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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Poe sits at the intersection of the tightly interwoven fields of computing and mass surveillance. Examining Poe’s Dupin tales through a lens of surveillance, rather than Holmesian detection or Lacanian psychoanalysis, provides new insights into Poe’s relationship to information, communications, and metadata. In the three Dupin tales, I argue, Poe explores various aspects of digital surveillance, from data mining and profiling in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” to metadata in “The Purloined Letter.” Rereading these tales with a surveillant eye allows us to perceive more clearly the sociohistorical forces, rather than interiorized psychodynamics, at play in the Dupin tales.

Keywords: Edgar Allan Poe, surveillance, information, computing, Dupin tales, detection

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