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Edgar Allan Poe’s gift for the macabre–his genius in finding the strangeness lurking at the heart of things–was so extraordinary that he exerted a major influence on Baudelaire and French symbolism, on Freudian analysis, and also on the detective novel and the Hollywood movie. His psychologically profound stories of encounters with the marvelous, the uncanny, and the dreadful represent–in contrast to the optimism of writers like Emerson and Whitman–the other, darker side of the nineteenth-century American sensibility.