Lionizing (Poe)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man with a large nose gained fame and fortune in high society, but lost it all when he shot off a rival's nose, making the rival more popular due to his lack of a nose.

A man named Robert Jones was born in the city of Fum-Fudge and believed that having a prominent nose would lead to greatness. His first action in life was grabbing his nose with both hands, which led his parents to believe he was a genius. His father presented him with a treatise on Nosology, the study of noses, which he mastered at a young age.

Robert Jones — narrator; obsessed with his large nose; ambitious, vain.

When Robert came of age, his father advised him to follow his nose and make a living out of it. Robert took this advice to heart and wrote a pamphlet on Nosology, which gained him widespread recognition and admiration. He was invited to various social events and gatherings, where he met many influential people who were impressed by his knowledge and his nose.

I now began to feel my way in the science, and soon came to understand that, provided a man had a nose sufficiently conspicuous, he might, by merely following it, arrive at a Lionship.

One day, Robert was invited to a prestigious event at Almack's, where his nose caused quite a stir among the attendees. Offended by their reactions, Robert challenged one of the guests, the Elector of Bluddennuff, to a duel.

The Elector of Bluddennuff — rival of the narrator; loses his nose in a duel; becomes more popular.

The next morning, he shot off the Elector's nose, which unexpectedly turned the tables on Robert's popularity.

His friends and acquaintances began to ridicule and shun him, calling him names and telling him to leave. Distraught, Robert sought advice from his father, who told him that while having a large nose was indeed a sign of greatness in Fum-Fudge, he had made a grave mistake by removing the Elector's nose entirely. His father explained that there was no competing with someone who had no nose at all, and thus, Robert's own prominence and success were overshadowed by the Elector's newfound fame.