Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The moon never beams without bringing me dreams", 25 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Penguin Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Paperback)
Edgar Allan Poe is a writer whose reputation rests solely upon a handful of short stories and a poem; there are very few writers in the Western canon, or anywhere really, where this is the case. There's usually a novel that they're famous for and while Poe wrote a novel "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym", it isn't particularly good and doesn't hold up to the short stories.

But what stories they are! They're all filled with madmen, murder, jealousy, betrayal, revenge, magic, death, hatred, ghosts, haunted mansions, talking dead, hypnotists, and jesters - all the elements that went on to make up the horror genre that exists today. Poe is the grandfather of horror whose imagery still captures peoples' imaginations today.

The creepy old man with the one large eye in "Tell-tale Heart" whose still-beating dead heart drives his murderer insane; crazy Roderick Usher who sits in his crumbling mansion haunted by his dead sister's ghost; the figure of death who intrudes upon a prince's party in a locked up castle while all among the countryside reigns the Red Death; the nightmarish swinging pendulum; the living death of "M. Valdemar"; the sweet revenge of "Cask of Amontillado"; the immolated bullies of "Hop-Frog"; the murderous doppelganger of "William Wilson"; and the early template for the detective stories of later years in "Murders in the Rue Morgue", "Mystery of Marie Roget" and "Purloined Letter" - these are all first class stories that hold up superbly today.

The appeal of these captivating stories goes hand in hand with knowledge of Poe's own tortured life that contained numerous instances of heart-ache, loneliness, and loss, tinged with addiction to alcohol and drugs, and a mysterious death that remains unexplained to this day.

While the majority of the stories aren't as brilliant as "Amontillado" or "Usher", those few stories that are more than vindicate Poe's status as a great writer. And while the lesser stories like "Gold Bug", "Black Cat", and "Descent into the Maelstrom" feel slower, overwritten, and less interesting than the best of Poe, there are moments in them that stand out and make reading them worthwhile.

Then there is the poetry. "The Raven" stands head and shoulders above the others, and remains a startlingly arresting poem to read to yourself or aloud to others. It's sing-song quality is what keeps it so popular and its legendary images of a demented Raven saying "Nevermore", and entrancing lines "Once upon a midnight dreary...", make it a poem that people will willingly read, and keep returning to, until the end of time.

As with the stories, few other poems manage to reach the heights of "Raven" but there are a few gems in the poems, some excellent lines and images such as in "Lenore", "The Conqueror Worm", "Spirits of the Dead" and my favourite "Annabel Lee".

Poe's stories are a must-read for all fans of literature, whether horror, gothic or otherwise, as they're not only fascinating and well-written but are also, most importantly, great fun to read. So go on, turn off the lights, and by the glare of the silvery moon open up the pages to one of his stories, and scare yourself like it's 1842... nevermore.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.7 out of 5 stars (50 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
18.99 12.91
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 30