What history… of the men… of the knife… to the beginning?! … or exist someone else?!… in Early Western

Description of crimes and detectives
‘Forerunners of today’s crime fiction include the ghost story, the horror story, and the revenge story.
Early examples of crime stories includes Steen Steensen Blichers The Rector of Veilbye (1829), Philip Meadows Taylor’s Confessions of a Thug (1839) and Maurits Christopher Hansens Mordet paa Maskinbygger Roolfsen (1839).
An example of an early crime/revenge story is the American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe’s (1809–1849) tale “The Cask of Amontillado”, published in 1846.[1] Poe created the first fictional detective[2] (a word unknown at the time) in the character of C. Auguste Dupin,[3] as the central character of some of his short stories (which he called “tales of ratiocination”).[2]
In the words of William L. De Andrea (Encyclopedia Mysteriosa, 1994), he was the first to create a character whose interest for the reader lay primarily (even solely) on his ability to find hidden truths.
[…] Poe seems to have anticipated virtually every important development to follow in the genre, from the idea of a lesser side-kick to the detective as narrator (later epitomised in the Dr. Watson of the Sherlock Holmes stories) to the concept of an armchair detective to the prototype of the secret service story.
‘One of the earliest examples of detective fiction is Voltaire’s Zadig (1748), which features a main character who performs feats of analysis.[4] Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) by William Godwin shows the law as protecting the murderer and destroying the innocent.[5]
The Danish crime story The Rector of Veilbye by Steen Steensen Blicher was written in 1829, and the Norwegian crime novel Mordet på Maskinbygger Rolfsen (“The Murder of Engine Maker Rolfsen”) by Maurits Hansen was published in 1839.[6]
“Das Fräulein von Scuderi”, an 1819 short story by E. T. A. Hoffmann, in which Mlle de Scudery establishes the innocence of the police’s favorite suspect in the murder of a jeweller, is sometimes cited as the first detective story and a direct influence on Edgar Allan
Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”.[7]
Also suggested as a possible influence on Poe is ‘The Secret Cell’, a short story published in September 1837 by William Evans Burton, describing how a London policeman solves the mystery of a kidnapped girl.
Burton’s fictional detective relies on practical methods—dogged legwork, knowledge of the underworld and undercover surveillance—rather than brilliance of imagination or intellect, but it has been suggested this story may have been known to Poe, who in 1839 worked for Burton.[8]’
1. ^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. Checkmark Books, 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X p. 45
2. ^ a b Silverman, Kenneth (1991), Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (Paperback ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 171, ISBN 0-06-092331-8
3. ^ Silverman, Kenneth (1991), Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (Paperback ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 173, ISBN 0-06-092331-8
4. ^ a b c Silverman, Kenneth (1991), Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance (Paperback ed.), New
York: Harper Perennial, p. 171, ISBN 0-06-092331-8
5. ^ Gay Clifford (1977), “Caleb Williams and Frankenstein: First-Person Narratives and ‘Things as They Are'”, Genre,
10 (Spring 1977) 601–617 http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Articles/clifford.html . Accessed 2013.12.10.
6. ^ Maurits Hansen (1794–1842) (http://www.kloken.no/litteratur/forfatter.asp?ID=3).
7. ^ The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker, Continuum, 2004, page 507
8. ^ Sims, Michael, ed. ‘’The Dead Witness: a connoisseur’s collection of Victorian detective stories’’, Bloomsbury,

2011: p2-3 Burton wrote the story for his own Philadelphia publication, Gentleman’s Magazine, which under a different owner later became the publication for which Poe wrote The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Poe worked for Burton, acting as his editor for some months in 1839, so may have known his story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s