"The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" is a dark comedy short story written by American author Edgar Allan Poe.The story follows an unnamed narrator who visits a mental institution in southern France (more accurately, a "Maison de Santé") known for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the "system of soothing." A companion with whom he is travelling knows Monsieur Maillard, the originator of the system, and makes introductions before leaving the narrator. The narrator is shocked to learn that the "system of soothing" has been abandoned recently. He questions this, as he has heard of its success and popularity. Maillard tells him to "believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see."The narrator tours the grounds of the hospital and is invited to dinner. There, he is joined by twenty-five to thirty other people and a large, lavish spread of food. The other guests, he notices, are dressed somewhat oddly; though their clothes are well-made, they do not seem to fit the people very well. Most of them are female and were "bedecked with a profusion of jewelry, such as rings, bracelets and ear-rings, and wore their bosoms and arms shamefully bare." The table and the room were decorated with an excess of lit candles wherever it was possible to find a place for them. Dinner is also accompanied by musicians, playing "fiddles, fifes, trombones, and a drum" and, though they seem to entertain all others present, the narrator likens it to horrible noises (at one point even mentioning the torture and execution device known as the brazen bull). Upon the whole, the narrator says, there was much of the "bizarre" about everything at the dinner.Conversation as they eat focuses on the patients that they have been treating. They demonstrate for the narrator the strange behavior they have witnessed, including patients who thought themselves a teapot, a donkey, cheese, champagne, a frog, snuff, a pumpkin, and others. Maillard occasionally tries to calm them down, and the narrator seems very concerned by their behavior and passionate imitations.Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.Born in Boston, he was the second child of two actors. His father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Thus orphaned, the child was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia. Although they never formally adopted him, Poe was with them well into young adulthood. Tension developed later as John Allan and Edgar repeatedly clashed over debts, including those incurred by gambling, and the cost of secondary education for the young man. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. Poe quarreled with Allan over the funds for his education and enlisted in the Army in 1827 under an assumed name. It was at this time his publishing career began, albeit humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". With the death of Frances Allan in 1829, Poe and Allan reached a temporary rapprochement. Later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point and declaring a firm wish to be a poet and writer, Poe parted ways with John Allan.