Hot Best Seller

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Availability: Ready to download

Extraordinary artwork recreates three classic Poe tales.


Compare

Extraordinary artwork recreates three classic Poe tales.

30 review for Tales of Mystery and Imagination

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed Arabey

    It's unfair to just burying Poe in the "Horror" tomb, with a Raven & a Black Cat.. Reading this volume I really see how HUGE his imagination was, how it was ahead of his times. From traveling over the ocean by a air transportation... or It's unfair to just burying Poe in the "Horror" tomb, with a Raven & a Black Cat.. Reading this volume I really see how HUGE his imagination was, how it was ahead of his times. From traveling over the ocean by a air transportation... or to the moon.. Or inventing the first Detective story ever.. Or his delving into the matter, death, soul, mind and even God and free well by hypothesis. Or of course, the delving into the man's Conscience, guilt and self-destruction.. There's even kind of Romance, Fantasy, adventure, treasure hunt, code breaking, satire... He inspired Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Arthur Conan Doyle with crime novels, And inspired Jules Verne ,then H G Wells and even recently Andy Weir with his science fiction stories, And so more... just by his wild imagination.. So the five stars here are for his originality and innovations in stories.. Which is not just little Horror Stories.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Personal Note: ---------- In order to enjoy his stories, I read first the Arabic -complete, unbridged- translation of it... then reviewing and fast readin it in its original forum, since Poe use a bit hard language for me and he's got a way in 'digression' sometimes and complex sentences. So I skipped few stories here till I have the translation of it-and even enjoyed some stories that aren't in this edition-, so I'll be back to this book again soon. Mohammed Arabey From 20 April 2017 To 6 May 2017

