Edgar Allan


The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Der Doppelmord in der Rue Morgue

Übersetzt von Gisela Etzel
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022




What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles as­sumed when he hid him­self among wo­men,
al­though puzz­ling ques­tions, are not bey­ond all con­jec­ture.
Sir Thomas Browne.
The men­tal fea­tures dis­coursed of as the ana­lyt­ic­al, are, in them­selves, but little sus­cept­ible of ana­lys­is. We ap­pre­ci­ate them only in their ef­fects.
We know of them, among oth­er things, that they are al­ways to their pos­sessor, when in­or­din­ately pos­sessed, a source of the live­li­est en­joy­ment.
As the strong man ex­ults in his phys­ic­al abil­ity, de­light­ing in such ex­er­cises as call his muscles into ac­tion,
so glor­ies the ana­lyst in that mor­al activ­ity which dis­en­tangles.
He de­rives pleas­ure from even the most trivi­al oc­cu­pa­tions bring­ing his tal­ent into play.
He is fond of en­ig­mas, of conun­drums, of hiero­glyph­ics; ex­hib­it­ing in his solu­tions of each a de­gree of acu­men
which ap­pears to the or­din­ary ap­pre­hen­sion præternat­ur­al.
His res­ults, brought about by the very soul and es­sence of meth­od, have, in truth, the whole air of in­tu­ition.
The fac­ulty of re-solu­tion is pos­sibly much in­vig­or­ated by math­em­at­ic­al study,
and es­pe­cially by that highest branch of it which, un­justly, and merely on ac­count of its ret­ro­grade op­er­a­tions, has been called, as if par ex­cel­lence, ana­lys­is.
Yet to cal­cu­late is not in it­self to ana­lyse. A chess-play­er, for ex­ample, does the one without ef­fort at the oth­er.
It fol­lows that the game of chess, in its ef­fects upon men­tal char­ac­ter, is greatly mis­un­der­stood.
I am not now writ­ing a treat­ise, but simply pre­fa­cing a some­what pe­cu­li­ar nar­rat­ive by ob­ser­va­tions very much at ran­dom;
I will, there­fore, take oc­ca­sion to as­sert that the high­er powers of the re­flect­ive in­tel­lect
are more de­cidedly and more use­fully tasked by the un­os­ten­ta­tious game of draughts than by all the elab­or­ate frivolity of chess.
In this lat­ter, where the pieces have dif­fer­ent and bizarre mo­tions, with vari­ous and vari­able val­ues,
what is only com­plex is mis­taken (a not un­usu­al er­ror) for what is pro­found.
The at­ten­tion is here called power­fully into play.
If it flag for an in­stant, an over­sight is com­mit­ted, res­ult­ing in in­jury or de­feat.
The pos­sible moves be­ing not only man­i­fold but in­vol­ute, the chances of such over­sights are mul­ti­plied;
and in nine cases out of ten it is the more con­cen­trat­ive rather than the more acute play­er who con­quers.
In draughts, on the con­trary, where the moves are unique and have but little vari­ation,
the prob­ab­il­it­ies of in­ad­vert­ence are di­min­ished, and the mere at­ten­tion be­ing left com­par­at­ively un­em­ployed,
what ad­vant­ages are ob­tained by either party are ob­tained by su­per­i­or acu­men.
To be less ab­stract — Let us sup­pose a game of draughts where the pieces are re­duced to four kings, and where, of course, no over­sight is to be ex­pec­ted.
It is ob­vi­ous that here the vic­tory can be de­cided (the play­ers be­ing at all equal) only by some recher­ché move­ment,
the res­ult of some strong ex­er­tion of the in­tel­lect.
De­prived of or­din­ary re­sources, the ana­lyst throws him­self into the spir­it of his op­pon­ent,
iden­ti­fies him­self there­with, and not un­fre­quently sees thus,
at a glance, the sole meth­ods (some­times in­deed ab­surdly simple ones) by which he may se­duce into er­ror or hurry into mis­cal­cu­la­tion.

Edgar Allan Poe
The Murders in the Rue Morgue / Der Doppelmord in der Rue Morgue
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Gisela Etzel

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