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Edgar Allan Poe Remains The Unsurpassed Master Of Works Of Mystery And Madness In This Outstanding Collection Of Poe S Prose And Poetry Are Sixteen Of His Finest Tales, Including The Tell Tale Heart , The Murders In The Rue Morgue , The Fall Of The House Of Usher, The Pit And The Pendulum, William Wilson, The Black Cat, The Cask Of Amontillado, And Eleonora Here Too Is A Major Selection Of What Poe Characterized As The Passion Of His Life, His Poems The Raven, Annabel Lee, Ulalume, Lenore, The Bells, And , Plus His Glorious Prose Poem Silence A Fable And Only Full Length Novel, The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym I have read this for the 3rd time and finished 10 08 12.Very good I like Poe This collection wasn t the best, though For example, I wish Hop Frog was in it I like that short story I like Marie Roget, too, but I can see the editing of that from this book since we have two detective stories already.The last story I finished in this book was The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Aside from the racism in the story and Poe is now dead and he wrote in the 1800 s, so nothing can now be done about that it s an interesting narrative about a man on a boat heading to the Antarctic There s perhaps too much seafaring detail in there for my tastes The ending to that story is definitely unsatisfying I also got a good sense of 19th values toward conquering the world reading this narrative.It seemed like the majority of the stories mention the words opium and ague at least once I got to the point where I started looking for the first mention of opium and ague every time I started a new story.I also get the feeling that being buried alive was one of Poe s worst nightmares I think that was a general feeling of the population during that time in history I have just found out Jules Verne wrote a sequel to Arthur Gordon Pym called An Antarctic Mystery I am glad Very glad I have requested it from the library and hope to read it sometime soon. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth.I heard many things in hell.Villains I shrieked Dissemble no I admit the deed Tear up the planks Here, here It is the beating of his hideous heart I had always felt aversion to my uncourtly patronymic, and its very common, if not plebeian praenomen It was night, and the rain fell and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood And I stood in the morass among the tall and the rain fell upon my head and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation Say what Is it rain or is it blood, or is it a plebeian praenomen And WTF is a praenomen anyway Edgar Allan Poe is not the easiest author to get on with From time to time he lapses into writing weird indecipherable passages like the ones above People often accuse H.P Lovecraft of writing purple prose, but Lovecraft has nothing on Poe whose prose is so purple he is probably Prince s RIP favorite author Still, the stories in this collection are mostly great if you can get through the language barrier Certainly for Halloween you would be hard pressed to find a better anthology When professional reviewers review an anthology they don t normally review each story in the book Fortunately I am not a pro and this is how I like to do it, so here we go 1 The Tell Tale HeartOne of Poe s best known stories Our unreliable narrator decides to kill his granddad because he has an annoyingly weird eye That is just the beginning of the story, what transpires is literally insane and quite disturbing.2 The Black CatAnother unnamed psychotic narrator protagonist kills his pet cat and later his wife Trouble starts for him when he attempts to kill a second cat.The most violent story in the book, lots of madness, mayhem, and spooky felines Gives me the willies An excellent Halloween read.3 The Cask of Amontillado A story of revenge for unknown offences Whathisname lures his friendenemy to his creepy wine cellar with the promise of a cask of vintage Amontillado.Interestingly this story seems to have brought Poe back into vogue with the Tumblr generation The Cask of Amontillado has become a meme Thank you, Cecily for the info 4 Fall of the House of Usher Probably as famous as The Tell Tale Heart Quite sane unnamed protagonist visits his almost sane friend Roderick Usher at his creepy creaky and cracked in the middle house, where he lives with his dying sister Madeline The poor lady soon dies and things go from bad to OMG That ending Read twice for full effect.Don t miss hilarious Thug Notes Summary Analysis of this story Youtube clip 5 The Masque of the Red DeathOne of Poe s overtly supernatural stories most of them seem to be psychological horror Prince Prospero throws a masquerade ball during a time when the Red Death plague has gone viral than Rick Rolling Different coloured rooms, a creepy clock that chimes every hour and unfailingly stops all the partiers in their track as they can never get used to it At midnight, as the party is in full swing, a mysterious hooded figure in a horrible robe and wearing a scary mask gatecrashes Very spooky.6 The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar My attention, for the last three years, had been repeatedly drawn to the subject of Mesmerism