  2. 4 out of 5

    A. Dawes

    This will be another ongoing review, as I've been doing with collections and anthologies. Poe has always mesmerised me in terms of his influence on writers and the short story genre at large; his poetry is also both haunting and relatively accessible. This collection was given to me in hardback, 31 years ago. Its pages are now yellow and aged, but the contents within are better than I remember. If you're patient with Poe, I think you'll find he's very rewarding in return. If you rush through and This will be another ongoing review, as I've been doing with collections and anthologies. Poe has always mesmerised me in terms of his influence on writers and the short story genre at large; his poetry is also both haunting and relatively accessible. This collection was given to me in hardback, 31 years ago. Its pages are now yellow and aged, but the contents within are better than I remember. If you're patient with Poe, I think you'll find he's very rewarding in return. If you rush through and don't enjoy the rhythm of the prose, I'd imagine he'd be tiresome. He's one of those writers to be savoured when you have the time rather than a page turning entertainment. William Wilson 5* William Wilson" is all about 'the double'. Even the eponymous title is a pun of sorts: Will-I-am, and Wil-son. Through a doppelganger haunting William, Poe explores the concept of sanity. An interesting story with long sentences but little specific imagery. Psychologically chilling. The Gold-Bug 3* A little more dated, involving a bug bite (and potential madness) and a cryptogram. Not a storyline that did much for me personally. The Fall of the House of Usher 5* A classic Poe story. The unnamed narrator visits the crumbling gothic mansion of his friend Usher to learn of Usher's sister's death. But not all is as seems. This story is the very opposite of William Wilson in terms of style. Rather than being devoid of imagery, Poe illustrates his stylistic variation and prowess with a story of sensory imagery overload. Poe manages this detailed gothic prose to build on an especially macabre mood and atmosphere. The language aesthetics here are as powerful as the story. A gothic horror masterpiece. The Masque of Red Death 5* Another gothic fantasy. Holed up in an aristocratic castle trying to avoid 'the Red Death'- basically the plague; a masquerade ball takes a catastrophic turn. A masked guest in blue is the Red Death personified. And although deadly, he is both more and less than he seems. Foreboding atmosphere throughout. A strong tale. The Cask of Amontillado 4.5* Like most of Poe's stories, this haunted me long after I finished it. What atmosphere could be more chilling than a man murdering another for revenge at Carnivale time in a unnamed part of Italy? The protagonist, Montresor, somehow holds Fortunato accountable for his own decline in fortunes. Fortunato (obviously relating to fortune) is a happy, respected and an admired member of society, who has risen through the ranks, possibly with the aid of The Freemasons. He is everything Montresor once was, and he has apparently made a few derogatory comments about Montresor, although whether this is the reason for his murder, or whether the reason is an envy bordering on lunacy, is questionable. Another excellent dark story. A Descent into the Maelstrom 3* An old-fashioned tale of a maelstrom whirlpool survivor. Only Poe takes the wonders and beauty of the vortex further. Not my personal favourite, but I'd think a few sci-fi fans would love it. The Pit and the Pendulum 4* As a reader who enjoys dark fiction, fantasy and historical fiction, this imaginative tale of torture during the Spanish Inquisition really intrigued me. The strong aural imagery throughout takes us almost into the realm of the ghostly too. I feel as though this story had a great influence on gothic horror tales in general. While not as complicated as some other stories here, it's still a captivating narrative. The Purloined Letter 3.5* A forerunner for short detective fiction. A letter has been stolen and there appears blackmail (and more) at hand. There are far better detective stories out there, but this is an interesting look at an early exponent of the genre. Metzengerstein 4* A gothic tale on a hyperbolic scale. This one is devoid of subtlety and is rather heavy handed with regards to both the gothic tropes along with its overt symbolism. In this tale, Frederick, the sole living member of the Metzengerstein family line, has a long standing vendetta with the Berlifitzing clan. When a fire destroys the Berlifitzing patriarch, Frederick is suspected. Frederick, however, is obsessed with a wild horse, which has eerily gone unobserved. Metzengerstein's own home is then set alight, and with an ironic justice, the wild horse, with Frederick on it, charges into the flames. A clever case of guilt personified -or guilt hippofied... The Murders in the Rue Morgue 3.5* Murders, balconies, and that good ol'orangutan... Detective Dupin from The Purloined Letter is back again. Once again this mystery story is not nearly as sharp as the detective stories of today. In fact, this story is laughable. I still liked it though, as I don't think I'll ever read another mystery story involving a Bornean great ape. The Tell-tale Heart 5* One of the most famous of Poe's stories, so it doesn't require any of my clumsy commentary. Lovely way to end the collection. This collection is worth it. It chiefly contains the best of Poe with a range of styles on display, and those few tales that aren't his best are still incredibly interesting in terms of the evolution of the short story. When on song, Poe is a gothic master, and the chilling psychology behind most of these haunting tales adds extra layers to the intrigue and uncertainty, and these layers exemplify Poe's greatest works.