, its present state is highly promising. (Oliphant 287) Another significant development of this period was the building of railroads. In 1830, Peter Cooper built America‘s first steam locomotive. The train was used to transport goods and passengers from Baltimore to Ellicott Mills and soon the train became the most important means of transportation.
51 But there was also a downside. As a result of all these developments, a few problems emerged. Most prominently, the fact that there was no city planning in those days, and the city centers soon became overcrowded and polluted. Pearl‘s novel fascinatingly portrays some aspects of nineteenth century city life and Baltimore is described beautifully in the novel. As I have already mentioned, the atmosphere of the city is described in gothic terms and has a rather dark and gloomy feel to it. The protagonist describes how, when he returns from his visit to Paris, he has the impression that the city was evolving rapidly and growing in size. He notices the impact of industrialism (―Warehouses five stories high had overtaken old mansions.‖ (154)) and relating to this, a change of atmosphere, a ―cheerless restiveness‖ (155). All the historical changes I mentioned above are included in the novel. They are vividly illustrated in the following passage. This was Baltimore, (…) where the movements of the people on well-paved streets and marble steps were quick and boisterous but without gaiety. There was not much of that last quality in supply in our go-ahead city, where large houses stood elevated over a crowded trading bay. Coffee and sugar came in from South America and the West India Islands on great clipper ships, and the barrels of oysters and family flour moved out on the multiplying railway tracks toward Philadelphia and Washington. (M. Pearl 4) In contrast to Oliphant, we can observe here that Pearl does not fail to mention the disadvantages of such a swiftly expanding, industrial city. He accurately describes the ‗fast life‘ of the city and the fleetingness of human contacts. Another phenomenon of those days was the temperance movement. Because of the increasing urbanization, and therefore also the increasing overcrowding and poverty in the cities, the problem of alcoholism increased considerably. As a reaction to this, various temperance organizations were founded. Promoting temperance instead of abstinence, the movement was initially very successful. Nevertheless, they soon became involved in politics and were experienced as too radical. Most of the organizations were therefore disbanded in
52 the 1820s. Yet their range of ideas did not die out, and in 1826 the American Temperance Society was brought into being. This society had a large following and published periodicals to inform people of their ideas. Their policy of temperance soon became one of abstinence and prohibition. In the 1850s, various local authorities enacted prohibition, and alcohol became illegal in several states (e.g. in 1851, there was a total ban for the production and sale of liquor in Maine).16 In The Poe Shadow, the ―Sons of Temperance‖ movement is mentioned. This was ―a Protestant fraternal order similar to the Freemasons‖17 which was very successful during the 1940s. They have a key role in the plot of the novel because of their attempt to use Poe as a role model for their campaign, as a living billboard illustrating the dangers of alcohol. ―Their stated desire is the universal elimination of the use of spirits, yet they have a different, in fact most contradictory need, monsieur: a reliable supply of well-regarded people ruined from drink to prove to their readers why their temperance periodical should remain in existence. Poe has become one of these.‖ (M. Pearl 280) This fragment illustrates how in these days, the temperance movements were once more growing to be more radical, and indeed not very temperate themselves. Also their methods to attract followers were not quite exemplary. Nevertheless, they influenced many people in those days.
7.2.2. Slavery The developments of the nineteenth century thus have an evident influence on American literature up to this day and are also present in Pearl‘s novel. An important aspect concerning American history that is not ignored is slavery. Pearl accurately describes the situation before the Civil War, and these descriptions add to the level of verisimilitude in the novel. Moreover, he succeeds in capturing the spirit and customs concerning slavery of that era.
53 In chapter eighteen, the narrator describes the Baltimorean slave trade of that period. He discusses the internal slave trade, which was still legal at the time. The practice involved the shipping from the cities to the expanding plantations of the Deep South. This part of the novel describes the shipping of slaves to New Orleans (Louisiana), ―the hub of southern trade‖ (M. Pearl 283), which in those days had the largest slave market of the United States. New Orleans had become the wealthiest and third-most populous city in the nation. It had the largest slave market. Two-thirds of the more than one million slaves brought to the Deep South arrived via the forced migration of the internal slave trade.18 In another passage, the protagonist comments on the types of blacks which were represented in the city, both slaves and freedmen. It was usually easy to differentiate between the free and the enslaved blacks by the superior and often quite fashionable dress of the former, although certain city slaves—slave dandies, as they were known—were provided exquisite clothing to fashionably match that of their owners. (M. Pearl 220) Somewhat later, Quentin explains the word ―nigger‖ and how it is used to denote ―a low fellow of any sort, color or class‖ (246). He praises the linguistic ingenuity of such a word, and wonders if it whites could have ever come up with it. All these passages provide the reader with some interesting insights into the practice of slavery in the everyday life of antebellum Baltimore. In the novel, there are a few characters who are involved in slavery and slave trade. First of all Edwin Hawkins, who was a slave of Mrs. Clemm, Poe‘s aunt and later mother-inlaw. Poe arranged for Edwin to be sold to a black family for only forty dollars. This arrangement was a way to manumit the slave, and Edwin was able to start a new life as a free man. Because of his respect of and gratitude towards Poe, Edwin wishes to help Quentin in his mission to clear Poe‘s name, and therefore has a considerable role in the plot. He repeatedly helps Quentin, e.g. when the latter is chased by the French rogues who wanted to attack him.
