This article explores the construction of narrative suspense in Edgar Allan Poe’s and Alfred Hitchcock’s works. Central to their creations is a dual narrative structure that builds tension by articulating two stories in one. Narratological analyses of Poe’s tales and of Hitchcock’s thrillers indicate that their suspense does not stem from gothic topoi, but from plots skilfully wrought to manipulate the readers/viewers’ attention. The first part of the article introduces the concept of narrative suspense. Next, structural principles defended by Poe and Hitchcock are presented. The last two parts discuss narrative techniques in the works by both authors. Given the authors’ influence within their respective media, the analysis has implications for studies of the short story and of the suspense thriller as a narrative genre.
Edgar Allan Poe. Alfred Hitchcock. Narrative suspense. Short story. Gothic stories.