and, about nine months ago it occurred to me, quite suddenly, that in the series of experiments made hitherto, there had been a very remarkable and most unaccountable omission no person had as yet been mesmerized in articulo mortis. LOL Well, that is going to work out well for him not Some people just have very strange hobbies Our unnamed narrator is very much into hypnotism and conducts an experiment on his pal M Valdemar who is literally at death s door The results are unexpected and horrifying.7 LigeiaA bit of a long winded ghost story Opium fueled hallucination or supernatural shenanigan You decide 8 The Murders in the Rue MorgueAha Surely you have heard of this one Monsieur C Auguste Dupin, prototype pre Holmes ace detective investigates an impossible murder in Paris while mocking the The Parisian police for their lack of imaginationThe Parisian police, so much extolled for acumen, are cunning, but no There is no method in their proceedings, beyond the method of the moment Inspector Lestrade probably has a cousin working there There is even a prototype Watson narrating the story, unfortunately he is a Poe narrator so he does not get a name Dupin is awesome but a very long winded fellow His elaborate explanations go on and on and Watson his sidekick should have said My dear fellow TMI Still a great story, though and violent asnd graphic than any Holmes or Poirot adventure I was going to post a nice picture to illustrate this story a bit but they are either spoilers or not very good, so no pics.9 The Purloined LetterDupin is back and he barely just left That is another of your odd notions, said the Prefect, who had a fashion of calling every thing odd that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of oddities Burn A story of a stolen important letter that can be used for blackmail purposes and destroy careers of public figures It is not very fast paced and Dupin is even long winded here Excellent denouement, though Clever stuff and quite entertaining, Dupin s super long winded expositions notwithstandiung.The old look over there trick from sneaky DupinConan Doyle s tribute to Poe is Holmes dissing Dupin 10 A Descent into the Maelstr mA stunningly boring tale of a whirlpool, it sucked me down its vortex and left me unconscious on my chair for at least 15 minutes An excellent soporific.In all fairness you may enjoy it, I just find an entire story based on a whirlpool very dull.11 The Pit and the PendulumOur unnamed narrator finds himself quite unexpectedly in the clutches of the Spanish Inquisition.OK, got that out of my system Alas, no comfy chair for the poor fellow More this sort of thing No sexy girlie to watch over him, though damn Hollywood A fantastic and very visceral story, beautifully constructed and the creepiness builds and builds You can just about feel the pendulum s blade swishing over your chest.12 MS Found in a Bottle I thought it was going to be about a genie in a bottle, turned out to be a dull ghost ship story How can a ghost ship story be dull Poe was so versatile and talented he could do anything including writing dull ghost ship stories.13 The Premature Burial A weird story about our unnamed narrator s obsession with being buried alive by mistake The narrative starts with Whathisname regaling the readers with documented cases of people being buried in error when they were still alive The narrator suffers from a rare of course disorder that puts him into a state of death like catalepsy So his biggest fear is becoming cataleptic in places where he is not known, he imagines that he may one day wake up to find himself six feet under, struggling to get out not a spoiler Great story 14 William WilsonA bizarre Twilight Zone ish story I did not like it to begin with, as Poe was rambling again earlier on, but I quickly changed my mind when weirdness ensues A strange, possibly allegorical story of a doppelganger Supernatural or psychological Again, you decide I tend to favor the supernatural explanation because that is the kind of guy I am 15 EleonoraA fable with an unexpected non twist WTF LOL Poe got me there, I find it kind of hilarious when I got to the end not sure if that is the effect Poe has in mind.16 Silence A FableMine eyes glazed over this story from beginning to end, and I can t really tell you anything about it Read my friend Glenn s erudite review of this story instead 17 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of NantucketThis is Poe s only full length novel I have not read it yet, I am sorry to say I suspect Poe like Lovecraft is better in small doses I may get around to it one day You will be the first to know well, top ten at least As mentioned earlier Poe prose is sometimes hard to read, or even downright impenetrable He often starts his stories with pages of rambling to set the scene to his stories Fortunately, the stories often take wing after he is done setting the scene Occasionally that does not happen and he just rambles on until the end.At his best, his stories are fascinating and often horrifying The images that his best stories conjure up are indelible in my mind Better still, the very best ones can be read again and again sometimes even immediately after having just read them It is all too easy to miss details on the first read because his prose