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Handling Edgar Allen Poe’s Art of Detective Fiction through the Medium of Twitter

Life is a mystery with twists and turns, we all are at some point in time will turn as detectives to analyze the problem searching for the clues which create the problem to find a perfect solution. The detective fiction portrayal of different mysteries in the society where we are living started its journey with the writings of the great American writer Edgar Allan Poe with his publication of his first Dupin’s trilogy short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in Graham’s magazine in 1841. A sequel to this story “The Mystery of Marie Roget” appeared in Snowden’s Ladies’ companion in three instalments, November and December 1842 and February 1843. The final one “The Purloined Letter” appeared in The Gift for 1845 in 1844. Poe’s tales established the form of detective fiction which is long-lasting still in the digital post-modern literary landscape. We can see it through the writings of Robert K Blechman who is known for his detective fiction trilogy “The Twistery Twilogy” which was written on Twitter through a series of tweets. Robert K Blechman’s “The Twitstery Twilogy” contains three novels such as “Executive Severance”, “The Golden Parachute” and “I Tweet, Therefore I Am.”

Edgar Allan Poe’s three detective stories featuring the enigmatic figure of Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin served as milestones in the creation of the genre of detective fiction. After Dupin, various outrageous detective figures such as Sherlock Holmes, Monsieur Lecoq, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot, and Miss Marple were constructed by writers from diverse socio-historical contexts. Despite differences, what these characters share in common is a certain state of dissatisfaction with contemporary life and a longing for the past where the social conditions were supposedly much better than the present. Nostalgia has long been associated with detective fiction. While focusing on “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” which is the first detective story of its kind and this article will argue about Poe’s portrayal of Dupin’s partial attachment to the past and his provisory dislocation as a displaced individual in the preeminent bourgeois society is a means to provide a critique of the modern world and to reveal the equivocation of modern man confronted with conflicting forces between the past and the present. Robert K Blechman’s “Twistery twilogy” on the other hand is a reflection of an individual’s life collaborated with the rapid technology narrated through the real-time tweets in the voice of detective Arkaby is a means to provide a critique of the post-modern world where humans are isolated with mobiles and social network, conflicting between past and present.

Robert places the post-modern man’s existence with the partial attachment to the past in the conversation of detective Arkaby through the following tweets

“The ERUPT Manual! I read page one. ‘Existential Reality Update Prototype Template. The present Reality will be superseded by Version 2015.’

At the beginning of this caper Granger’s doppelganger warned of time shifts due to Reality alterations. Twitter would be my reality check.

The airport has reverted to pre-9/11 Customs checks. Now Regi and I stand in a horse and carriage line. Oddly, I still have my cell phone.”

The detective Arkaby seems to be living in the past where he still exists with his phone in his hand and constantly tweeting everything happening to him. He further stepped in to ask questions himself by doubting the reality that “…I need to get to the bottom of this. Is this the original reality or is my memory of the original reality true and this one really false?”

Poe handled the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul to describe the dual psyche of the detective both creative and resolvent: one-half rational, reasoned, and scientific and the other half irrational, creative, and poetic. The description of the residential area of the detective is a proof of Poe’s poetic description of the modern life of an individual narrator in the aristocratic society “I was permitted to be at the expense of renting, and furnishing in a style which suited the rather fantastic gloom of our common temper, a time-eaten and grotesque mansion, long deserted through superstitions into which we did not inquire, and tottering to its fall in a retired and desolate portion of the Faubourg St. Germain.” Robert K Blechman was also poetic in his writing where he uses alliteration such as “…..who converses only in consonants, conspired to contradict Twitter conventions?", in the first novel Executive Severance. Here other proof is “…….fooled your facile faith to finagle her former father?”, “……prolonged post-mortem persistence” from The Golden Parachute second of the executive severance sequel. From the pieces of evidence, we can prove that Robert K Blechman handled the art of detective fiction in Poe’s way perfectly with the digital medium through Twitter by tweeting in real-time with the instant responses of readers.


R Gayathry

IG: @gayathry76

(Nature lover, Poet, Learner and Teacher. Believer of the philosophy of the only way to learn is to live. Author of “Nature’s Inhabitants” a poetry collection)

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