Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: 165 years ago today

From: Anthony Dauer (
Date: 20 Apr 2006

Okay, so since Poe's character is a detective working in a mystery, then he remains the first actual detective.

I've read the theory before. One of the stories in the Bible is even presented as the first using this argument.

On 4/20/06, Jess Nevins <> wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Anthony Dauer <>
> >
> >What is a "proto-mystery / proto-dective"?
> A "proto-mystery" is a work of fiction, written before the advent of the modern
> mystery genre, which has the themes and motifs of mystery fiction but is
> fundamentally about something other than the mystery and its solution. This
> includes Gothics, works like CALEB WILLIAMS and Voltaire's ZADIG, and
> the various pre-Poe short stories which included mystery and detection
> themes and motifs.
> A "proto-detective" is a character in a proto-mystery who solves
> a mystery or is instrumental in doing so but is neither a professional
> crime-solver (and so not a policeman or policewoman) nor one by
> habit or temperament. The leads in most Proto-Mysteries solve a
> mystery or mysteries because they are forced to through various
> plot complications; when the mystery is solved they return to their
> previous position. So Susan Hopley, the maid in Catherine
> Crowe's SUSAN HOPLEY (1841, and another pre-"Rue Morgue"
> proto-mystery that Poe was aware of), solves the crime that is tearing
> apart the Leesons, the family she serves, but once the crime is
> solved and the status quo restores, she returns, happily, to
> serving the Leesons.
> jess
> RARA-AVIS home page:
> Yahoo! Groups Links

Anthony Dauer
Alexandria, Virginia

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