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    I remember visiting the Edgar Allan Poe museum the last time I was in Richmond, Virginia. At the time I don't think I had read any of his work, except perhaps The Raven. The museum was a creepy place, as you might imagine, with a lot of dark wood and eerie pictures and a strange garden that seemed to be in permanent shadow. It was a strange place and he was a strange man – a hard writer to pin down: distinctly American, but hugely influential in European letters; not technically a very brilliant I remember visiting the Edgar Allan Poe museum the last time I was in Richmond, Virginia. At the time I don't think I had read any of his work, except perhaps The Raven. The museum was a creepy place, as you might imagine, with a lot of dark wood and eerie pictures and a strange garden that seemed to be in permanent shadow. It was a strange place and he was a strange man – a hard writer to pin down: distinctly American, but hugely influential in European letters; not technically a very brilliant writer, and yet the founder of half a dozen new literary genres. Reading him feels, to me, like an act of almost shameful self-indulgence; rich but sickly; you feel you need a brisk walk afterwards. His weird stories mark a bridge between the Gothic and the new movements of symbolism and decadence and, later, the genres that would become known as horror and science fiction. He also invented the modern detective story. I think of him as one of those writers that translates easily. In the same way, Tolstoy is venerated by non-Russians while native speakers find his prose mediocre. French speakers often say something similar about Victor Hugo. And the French were, it must be said, quite obsessed with ‘Edgar Poe’, particularly after his works were translated by Baudelaire. Quelque chose de monomanique was the shrewd judgement of the Goncourts. Hard to argue with that. The predominant theme is death, but death elevated to a supernatural vividness and importance. The archetypal image of his works, for me, is the image of the young, beautiful, dead woman. This trope features heavily in ‘Morella’, ‘Berenice’, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘Ligeia’ – and indeed in Poe's own life, because he married his thirteen-year-old cousin and she went on to die of tuberculosis when she was twenty-four. The death clearly left a lasting imprint on him. So, yes: thanatophilia. I'm rolling out the long words. But it's true. Have a look at how he chooses to end ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, for instance: And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. Sleep tight, kids! Another story ends: ‘the grave was still a home, and the corrosive hours, co-mates.’ Another ends: ‘there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome—of detestable putridity.’ Another ends – well you get the idea. Poe's prose is melodramatic and rococo and makes full use of Grand Exclamations! And italicised phrases of dread! Oh the Horror and the Agony! And nothing but the drear grave and the worm for evermore! And so forth. But he is also imaginative and, sometimes, positively economical, setting the scene brilliantly in just a few short sentences and creating an atmosphere all his own (what Allen Ginsberg called his ‘demonic dreaminess’). His vocabulary, steeped as it is in the high-flown tradition of dark romanticism, was a constant delight to me, built of ornate items like sulphureous, pulsation, exergue, faucial, chasmal, cachinnatory, asphyctic and many more goodies besides. Jorge Luis Borges said that Poe's writings as a whole constitute a work of genius, although each individual piece is flawed. This is a very appealing assessment. He is an important writer, and often a very fascinating and enjoyable one – but that said, I don't really feel the desire to spend all that much time in his company. However, make sure you get a version with Harry Clarke's angular, Beardsley-esque illustrations. They are superlative.