The right to question, to be skeptical, and to challenge is our birthright as Americans. From the very beginning of the Republic, writers have not only celebrated the American Dream; they’ve also illuminated American nightmares.

They’ve done so in works that push the boundaries of mainstream ideas and traditional form. Edgar Allan Poe is the founding father of this tradition that we’re calling “American Edge.” Poe investigates the shadow side of our American identity and ideals through his tales of terror, fantasy, and science fiction. Poe also invented a new literary genre: detective fiction.

Poe’s daring has prodded succeeding generations of American writers to venture far out of our national comfort zone, through the controversial subjects they write about and in their bold variety of writing styles and voices.

Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan
The Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Georgetown University, Journalist, Author, and Literary Critic, The Washington Post, NPR

Maureen Corrigan is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism.

New Ideas

New Forms and Styles