Edgar Allan Poe: His 3 Influences Upon American Society

BornJanuary 19th, 1809
DiedOctober 7th, 1849
Famous Quote“We loved with a love that was more than love.”
Known ForFamous writer, Starting the mystery thriller genre, Influencing U.S media and culture
Region of WorldUnited States, 19th century

Few American authors have influenced the development of society as much as Edgar Allan Poe. Today most forms of U.S entertainment have borrowed inspiration from Poe and his works.

Edgar Allan Poe has influenced the development of American society in 3 major ways. First, Edgar Allan Poe created the mystery genre. Second, he became one of the first transatlantic successful authors. Third, Edgar Allan Poe’s work marks a shift from emulating British culture to creating a new U.S culture.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 ways Edgar Allan Poe influenced American society.

Edgar Allan Poe Created The Mystery Genre

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s greatest influences upon American society was the creation of a whole new type of literature.

Edgar Allan Poe drew inspiration from his own hard life to create what we now know today as the mystery detective genre of literature.

In this style of literature there are two moral characters each trying to outwit each other. First, you have the good moral character often placed as an upstanding member of society. The second is the morally bad person who is trying to prevent his crime from being discovered.

This style of literature allowed Poe to provide subtle critiques of his direct society and life. Further, this style of literature allowed Edgar Allan Poe to probe the depths of humanity and force the audience to ask hard questions surrounding their own morality and judgment.

Edgar Allan Poe became a master at building suspense in his short stories and poems. This forced the reader to pay attention to his narrative. Because of this he achieved literary success during his time.

As a result of this American society would never be the same. His influence today can be seen in the near constant publication of U.S thriller movies which copy his narrative style of building subtle suspense while forcing the audience to question their own morality.

A good example of this can be seen in the 2019 film Joker directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix. This film presents a character’s descent into madness and the eventual acceptance of their fate, a story that parallels many of Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

Edgar Allan Poe’s influence upon American society is massive. Today it is hard to not notice the many similarities between the works of Poe and much of U.S Culture.

Edgar Allan Poe Became One of the First Successful Transatlantic Authors

Edgar Allan Poe influenced American society in another major way. He was the first successful transatlantic author during his time.

Before Edgar Allan Poe literary authors were either landed gentry or had wealthy patrons. Edgar Allan Poe was the first American writer who lived off his own earnings, which often put him in financial strain.

While Edgar Allan Poe was struggling in the United States to live he was influencing the development of literature in Europe.

The famous French poet Charles Baudelaire worked to translate Edgar Allan Poe’s works into French for his audience. Because of this Edgar Allan Poe started to influence the development of the American image in the minds of Europe.

As a result of this Edgar Allan Poe was romanticized within the literary circles of Europe. The idea of a dark and mysterious America started to take hold in literary circles across Europe.

Today historians and academics are just now starting to discover the full extent of this literary influence upon the development of Europe’s romantic age. One example of this can be seen in the developing Gothic style of music in Europe during the 19th century.

In many ways Edgar Allan Poe’s influence upon American society has grown over time. Today the reason that the 19th century in America is romanticized internationally is partly because of the internationally famous writings of Edgar Allan Poe.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Work Marks A Shift From Emulating British Culture to the Creation of an American Culture

The most influential poet in the history of America. Edgar Allan Poe's influence upon American society is massive and here is why.

One of the many ways that Edgar Allan Poe influenced American society is to create a new form of unique culture.

Before Edgar Allan Poe the culture of the United States emulated the British Empire. Wealthy upper-class Americans would dress, eat, and behave in a way that resembled the British aristocrat.

However, Edgar Allan Poe’s work forever changed that. Poe presented through his writings a society for the first time completely American.

The worlds that Edgar Allan Poe created were dark, gothic, realistic, full of conflict and questions of morality. This was completely different then what the people of America were accustomed to.

Typically an author would write for their target audience. In the case of Edgar Allan Poe he wrote for himself and his own observations. Normally this would indicate that the author just would not have readers.

However, Edgar Allan Poe’s fame grew with each publication during his own time. The reason was because he was highlighting the shift from British culture to an American culture and society.

This is also one of the main reasons that his work became so popular internationally. It was completely different then other literature in its efforts to highlight American society.

An example of just how pervasive Edgar Allan Poe’s influence upon American society is can be seen through subsequent American artists.

American horror author H.P Lovecraft attributes much of his literary inspiration to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Another major inspiration can be seen in the works of American/English legendary director Alfred Hitchcock.

Today Edgar Allan Poe’s cultural impact of his works is finally starting to be studied. As time progresses the influence of Edgar Allan Poe upon American society will only grow.


There you have it; an entire article that goes over the 3 influences that Edgar Allan Poe has had upon American society.

To this day academics are learning more about how influential Edgar Allan Poe was to the world of American literature and culture. Prospective graduate students could do an entire dissertation on his influence.

I hope you liked this article. Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you liked this then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the internet.

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