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    "An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day." D.H. Lawrence. Burying people alive, ghosts, macabre deaths of usually delicate and young women, dark magic, effects of inebriation and hallucination, torture, whirlpools sucking people out of their time, fatal plagues, abnormal psychological states, obsessional behaviors... William Blake in prose. If D.H. Lawrence was any close to right about his predicament I wouldn't have like "An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day." D.H. Lawrence. Burying people alive, ghosts, macabre deaths of usually delicate and young women, dark magic, effects of inebriation and hallucination, torture, whirlpools sucking people out of their time, fatal plagues, abnormal psychological states, obsessional behaviors... William Blake in prose. If D.H. Lawrence was any close to right about his predicament I wouldn't have liked to be in Mr.Poe's skin, such horrors! That Poe lead a tormented and dysfunctional life is no secret. Haunted by the death of his mother when he was barely a toddler and later by the long illness and ultimate death of the love of his life(his cousin Virginia)whom he married when she was only thirteen, Poe struggled to keep afloat between feelings of abandonment and loss and his growing ill-health and addictions which eventually killed him in mysterious circumstances at the age of 40. Whether this gloomy life served him as inspiration or he released his pain into his work, the extremeness of his imaginative creations managed to capture attention, if not acceptance. The sickness-the nausea- The pitiless pain- Have ceased, with the fever That maddened my brain- With the fever called "Living" That burned in my brain. Considered the father of the short story, Poe manages to control the soul of the reader, nothing intervenes or distracts once you are engulfed in one of his curious and terrifying tales, you feel pulled down by an inexplicable and exotic sort of nostalgia which catches at your breath and prevents you from stopping to read. But make no mistake, Poe plays with you, giving you hope in a futile attempt to search for the truth and offer a plausible explanation for the unaccountable, even though you know deep inside that the end will be doomed from the start. His literary quality is irrefutable, he borrows from the European Gothic tradition and adds elements of detective stories, creating a new register which seeks for the horrendous truth, for the paincuts into your soul, although sometimes a rare kind of beauty oozes from the text, whether conscious or unconsciously I can't say: Then silence, stillness, and night were the universe But mainly, Poe appears as a ruthless, crude and pessimistic voice who wants to put order amid the chaos, who wants to explain the inexplicable to elevate the name of the artist; offering an alternative to the newly born optimism, complacency and materialism of his age, and asking for nothing in return. He didn't seek for approval and often had to endure rebuke, few of his contemporaries valued his work at the time and being considered an oddball he was banned from society (or he excluded himself willingly). It is through the anguish and torment expressed in his poems and short stories that it is plausible to imagine his existence rather miserable and that he suffered from a precariously balanced state of mind. But then, once again, I ask myself the same question which always arises when I try to link the real life of a writer with his work, was it his eccentricity that made his works so special? Were they the product of a genius or a deranged mind ? Or both? The truth is, I am heartily sick of this life, and of the nineteenth century in general. I am convinced that everything is going wrong. Besides, I am anxious to know who will be President in 2045. As soon, therefore, as I shave and swallow a cup of coffee, I shall step over to Ponnonner's and get embalmed for a couple of hundred years. In any case, although his haunted mind offered no respite, Poe's lucid writing managed to push the scales of reality and redefine the artistic world of beauty and lyricism towards a new daring approach where the probability of terror and darkness prevailed and where the motto could be summed up as to deny what is, and explain what is not . As it usual happens in real life, neither black nor white, just a blurred smudge of indistinct grey.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    In 1849 Baudelaire published in France the Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque, of Allan Poe, with the title Extraordinary Stories, which reached a great success.It is a very elaborate set of texts - such as The Fall of the House of Usher, The Barrel of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Crimes of Morgue Street, among others - in which, with extreme skill, Poe focuses on the fantastic and the supernatural with detailed descriptions, leading the reader to a nocturnal world, enigmatic, neurotic and ter In 1849 Baudelaire published in France the Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque, of Allan Poe, with the title Extraordinary Stories, which reached a great success.It is a very elaborate set of texts - such as The Fall of the House of Usher, The Barrel of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Crimes of Morgue Street, among others - in which, with extreme skill, Poe focuses on the fantastic and the supernatural with detailed descriptions, leading the reader to a nocturnal world, enigmatic, neurotic and terrifying.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Solvian Ranzuline