54 Even though Quentin is critical of the treatment of slaves, he does inform us of having at least one black servant. She is however not a slave. Many of my servants immediately rebelled against Duponte. One colored girl, in particular, a free Negress named Daphne, occasionally refused to wait on him. (195) This seems like a rather peculiar situation. Even though Daphne is free, she does have one of the most tiresome, low-wage jobs of those days. On the other hand, she is treated extraordinarily well by her master. The fact that she feels confident enough to refuse to wait on a guest and utter her judgement about him (―she said that she thought the houseguest most cruel‖ (195)) means that she does not fear for her job or for some harsh treatment. Quentin seems to treat his servants well, rather like friends than employees, something unusual in those days. This makes it clear that Quentin‘s political conviction is obviously anti-slavery. Perhaps we should then see Daphne rather as a regular servant girl than as a slave. Next to Edwin Hawkins there are two more important characters relating to slavery: Hope Slatter, the slave trader and Newman, the black slave that Quentin manumits and helps out of the state. Slatter is introduced to us in a striking passage of chapter eighteen . Some heartbreaking yet realistic scenes are portrayed, such as a woman shouting hysterically because she was promised not to be separated from her family, yet she was. The narrator describes the custom of some slave traders to destroy the free slaves‘ papers in order to sell them back into slavery. Another moving passage is the description of Slatter physically and verbally abusing the slaves. He treats his slaves very badly, quite the opposite of Quentin. He knocked the man in the back and then the stomach and left him writhing on the ground. ―Away, little dog, before I call for your arrest! You do not wish what would follow that!‖ (M. Pearl 283) Slatter is a fictional character, but only partly, because he represents the average 19th century slave-trader of very weak moral fiber who was only concerned with money and profit. The above passages show the shocking situation of nineteenth century pre-Civil War America. In the 1840s and -50s, the situation was truly intolerable and as a response, the
55 Republican party was founded. Their slogan was ―free labor, free land, free men‖ and their main party line was the abolishment of slavery. This party had a harsh competition from the Democratic party, whose worldview ―had been ―functionally proslavery‖ since the beginning of the Republic‖ (Rugemer 58). This period in U.S. history has been traumatizing for many Americans and is a frequently used theme in literature. Pearl succeeds in including this historical reality in his novel in a convincing manner, which gives it a heightened level of verisimilitude, depicting the Baltimore in which Poe spent his last days in a truthful manner. Interestingly, Pearl emphasizes the difference between European and American customs also on this subject, when he for example describes how Duponte insists on paying the slaves who wait on him. Being European, he is not used to the norms of this system, and Quentin describes that many European visitors often exhibited similar behavior (194). All these details greatly add to the literary value of the novel, which truly earns its praise as a ―wonderfully engaging, thrilling, 19th-century tale‖ (Mathieson).
