While we have no full-length study focusing specifically on the connections between Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain, several books and articles provide some details of the many links between them. Such commentary almost always focuses on Poe's “serious” tales. What little notice given to the influence of Poe's comic tales on Mark Twain is sparse and almost universally negative. Yet given Mark Twain's comic genius it would seem natural not only that he would be aware of, but also appreciative of, Poe's humor. Taking it one step further, it seems to me that Mark Twain would also recognize and appreciate the satiric thrust of many of Poe's humorous tales. Furthermore, if Poe exerted the influence on Mark Twain that several critics suggest, then exploring the role of his comic tales in terms of that influence could well prove meaningful. A case for precisely this point can be made by examining the influence of Poe's comic tale “The Devil in the Belfry” on Mark Twain's “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.”

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