Is Edgar Allan Poe truly the best horror author?

Edgar Allan Poe is widely known as the first, and the best horror story writer. The way he describes the tortures of his stories uses such a wide range of adjectives in a way that horror movies today just can’t seem to recreate. Is there any proof or validity to the statement that he is the best at his craft?

  • I think this is an interesting topic but maybe a bit more of an argument for a topic. He's given a lot of credit but there's a number of other writers that are thrown around as "best". Like Shelley, Lovecraft, Stoker, even King. Maybe an article detailing Poe's influence – ivanly 8 years ago
  • Examination of the criteria for good horror might be different for some. Poe is not so much the master of gory details as he is a master of suspense. Many of the deaths in his stories are slow and anticipated. This, as least for his fans, is more horrific than a stranger in the bushes with a knife. It is also his use of first person narrator, where we are often trapped in the mind of the killer, that sets him apart, at least in his day, from others. Perhaps the idea that instead of being the victim, the reader feels like they are a helpless witness, is more terrifying, and therefore more powerful horror. Are there horror movies that utilize that device much? Even if there are, it's not as easy to slip into the killer's mind in a movie as it is in prose. What might make him "the best", is that the device doesn't translate to film well enough to rival him. – wtardieu 8 years ago
  • I think we also have to take into account regionalism. Was Poe only known in America or did his influence span to Europe and other regions? Are we narrowing the scope to only America or broadening it to include other areas of the world? I, personally, wouldn't classify Poe as a horror writer, rather I would say he's a suspense, thriller, or psychological writer. His stories are not full of blood and gore, but the supernatural and the psyche. His works challenge readers to think beyond the comfort of their own mind, and a psychoanalytical reading would be a good fit here. There is also the question of how the 19th C. defined horror and how is that genre defined now? Does Poe still fit in with that genre, or have his works moved to another area of literature? – krae29 8 years ago
  • Edgar Allan Poe was a genius. But I feel like a lot of what he wrote wasn't so much 'fear inducing' as 'disturbia inducing'. Was he the best horror writer? Not to me, in as much as he wasn't strictly 'horror'. Was the first? Possibly, because he ALSO wrote horror in addition to much else. Are there other horror writers in the English language who surpass him? Perhaps, but they all DEFINITELY owe him a strong debt. – JayBird 8 years ago

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