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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,
He had a weak point --this Fortunato --although in other regards
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.
-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)