7.2.3. Class Nineteenth century U.S. society was still very hierarchal. The prestigious upper and upper middle classes were very concerned with upholding their status. Matthew Pearl skilfully describes this aspect of nineteenth century society and gives a good image of the American upper middle class, its customs and behavior, since the protagonist belongs to this class of highly educated professionals. In this period, the middle class was a recent phenomenon. It emerged out of the increasing industrialization and urbanization during this era. This urbanization created a growing consumerism and a need for an expansion of businesses, such as large department stores and banks. (Streich) Moreover, the cities attracted all kinds of professionals, such as bankers, doctors and lawyers. This class was, and in contemporary society still is, very
56 influential in public life. It had a relatively high status, and those belonging to it were eager to maintain their influence. This trend is touched on in the novel when for example, Quentin‘s friends comment on the unacceptability of his conduct. They fear that he will become an outcast because of his obsessive behavior. Peter, belonging to the upper middle class himself, voices his concern a number of times, e.g. in the following passage. Yes it‘s that other world that I worry about for you—that world of books and bookmen who invade the minds that read them. The imaginary world. No, this is where you belong. These are your class, serious and sober people. Your society. (M. Pearl 59) Instead of following the path laid out to him by proposing to Hattie and working hard, Quentin decides to follow his heart and disregard social restraints. As W. R. Greer remarks in his review, ―Quentin also realized that his pursuit of this truth was challenging the societal restrictions placed on his life, stepping outside of tradition to find his own truths‖. This was of course not done in high society; and in the novel, a critical voice is represented by Hattie‘s controlling aunt: ―Oh, it won‘t do at all, twenty-seven and still living bachelor and—now don‘t interrupt, dear Quentin! A proper young man doesn‘t …‖ (M. Pearl 5). Quentin soon experiences the consequences of his choice. Auntie Bloom starts loathing him for his improper conduct and activities and finds him unfit to marry her niece. She immediately cuts off all contact between them and introduces Peter as a more appropriate suitor for Hatty. We can observe that Quentin has a rebellious side to him, ignoring the social rules of proper behavior. Moreover, we may even assume that, from the moment he decides to embark on his quest, he falls out of all class categorization and lives in a world of his own. After he returns from France, he no longer occupies himself with the practice of law and spends his time solely with Duponte. He expresses his need to communicate with his friends, yet seems to refrain himself from it: ―it was though the world outside my involvement with Duponte was suspended‖ (154). Quentin is aware of his isolation from society.
57 I sat upon the sofa, thinking whether I had by nature of my present endeavor given up all proper intercourse with society. I was after all, now in the company of men of great intensity like Duponte and the Baron, who defied any social customs and sought action that could not be obtained by ordinary politeness. (242) His insight however does not stop him from continuing his activities, his irresistible need to solve the mystery and clear Poe‘s name is too strong to take action and overcome the difficult situation he is in. Next to the upper middle class, the upper class is also represented in the book, i.e. in the character of Baron Dupin. He is a remnant of European aristocracy, yet it is vital to know that the title of baron is one of the lowest of French nobility. However, it still evokes high regard: ―Baron! Is there a real baron staying in this hotel?‖ (291). Duponte uses this tendency towards an increasing respect for nobility to his advantage when he poses as a Duke in order to gain access to the Baron‘s hotel room (451-2). We can conclude that Matthew Pearl paints a precise picture of nineteenth century urban America and does not fail to leave out any important elements or developments, such as the growing urbanization, the building of railroads and the influence of the temperance movement. Moreover, he portrays nineteenth century society, especially the newly emerging upper middle class of urban professionals. Also, he comments on the institution of slavery. He includes the political situation in France as well and accurately describes the Paris of those days. This novel thus not merely provide us with an intriguing plotline, at also gives us insight in nineteenth century life.
58 8. Conclusion In this dissertation, I have given a full analysis of the most important aspects of Matthew Pearl‘s second novel, The Poe Shadow. Such an analysis is crucial in order to understand and appreciate the vast quantity of meanings and references that the author intended. The plot consists of a complicated web of subplots, which are developed throughout the novel and gradually build up suspense. All these loose ends come together at the end of the book, in the great dénouement of chapter thirty-five, where Duponte (or should we assume, Matthew Pearl) shares his findings and unravels the mystery. I have asserted that the author challenges the reader‘s expectations, especially with respect to genre. Pearl uses an interesting blend of generic elements that render the novel a unique position within the literary field. The Poe Shadow is first and foremost a mystery novel, and, because it is based on investigation and reasoning performed by the author himself, could most accurately be described as a modern detective story. Nevertheless, this term is far too restricted and we cannot overlook all the other influences it displays. It could also be perceived as a historical novel which accurately portrays nineteenth century urban American society, including historical events and important developments characteristic of this era. Also, Pearl described nineteenth century Paris and did not fail to include some major political events happening at the time. Moreover, the novel describes a specific event which occurred at this time and place in history, i.e. the last days of the famous American author Edgar Allan Poe. Also elements of Poe‘s signature genre, horror literature, can be encountered in The Poe Shadow, which provide us with a certain ―mood of gothic strangeness‖ (Lloyd-Smith 33). Conclusively, the novel is often categorized as a thriller, which is not at all surprising, for it employs many elements reminiscent of contemporary thriller literature, such as heroes, villains and conspiracies. Mark Lawson draws the comparison with another contemporary author of
59 thriller literature, Dan Brown. The conclusion of this comparison turns out in favor of Matthew Pearl. Lawson remarks that Pearl has a much more literary style, and that ―[w]hereas Leonardo da Vinci would probably sue if he knew his name had been given to the tosh written by Brown, it's possible to imagine Edgar Allan Poe enjoying The Poe Shadow‖ (Lawson). We can safely say that Pearl‘s choice of characterization and representation is very reminiscent of Poe. The depiction of identities that he provides include references to the psychoanalytical theories of Freud, Jung and Lacan. Many of the themes and motifs concerning this psychological aspect of The Poe Shadow, such as the presence of Doppelgängers, shadows, disguises, and so on, are also common in Poe‘s works. Illustrating the purest form of intertextuality, Pearl includes references to Poe‘s own works, especially to the Dupin-trilogy, but also to e.g. ―The Fall of the House of Usher‖ and ―The Man of the Crowd‖. Matthew Pearl has proven literary history a considerable favor. Through his vigorous research, he has provided us with a plausible explanation for the mystery that has fascinated many people for decades. It is uncertain if his findings are correct; nevertheless he has handed us many clues and new insights that have greatly contributed to the knowledge of Poe‘s last days. These clues will certainly further the investigation and with a joint effort, perhaps one day the full truth will out. In addition to this, Pearl has provided us with a fascinating tale. He chose to write the novel as a homodiegetic narrative with a first-person narrator. This way, we are presented with a very individual, personal tale. This choice of narration and also Pearl‘s use of symbolism enriches the novel and makes it an enjoyable read. For those who are not interested in the historical aspect, the book can be experienced as an exciting tale of mystery fiction.