is often convoluted However, rereading these stories often yields greater understanding and appreciation He is a much better prose stylist then Lovecraft, though Poe is naturally eloquent whereas I feel Lovecraft tries too hard and often end up with verbiage.I have not reviewed the poems in this book because I have not yet read them except The Raven, which is awesome I don t think I should attempt reviewing poems, I will leave that to my friend Cecily.Spooky QuotesIt was not a groan of pain or of grief oh, no it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe That perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar faces in coals that glow is not he who beholds floating in mid air the sad visions that the many may not view is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attentionWTF External quote Sherlock Holmes dissing DupinNo doubt you think that you are complimenting me in comparing me to Dupin, he observed Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow That trick of his of breaking in on his friends thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour s silence is really very showy and superficial He had some analytical genius, no doubt but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine From A Study In Scarlet My first time to read and finish a collection by Edgar Allan Poe and I was just blown away This was one of my two Halloween reads this year and it made my long Halloween weekend truly worth remembering Here are my reactions to each of the 32 writings included in the book by Edgar Allan Poe STORIES 1 The Tell Tale Heart 3 STARSQuite scary The narrator murders his or her there is no pronoun used master who has a vulture like eyes The narrator admits the crime at the beginning of his narration but what he or she is trying to prove is his or her sanity EAP has the ability to vividly describe his milieu and draws you in immediately right from the first paragraph of the story.2 The Black Cat 4 STARSI find this better written and complex than the first story A man and his wife are fond of animals and they have a black cat named Pluto Roman God of the underworld They love the cat until the man becomes alcoholic One evening, he plucks out the eye of the cat and hangs the poor animal by the tree Critics say that this is the darkest among EAP s tales.3 The Cask of Amontillado 4 STARSVery simple story yet it can send chills to your nerves Just the mention of catacombs and niche in the kind of prose only EAP can write makes this reading truly apt for this season of Trick or Treats The fact that there is no clear given reason why Montresor is leaving Fortunato alive inside the catacomb makes the story fresh and very inventive that is different from what I normally expect or demand from the contemporary crime novels.4 The Fall of the House of Usher 5 STARSI was reading this late last night and I could not sleep because I got scared The narration comes alive and the images are playing in my mind Madeline, the sister, entombed alive by Roderick Usher, his brother The gothic scenes the castle, the lighting, the eerie song Unbelievably scary I have never read a novel or a short story that can keep you awake until it is really really time for you to sleep because it is 1am and you have work or school to attend to in a few hours.5 The Masque of the Red Death 4 STARSA real treat but less scary It seems to tell us the inevitability of death as symbolized by the many rooms and the different colors of the costume The Red Death is like the Boogeyman who gets Prospero and his guests and as they fall or die one by one, it just mimics that happens in real life EAP s prose is just exceptional There is nothing like his play of words to impart the eerie but still really beautiful stories.6 The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar 4 STARSVery interesting The use of hypnosis to a dying man At first, I did not know what was going on until I realized that the narrator was conducting an experiment by using magnetism to hypnotize Mr Valdemar who kept on saying I m dying or Dead, dead, dead I could not imagine this happening in real life It is too unkind But this is a Halloween read but if Madeline was entombed alive by her brother, this is nothing.7 Ligeia 3 STARSSeems to me like a wishful thinking kind of story When the man s first wife dies, he imagines the second one to be the reincarnation of the first Opium was probably not prohibited during that time and it was even considered as an over the counter medicine so the grieving man who is taking care of his first wife drugs her for a painless death The second half of the story seems like a hallucination.8 The Murders in the Rue Morgue 3 STARSThis one feels like a Sherlock Holmes short story rather than Edgar Allan Poe s I have read the whole Holmes canon and I liked it but I prefer EAP to be himself and his forte is horror There is a certain EAP touch on this though, the double murder is gruesome than any of the Holmes.9 The Purloined Letter 3 STARSC Aguste Dupin is back Hay, it s good that the 3rd story, The Mystery of Marie Ruget, is not in this collection Again this story is a detective instead of a horror story The story revolves around a stolen letter that is being used by the powerful thief to blackmail an influential