The stolen Letter
the stolen Letter ( The Purloined Letter ) is a news of Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1844 in The Gift for 1845 , before being included in many newspapers and publications. It was translated into French by Charles Baudelaire.
In this news, the detective Auguste Dupin is informed per G…, the prefect of police of Paris, that a letter of the more high importance was stolen in the royal boudoir. The exact moment of the flight and the robber are known of the police officer, but this one is in the incapacity to overpower the culprit. In spite of extremely meticulous excavations carried out in the residence of the robber, G… indeed could not find the letter. To put the hand on the latter is however of great importance, because its owner finds himself able to exert pressures on the family member royal with whom it concealed it. G… thus comes from there to ask for the assistance of Dupin. A few weeks later, Dupin restores the letter with the prefect. He explains then to the narrator how certain simple principles enabled him to find the letter.
As in Double assassination in the street Mortuary , the stolen Letter puts in Dupin scene and its famous faculties of analysis. The logical reflection is in the center of the news, and a whole share of the intrigue is based on the difficulties of finding a solution rational with the disappearance of the letter. At the time of its visit with Dupin, G… explains the reasoning which enabled him to discover the identity of the robber, and those which enabled him to deduce that the letter was always in its possession, hidden some share in its residence. In spite of its certainty, G… however does not manage to recover the object: the mystery is thus divided between on the one hand the unquestionable possession of elements, and other the incapacity to obtain results.
- the epigraph “the acuminate Nile sapientiae odiosius nimio” ( “Nothing in fact wisdom is more hateful only of excessive subtleties” ) than Poe allots to Sénèque does not appear in work indexed of this last.
- the linguist Jean-Claude Milner emitted in 1985 ( fictitious Détections , the Threshold, collection “Fictions & Co”) the assumption that Dupin and D… are brothers (assumption supported inter alia by the final reference of Dupin to the two enemy brothers of Greek mythology, Atrée and Thyeste).
- In its Séminaire on the stolen Letter the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan compares the two flights of the letter by showing that the second comprises the three roles characterizing the first, but which they are held by different characters: the glance which does not see anything (the king, then the police force), the glance which sees this blindness and believes that the letter does not risk anything (the queen, then minister D.), and finally the glance which sees the two others and understands that the letter is available for that which would like to be seized some (minister D., then Dupin).
- This news introduces to curious analogies with the three Musketeers of Alexandre Dumas, novel published a few months before. In the two accounts a minister (the minister D… // the cardinal of Richelieu) concealed with the queen an object (the // letter tags) whose production with the eyes of the king would compromise it seriously. This flight is intended to serve the policy of the minister. The use of a facsimile (manufacture of two other // tags facsimiled of the letter) will restore the position of the queen while letting accept the minister whom he always lays out of the advantage that had conferred to him the vol.
- In its novel the Stopper of crystal , Maurice Leblanc uses in his turn the process consisting in highlighting an object that all believe wrongly dissimulated in a secret held place.
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