60 When we have finished reading The Poe Shadow, we can only feel that Edgar Allan Poe is not truly dead. His life and works will continue to captivate his readers and the mystery around his death will always attract attention and invoke research. As Ingrid Rowland remarks, "[t]he extraordinary success of such pointedly cultural thrillers indicates a longing to take the Western heritage seriously, to accord it some degree of honor rather than subject it to yet another critique‖ (Rowland, qtd. in Benfey). Taking this aspect into account, Matthew Pearl‘s The Poe Shadow truly is a successful novel.
61 Works cited ―American Experience | Transcontinental Railroad‖ PBS. 6 July 2009. < http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/tcrr/index.html> Benfey, Christopher. ―Purloined Poe. Fact is invading fiction.‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. Slate Magazine. 24 May 2006. 10 April 2009. Bleicher, David. ―Urbanity. A historical perspective.‖ 8 July 2001. Bone, Alison. ―Horror shoots back.‖ Bookseller. 5283 (2007): 22-23. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. 13 April 2009. . Browne, Ray B. ―‘The Triumph of the Thriller: How Cops, Crooks, and Cannibals Captured Popular Fiction‘ by Patrick Anderson‖ Journal of American Cultures. 30.3 (2007): 374-375. EBSCOhost. 29 April 2009. Chandler, Daniel. ―Introduction to genre theory.‖ Aberswyth University. 29 June 2009. < http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenre/intgenre1.html> Cobley, Paul. The American Thriller. Generic Innovation and Social Change in the 1970s. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2000. ―Detective fiction‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 6 April 2009. Duncan, Russell and Goddard, Joseph. Contemporary America. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Ebeling, C. ―5 Stars For Theory; subtract 2 for execution‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. Amazon. 15 November 2006. 22 July 2009. < http://www.amazon.com/Poe-Shadow-Novel-Matthew-Pearl/dp/
62 0812970128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248285001&sr=8-1> Evans, Dylan. Dictionary of Lacan Psychoanalysis. East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge, 2003. Ferber, Michael. A Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. Frank, Frederick S. and Magistrale, Anthony. The Poe Encyclopedia. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997. Greer, W.R. ―Rich Man, Poe Man.‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. Reviews of Books. 2006. 3 July 2009. Griffiths, Gary. ―…the truth about this man‘s death…‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. Amazon. 17 June 2006. 22 July 2009. < http://www.amazon.com/Poe-Shadow-Novel-Matthew-Pearl/dp/ 0812970128/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248285001&sr=8-1> Homer, Sean. Jacques Lacan. Oxon: Routledge, 2005. Jung, C.G. Ik en zelf. Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1997. Jung, Yonjae. ―The Imaginary Double in Poe's 'William Wilson'‖. LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory 11.4 (2001): 385-403. EBSCOhost. 9 April 2008. Lacan, Jacques. ―Some reflections on the ego.‖ Quoted on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 April 2009. Lawson, Mark. ‖Poe Show‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. 17 June 2006. 22 July 2009. Ledin, Per. Genrebegreppet. Stockholm: Studentlitteratur, 2001. Lee, Richard. ―History is but a fable agreed upon: the problem of truth in history and fiction.‖ Official Historical Novel Society Website. 9 April 2009.
