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Edgar Allan Poe is certainly one of America's greatest and most underrated writers; perhaps underrated because he's too easily pigeon-holed as a drug-addled horror writer.  In fact, he virtually created the modern mystery tale, wrote excellent poetry & many of the images from his horror stories have passed into the iconography of our culture--recall the Tell Tale Heart episode of Cheers, with Diane following Carla around going, boom--boom, boom-boom,....

One of the beauties of Poe is that, since his work was all poetry & short stories, you can get everything in a one volume addition like this one.  I'll just look at a couple of examples:

The Murders in the Rue Morgue:

With this tale, Poe created the detective story.  The narrator is a friend of C. Auguste Dupin in earl 1800's Paris.  Dupin is gifted with a great intellect & comes of an illustrious family, but has been reduced to poverty and has shrunken into indolence. However, reading about a particularly brutal murder in Rue Morgue, he is stirred into action & he & the narrator set out to solve the

All of the elements that have become so familiar to us are present here; a locked room, a bizarre killing, a brilliant but eccentric detective, an incredulous sidekick, bumbling police, etc..  Most important, the crime is solved by the rigorous application of reason.  In Dupin we see the forerunner of everyone from Sherlock Holmes to Nero Wolfe.

The Cask of Amantillado:

The story is off & running from the first paragraph:

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could,
but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well
know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave
utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a
point definitely, settled --but the very definitiveness with which
it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but
punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution
overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger
fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given
Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my in to
smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at
the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point --this Fortunato --although in other regards
he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his
connoisseurship in wine.

Taking off from this brisk setup, Poe treats us to one of the really diabolical tales of vengeance in all of literature.  This one will trouble your sleep.

And, of course, your teacher taught you poetry by reading your class The Bells, The Raven and Annabel Lee.  I bet you still remember learning the word tintinnabulation.  They're all here & they're all just as morbid and scary as you remember them.


Grade: (A+)


See also:

Edgar Poe (2 books reviewed)
Edgar Poe Links:
-The Last Haunting of Edgar Allan Poe (The Beale Papers)

Book-related and General Links:
Read etext versions of some of the Stories & Poems:
    -Annabel Lee (1849)
    -The Bell (1849)
    -The Cask of Amantillado (1846)
    -The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
    -Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
    -The Pit and the Pendulum (1842)
    -The Raven (1845)
    -The Tell Tale Heart (1843)

    -Edgar Allan Poe Museum (Richmond, VA)
    -The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
    -BIO: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) (kirjasto)
    -Qrisse's Poe Page
    -Poe Coder
    -Index to the Edgar A. Poe Biography
    -Precisely Poe
    -Poe Perceptions: Poe's Recurrent Motifs and Themes
    -The House of Usher: Edgar Allan Poe
    -The Work of Edgar Allan Poe
    -A Poe Webliography by Heyward Ehrlich
    -PAL: Perspectives in American Literature:  A Research and Reference Guide Chapter 3: Early Nineteenth Century: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
    -The Folio Club
    -Edgar Allan Poe (Keith Parkins Site)
    -Edgar Allan Poe Page (Free Markets)
    -Edgar Allan Poe (Most Web)
    -ARTICLE : Poe's greatest mystery :  How did a Toronto software engineer succeed in cracking a code which defeated others for nearly 160 years? KIM HONEY reports on an enigmatic tale that began with the great Edgar Allan Poe (Globe and Mail)
    -REVIEW: of  The Poetical Works of Edgar A. Poe  (OCTOBER   1859, The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW: of  The Works of Edgar Allan Poe (APRIL  1896, The Atlantic)
    -ETEXTS: The Work of Edgar Allan Poe
    -ESSAY: BEYOND THE PALE WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE (Marilynne Robinson, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: Poe &  Lovecraft (Robert Bloch)
    -ARTICLE: Researcher Says Rabies, Not Alcoholism, May Have Killed Poe  Reporter: Christopher Shea, Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 1996
    -REVIEW:  Edgar A. Poe Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance By Kenneth Silverman (MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NY Times)
    -REVIEW:  Edgar A. Poe Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance By Kenneth Silverman (Daniel Hoffman, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW:  Harold Bloom: Inescapable Poe, NY Review of Books
        Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales edited by Patrick F. Quinn
        Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews edited by G.R. Thompson
    -REVIEW: Karl Miller: Poe in the Sky, NY Review of Books
        Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe
        Edgar Allan Poe by David Sinclair
        The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Work of Edgar Allan Poe by Julian Symons
        Building Poe Biography by John Carl Miller
    -REVIEW: Richard Wilbur: The Poe Mystery Case, NY Review of Books
        The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Eric W. Carlson
        Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays edited by Robert Regan
    -REVIEW:    NEVERMORE By William Hjortsberg (Tom De Haven, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: MYSTERIES JOIN THE MAINSTREAM (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times Book Review)
    -ARTICLE: A Case for Sherlock: The Double Helix of Crime Fiction and Science: The detective story has become a touchstone for academic criticism, raising issues that have become cultural obsessions. There have been examinations of the detective as skilled reader of cryptic texts and of the detective novel as a bourgeois morality tale.