The Black Mass: The Man Of The Crowd by Edgar Allan Poe

Join us on Fri­day at a lit­tle after 12 noon or 4pm Pacif­ic time, 8pm or mid­night in the UK , for anoth­er episode in the land­mark radio dra­ma series The Black Mass, cre­at­ed by the late Erik Bauers­feld and his col­leagues at the Paci­fi­ca radio sta­tion KPFA in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, over fifty years ago. In 30 chill­ing tales of mys­tery, imag­i­na­tion and the human mind, The Black Mass brings you some of literature’s most haunt­ing sto­ries, by mas­ters of the craft — many of whom are best-known in oth­er fields. Many thanks to John Whit­ing, co-pro­duc­er of many of these record­ings, and Erik Bauers­feld him­self, for per­mis­sion to broad­cast these clas­sic recordings.

Note that the pro­gramme will not begin until the track play­ing at the top of the hour has fin­ished, so the actu­al start time of the episode may be a few min­utes after the hour.

Today: “The Man Of The Crowd” by Edgar Allen Poe

Illus­tra­tion for Edgar Allan Poe’s sto­ry “The Man of the Crowd” by Har­ry Clarke (1889–1931), first print­ed in 1923.

Edgar Allan Poe (Jan­u­ary 19, 1809 – Octo­ber 7, 1849) was an Amer­i­can writer, poet, edi­tor, and lit­er­ary crit­ic. Poe is best known for his poet­ry and short sto­ries, par­tic­u­lar­ly his tales of mys­tery and the macabre. He is wide­ly regard­ed as a cen­tral fig­ure of Roman­ti­cism in the Unit­ed States and of Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture as a whole, and he was one of the coun­try’s ear­li­est prac­ti­tion­ers of the short sto­ry. He is also gen­er­al­ly con­sid­ered the inven­tor of the detec­tive fic­tion genre and is fur­ther cred­it­ed with con­tribut­ing to the emerg­ing genre of sci­ence fic­tion. Poe was the first well-known Amer­i­can writer to earn a liv­ing through writ­ing alone, result­ing in a finan­cial­ly dif­fi­cult life and career.

The Man of the Crowd” is a short sto­ry by Amer­i­can writer Edgar Allan Poe about a name­less nar­ra­tor fol­low­ing a man through a crowd­ed Lon­don. It was first pub­lished in 1840.

The sto­ry is intro­duced with the epi­graph “Ce grand mal­heur, de ne pou­voir être seul” — a quote tak­en from The Char­ac­ters of Man by Jean de La Bruyère. It trans­lates to “This great mis­for­tune, of not being able to be alone.” This same quo­ta­tion is used in Poe’s ear­li­est tale, “Met­zenger­stein”.

The Black Mass art­work was cre­at­ed by Ter­ry Lightfoot.