63 Lloyd-Smith, Allan. American Gothic Fiction. An Introduction. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004. Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. Supernatural Horror in Literature. New York: 1973. Gaslight. Mount Royal College. 4 April 2008. Lukács, Georg. The Historical Novel. Middlesex: Peregrine, 1969. Mankowitz, Wolf. The Extraordinary Mr. Poe. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978. Margaronis, Maria. ―The Anxiety of Authenticity: Writing Historical Fiction at the End of the Twentieth Century.‖ History Workshop Journal. 65.1 (2008): 138-160. Johns Hopkins UP (Project MUSE). 13 April 2009. Mathieson, Amy. ―Case of the purloined Poe‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. Scotsman. 10 June 2006. 27 July 2009. < http://living.scotsman.com/books/ Case-of-the-purloined-detective.2782762.jp> MATTHEW PEARL Author of The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow and The Last Dickens. ed. Chris Costello. 25 March 2009. < http://www.matthewpearl.com/> Neyfakh, Leon. ―Poe‘s Mysterious Death: The Plot Thickens!‖ The New York Observer. 16 October 2007. 23 July 2009. Oliphant, Edward. The history of North America and its United States. Edinburgh,1800. Gale group. 7 July 2009. < http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/ ECCO?vrsn=1.0&locID=gent&srchtp=b&ste=1&n=10> Pearl, Matthew. The Poe Shadow. London: Vintage, 2006. Pearl, Nancy. ―Cheap Thrills: Novels of Suspense.‖ Library Journal. 125.19 (2000): 124-125. EBSCOhost. 28 April 2009. Poe, Edgar Allan. Tales of Mystery and Imagination. London: Orion Publishing Group, 2002.
64 Porter, Dennis. The Pursuit of Crime. Art and Ideology in Detective Fiction. New Haven: Yale UP, 1981. ―Psychological projection‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 April 2009. Roth, Marty. Foul and fair play: reading genre in classic detective fiction. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995. Rugemer, Edward B. Explaining the Causes of the American Civil War, 1787–1861. Rev. of Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic: Volume I, Commerce and Compromise, 1820-1850 and Volume 2, The Coming of the Civil War, 1850– 1861 by John Ashworth. Reviews in American History. 37.1 (2009): 56-68. Johns Hopkins UP (Project MUSE). 8 July 2009. < http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/reviews_in_american_history/v037/37.1.rugemer.html> Schaffer, C. ―Liquor control, temperance, and the call for prohibition.‖ Drc.Net Online Library of Drug Policy. 6 July 2009. ―Shadow (psychology)‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 April 2009. Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. Streich, Michael. ―The Middle Class in the Late Nineteenth Century. The Effects of Industrialization, Urbanization and Consumerism.‖ 14 February 2009. W European History. 9 July 2009. < http://weuropeanhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/ the_middle_class_in_the_late_19th_century> Sucur, Slobodan. Man of the Crowd. 2006. The Literary Encyclopedia. 9 April 2009.
65 ―Temperance movement‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 6 July 2009. Van Dine, S.S. ―Twenty Rules for writing detective stories‖ Gaslight. Mount Royal College. 7 April 2009. Van Herzeele, Liesbeth. ―The Doppelgänger-Motif in Poe‘s Short Stories‖. Diss. Universiteit Gent, 2008. Visser, Ab. Wie is de dader. De misdaadliteratuur van Edgar Allan Poe tot heden. Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff, 1971. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. London: Penguin, 1994.
―The Poe Shadow‖ Rev. of The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. BookMarks Magazine. 24 September 2009.
22 July 2009. 2
Quote from: ―Epistolary novel‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Quote from: ―The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)‖ SparkNotes. 15 July 2009.
Quoted on the official Matthew Pearl website.
Quote from: ―Historical fiction‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 9 April 2009.
Pearl discusses this in the ‗Historical note‘, which is added at the end of the book.
Historical Fiction Network. 9 April 2009.
Quote from: ―Thriller (genre)‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 28 April 2009.
Quote from: ―Mirror stage‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 April 2009.
Quote from: ―Shadow (psychology)‖ Wikipedia, the freen encyclopedia. 26 July 2009.
Tavris Wade. Qtd. in ―Psychological projection‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Excerpt taken from Gaslight. Mount Royal College.
Quote from: ―French Revolution‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 7 July 2009.
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_revolution> 15
Quote from: ―Napoleon I of France‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 7 July 2009.
< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_I_of_France> 16
―Prohibition in the United States.‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 6 July 2009.
Quote from: ―Sons of Temperance‖ 15 February 2009. Lauderdale county. ed. Pat M. Mahan. 10 July 2009.
Quote from: ―New Orleans‖ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 5 July 2009