woman in the society The letter contains some juicy information about her It is up to Dupin to bring the bribing thief into open by wearing a green Ray Ban.10 A Descent into the Maelstrom 4 STARSA story within a story and it is refreshing because it is not a horror story but a science fiction I did not know that EAP wrote a sci fi I could imagine him writing a detective story because the movie The Raven starring John Cussack that I saw a couple of weeks back was really a detective story similar to those of Sherlock Holmes Here in A Descent into the Maelstrom, there is a theory that the bigger or heavier body descends faster into the whirlpool Also, this made me remember the instant graying of the hair when subjected to too much stress I heard that story from my high school history teacher who was a fan of Edgar Allan Poe.11 The Pit and the Pendulum 4 STARSVery much like the movie series Saw Or it even pales in comparison because in Saw, the prisoners have to saw off their limbs to have the chance to escape However, this story should be credited for two things Poe s narrative is just wonderful The first half of the book focuses on the prisoner s fears in reaction to what he sees, feels and hears The swinging of the pendulum producing swish swish sound, the darkness, and the sight of the rats.12 MS Found in a Bottle 3 STARSThis is said to be the story that launched Edgar Allan Poe s career It won in a contest for short stories It is about a man who survives a shipwreck and found a new one manned by an elderly crew The survivor finds writing journal and egins writing a manuscript that he plans to toss into the sea afterwards.13 The Premature Burial 3 STARSLike 2 Amontillado and 3 Usher above, this story is about a man getting buried alive During Poe s time, public was fascinated about vampirism so dead people are buried right away as they might turn into vampires This is a bit passe now considering that particularly here in the Philippines, wakes last from 3 or days prior to interment.14 William Wilson 4 STARSOMG I heard this word doppelg nger from a teenager girl while nightswimming with her last Thursday, Nov 1st When I heard that word, I asked what does it mean She explained that it is having some kind of spirit mimicking you by looking and acting like you I said, wow, I learned something from a very young person like you 15 Eleonora 4 STARSSaid to be the story that EAP wrote to alleviate the guilt that he felt falling in love with another woman after his first wife died What makes this short story different from the rest of his stories is that this is basically autobiographical and has an relatively happy ending.16 Silence A Fable 4 STARSA short piece, only a couple of pages long, it is like a dream than a story with real characters It is full of symbolism and rich imagery Very deep, very intense I d like to know what Poe was thinking when he wrote this Was he trippin NOVEL 17 The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nuntucket 4 STARSThe only novel in this collection It involves shipwreck, mutiny and cannibalism The narrator, Arthur Gordon Pym, is saved by Dirk Peters and the narrative continues when they land but get into conflict with black native men They go back to the sea and the narrative ends while they are heading to the South Pole This novel is partly adventure, partly sci fi, party travelogue, partly gruesome and macabre I liked the first person narrative That distinct voice that only EAP has is very evident and enjoyable when he is using first person narrator It feels creepy and classy I enjoyed his better than Nathaniel Hawthorne s Also, this is said to have inspired the works of Herman Melville and Jules Verne POEMS 18 Stanzas 4 STARSThe power of the moonlight The mystic energy that comes from the sun I remember a Tagalog song from my childhood that is a song about the moonO maliwanag na buwan Nakikiusap ako Ang aking minamahal Sana ay hanapin mo Tadhana ma y magbiro Araw man ay magdaan Ang pagibig ko sa kanya Ay hindi magbabago Magpakaylan pa man 19 Romance 4 STARSA poem about looking back first stanza and regret second stanza The narrator used to love romance that he compares to a bird to lisp my very earliest word and I also remembered that when I was a young man, I just lie down on the grass covered earth and think about the future Now, I don t have time for that any akin to the feeling of the narrator I have no time for idle cares and so he regrets the lost of his younger years.20 To Helen 4 STARSAn obvious reference to Helen of Troy because of the use of classical beauty Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face This poem is EAP s tribute to female beauty similar to Pablo Neruda s Ode to a Beautiful Nude where Neruda describes the nude female body I enjoy this kind of poem because poetry itself is like a female body, it is smooth, soft and invigorating to the senses.21 Israfel 4 STARSQuite different from the other poems and works of EAP This is cheery, positive and inspiring The title comes from the Islam angel Israfel who will show up during the Second Coming playing the trumpet She plays very well so everyone will be looking and hearing her every note Nice to read something not only different from most of the works in this collection but also appreciate