The Woe of Poe

I happen to own a tome of Poe’s complete tales and poems, consisting of 842 pages,
which I 
tried to take on this summer. Now, I say “tried”, because I am less certain
of my success than I was upon undertaking the project.


Once starting the book from the very first page, the very first story, I found it to be so detailed in technical terms of hot air ballooning and sailing that I skipped it. With all due respect towards Mr. Poe, it was more than my disinterested mind could handle. Afterwards, I skipped another one, very similar in composition.upon undertaking the project.

Then, I reached a story called Mesmeric Revelation, which interested me and brought many interesting points for observation. Here is one excerpt particularly strong in its meaning:

 “All things are either good or bad by comparison. A sufficient analysis will show that pleasure, in all cases, is but the contrast of pain. Positive pleasure is a mere idea. To be happy at any one point we must have suffered at the same. Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed. But it has been shown that, in the inorganic life, paint cannot be; thus the necessity for the organic. The pain of the primitive life on Earth, is the sole basis of the bliss of the ultimate life in Heaven.”

Everything exists in comparison: love and hate, good and evil, pleasure and pain, life and death… It is a concept seemingly well known ( to educated people, at least), yet I believe we find hardship in grasping it as is. After reflecting on this point, in my head, I moved to the next story… to be disappointed yet again. Finally, I ventured to search, on the internet, for Poe’s best known and most horrific stories, and thus chose a few (including some intriguing titles) to be read that would not yield disappointment.

Here they are:

The Gold-bug (I have read this before, in Russian, and therefore knew of its excellence)
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade
The Murders in Rue Morgue
The Mystery of Marie Roget
The Fall of the House of Usher (see The Gold-bug parentheses)
The Purloined Letter
The Tell-tale Heart (see The Gold-bug parentheses)
The Black Cat
The Premature Burial
The Cask of Amontillado (see The Gold-bug parentheses)
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Oval Portrait
The Masque of the Red Death
Mystification
A Predicament
The Business Man
The Power of Words
Philosophy of Furniture
The Sphinx
Hop-Frog
Four Beasts in One
Some Words with a Mummy
The Raven (his most famous poem)

Do not get me wrong, Poe is a brilliant, brilliant writer, but some of his stories were intended for the kind of audience I am not. Therefore, I will gladly read these few stories and later attend to the others.

On the topic of Poe and his short stories, I would like to see the recent movie “The Raven” after reading the listed titles. I have grand hopes for the film.

Do you approve of the decision? Are you acquainted with Poe’s writing? Would you like to see the film?

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2 responses to “The Woe of Poe

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