Japanese modernist writer Taro Hirai (1894–1965) admired Poe so much that he crafted a pseudonym, Edogawa Rampo, based on Poe’s name. I contend that Rampo’s reimaginings of “The Masque of the Red Death” in “The Red Chamber” and of “The Man That Was Used Up” in “The Caterpillar” correspond closely with the aesthetic principles of 1920s and ’30s Japan. One might say that by the age of modernism in Japan, Poe’s grotesque and arabesque had (d)evolved into erotic grotesque nonsense. What Rampo’s deliberate misreadings and his inventive rewritings teach us is that Poe is endlessly contemporary. The relationship between the two writers is not so much a one-way influence as a reverberation or an oscillation between Poe and Rampo. Rampo’s work offers a creative retelling that is modern and Japanese and maybe even changes the way we look at Poe.

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