EAP when he talks about angels rather than demons or supernatural beings.22 The City in the Sea 3 STARSThis is what I am saying in 21 This poem is the classic usual EAP I mean this is gothic through and through It talks about a city that is ruled by demons The city is by the sea and it is in the west of it and when that is the scenario, the city is said to be doomed It is good that Manila is in the east although it is surrounded by China Sea and Pacific Ocean Hmmm.23 The Sleeper 4 STARSEAP proudly claimed that this his is best poem Better than The Raven It is about the death of a lovely woman and goes with the woman is his love A melancholy and painful poem to read but nevertheless very beautiful.24 The Valley of Unrest 3 STARSThe speaker in the poem asks if all lovely things are far away It mentions again a woman called Helen that according to critics was Jane Stannard, EAP s first love and the mother of a friend It also talks about the valley that is partly Satan, angel and also a large part broken heart This is another sad poem in this collection.25 Lenore 4 STARSUnlike 23, 24 and his other works with dying or dead beautiful woman, in this poem, EAP talks about the possibility of meeting the woman in paradise after life Here the Lenore s the dead woman fiance, Guy de Vere, says that they should not be sad because she will soon be very happy with the angels in heaven.26 The Raven 5 STARSThe best so far poem in this collection It is many things to me it is painful and sad the speaker is lamenting the lost of his love Lenore see 25 yet it is musical and not really gloomy, overall The verses are playful and you can imagine the raven flying in the air, through the window, and settling on the statue The raven also talks it keeps on saying Never and it adds to the childlike playful prose It is sad yet it is happy in a way However, the playful scene ends when the speaker begins to talk to the raven while sitting on the statue of Pallas He asks if he is to be reunited with Lenore and when the raven says Never, he gets angry and the feeling of doom dawns on the poem.27 A Valentine 5 STARSEAP is a women s guy His writings are mostly about death, life, love andwomen In this poem, you can find the name of his girl, Frances Sargent Osgood To find the name, take the first letter of the first line, then the second letter of the second line, then the third letter of the third line, and so on Source Wiki I did see it Very clever.28 Ulalume A Ballad 5 STARSAlmost put tears to my eyes while reading This is similar to the other works of EAP that talk about a death of a woman he loves Just how many deaths did EAP experience in his life I know his wife died and he remarried But I guess even the loss of his many girlfriends he was a playboy, wasn t he became like death to himself The setting of this poem is by the lake on a moonlit night and with tears in his eyes, he stumbles the grave of his loved one, Ulalume Very sad.29 For Annie 5 STARSA dying man gives thanks that his lingering illness, life, is finally over He is now beyond pain and suffering But no one, he says, should think pityingly of him After all, everyone will lie in the same bed he does Moreover, his death is not final As his lover, Annie, looks on him and cries because she thinks he is dead, he declares that his heart and his thoughts are alive than ever, for they are filled with the sight of Annie s love Though dead, he lives on because of her love Is there any other poem sadder than this 30 Annabel Lee 5 STARSThis is the only poem of EAP that I still remember reading during my school days not sure whether in elementary or high school This poem is very romantic compared to the dark gloomy ones that he wrote particularly 28 and 29 above This talks about him missing his beautiful woman named of course, Annabel Lee while he is in his room unlike 28 that has a setting by the lake Short and sweet yet of course sad If I will be asked to choose one poem by him, now I do not know which one to choose this or The Raven 31 The Bells 4 STARSWhat amazed me here is the use of the word bells to mimic the actual sound when a bell rings The repeated use of that word bells, bells, bells, bells, in the lines just did not remind me of the ringing of bells but also what those ringings signify to us in different points in our lives When I was baptized, for example, the church bells rang When I got married, they also rang When I will die, they will also ring for the last time These different stages in man s life is also captured in the use of the bells from the start to the end of the poem The mood becomes gloomier and gloomier.32 Alone 4 STARSSimply beautiful It tells us that no matter what we went through in life, we will always end up by ourselves Alone We were born to this earth alone unless you a twin and we will all die alone unless you die with a mass of people like in a battle or a catastrophe What a nice poem to cap this beautiful beautiful collection.I think I prefer Edgar Allan Poe as a poet rather than a short story writer or a novelist However, I rarely read poems so maybe that s the reason why I particularly enjoyed very much the poems in this collection I had no expectations about his poems prior to this.This book made my Halloween this year truly memorable Priceless read.