    -The Gold-Bug -The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar -The Black Cat -The Masque of the Red Death -The Cask of Amontillado -The Imp of the Perverse -The Oval Portrait -The Tell-Tale Heart -Berenice

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kyriakos Sorokkou

    Tales of Mystery & Imagination Since I've written mini reviews for each of the stories I will have them here slightly edited along with an overall rating and review for the collection as a whole. 1) The Gold Bug A treasure hunt story involving cryptography, directions, clues, skulls, and a lot of digging. It felt like watching Dora the Little Explorer but in a much darker atmosphere. 4 main characters, the narrator, his friend Mr Legrand, Legrand's dog and Legrand's servant, a nigger, yes anoth/>1) Tales of Mystery & Imagination Since I've written mini reviews for each of the stories I will have them here slightly edited along with an overall rating and review for the collection as a whole. 1) The Gold Bug A treasure hunt story involving cryptography, directions, clues, skulls, and a lot of digging. It felt like watching Dora the Little Explorer but in a much darker atmosphere. 4 main characters, the narrator, his friend Mr Legrand, Legrand's dog and Legrand's servant, a nigger, yes another story that has racist remarks. Anyway this was a 3.5 stars story nothing more than a treasure hunt. But I've enjoyed it more than others. 2) The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar A practitioner of mesmerism (a precursor of hypnosis) tries through the medium of hypnosis/mesmerism to revive a recently deceased person. A macabre little tale worthy of 3 stars. Didn't blew my mind though. 3) MS. Found in a Bottle A story about a man that scrambles aboard a gigantic ship manned by elderly crewmen who are unable to see him (possibly a ghost ship). A sea tale that ends abruptly and with a sense of doom. 3 stars because I needed more, something that Mr. Poe rarely does. 4) A Descent into the Mælström At the summit of a mountain climb in Lofoten (mentioned in Kavvadias Ο Πιλότος Νάγκελ), in Norway, an old Norwegian is telling the story of his near escape from a massive whirlpool called Mælström. Interesting story but there's no actual rising action or suspense because you know that the narrator is going to survive since he's the one telling the story. Almost 3 stars. 5) The Murders in the Rue Morgue A tale that is considered the first detective story, written 46 years before the first Sherlock Holmes story in 1887. A gruesome double murder is committed in Rue Morgue in Paris and amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin investigates the crime scene. What he finds is beyond suspicion. 3.5 6) The Mystery of Marie Rogêt A sequel to the previous story. The longest and most boring story so far. It doesn't have a plot. Dupin just discusses with the narrator whether the murdered girl was murdered and then thrown into the river or the other way round, whether her clothes were torn intentionally or not, or whether the newspaper articles were telling the truth or were inventing things about the murder &c. You will enjoy this essay-like story only if you are a forensics/criminology student. 2 stars 7) The Purloined Letter Definitely better story than The Mystery of Marie Rogêt but definitely not as good as The Murders in the Rue Morgue, or moreover an enjoyable reading. It is a discussion more or less of how Dupin managed to take back the Purloined Letter from the villain of the story (a blackmailer) and give it back to the police. They also talk about versions of reality and mathematics. 2.9 stars 8) The Fall of the House of Usher Finally, a decent gothic story by Mr. Poe in this collection. Our narrator arrives at the gloomy, gothic, decaying house of his childhood friend Roderick Usher and the atmosphere is oppressive even for the reader who anticipates this fall of the house that looms over the story like a threat. An eerie story that you enjoy even though some elements remain inexplicable. 3,5 stars 9) The Pit and the Pendulum From Wikipedia: Terror is the feeling of dread and anticipation that precedes the horrifying experience. By contrast, horror is the feeling of revulsion that usually occurs after something frightening is seen, heard, or experienced. So this is a terror story, the narrator describes his experience of being tortured next to a pit full of rats and a pendulum above him is about to cut him in half. The story was a disappointment though even to George R.R. Martin, who while at high school he changed the story into a much gruesome and horrible ending which I approve. 10) The Premature Burial A horror short story on the theme of being buried alive (!) In the first part the narrator describes different cases of premature burials from where some victims escaped and some not! In the second part he describes his own experience as a man who suffers from anxiety of being buried alive. Graves, corpses, tombs, graveyards, mausoleums. Everything I like to read this time of the year. 3.5 11) The Black Cat Violence against animals, which is followed by a series of ghastly revenges. The narrator, a most unlikable character. He deserved everything he suffered (IMO). Moreover the story is a critique of the perverse actions brought on by alcoholism. 3.5 12) The Masque of the Red Death The title says it all: Death. The story starts and ends with death. All the characters of the story die drenched in blood. 3.5 13) The Cask of Amontillado This was one of the first stories I've ever read in English back in 2009 when my English was worse than Tsipras's. Since then I've read it at least 3 more times. A favourite story of revenge, wine, and murder. . . 4 stars. 14) The Oval Portrait From Wikipedia: "The Oval Portrait" is a short story [...] involving the disturbing circumstances surrounding a portrait in a chateau. It is one of his shortest stories, filling only two pages in its initial publication in 1842. I believe this tale might have inspired Oscar Wilde to write his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. 3.5 15) The Oblong Box Nice little story but of course I saw what was coming. A mysterious box belonging to an even more mysterious man, on a ship full of passengers. 3 stars because it was simply interesting but not long enough. 16) The Tell-Tale Heart A story that was pretty similar with the Black Cat but with a more sinister feeling and a very unreliable insane person as a narrator. The ending was the same with Black Cat's ending so I was a bit disappointed to read the same thing again. 3.5 stars though. 17) Ligeia The story can be divided into 3 parts. Part 1 where the unnamed narrator describes his wife Ligeia, her appearance and her mind and then she falls ill and dies. Part 2 where the narrator moves to an unnamed gothic abbey in England marries a second wife Rowena who also falls ill and dies. Part 3 is where the supernatural elements of the story come alive. . . Can't say more, you have to read it yourself. Atmospheric and eerie, yet verbose and slow. 3 stars 18) Loss of Breath What a weird little story. A man literally loses his breath and everybody thinks he's a corpse and so they throw him out of a carriage, they dissect him, they hang him, they bury him, but he can't feel anything because he's out of breath! It was strange and macabre but the concept didn't convince me. How is it possible to live after losing your breath? Well it's fiction but again. . . 3 stars 19) Shadow - A Parable A story 3 pages long and it left me standing in the shadows. After 2 readings I was still feeling like an ignoramus. 2 stars 20) Silence - A Fable A fable about a demon and a man in an enchanted land. The demon tells his story, the man listens, and I am confused. Again. . . Can't say more about this story because I simply can't. I just need to point out that the epigraph of this story was in Ancient Greek. εὕδουσι δ΄ ὀρέων κορυφαί τε καὶ φάραγγες πρώονές τε καὶ χαράδραι Since the feeling of the story was quite eerie I will give it 2.9 stars. I'm a good man. 21) The Man of the Crowd A man follows an old man through a crowded London for almost two days and then he decides to stop following him because the old man is the man of the crowd. [...] worse than the Hortulus Anime; and perhaps it is one of the great mercies of God that er laßt sich nicht lesen. Τι λες σοβαρά; Σουαχίλι γιατί ξέχασες να γράψεις; Again no explanation, which left me disappointed even though following a man for such a long time is quite creepy. 3 stars 22) Some Words with a Mummy Finally, the last story, and an interesting one. 4 stars. A group of intellectuals try to revive a mummy and the mummy now revived begins a conversation with the men. It was a witty story, a satire on Epyptomania and a criticism on the supposed superiority of the west. The end was one of the best parts of the story. My wife is a shrew. The truth is, I am heartily sick of this life, and of the nineteenth century in general. I am convinced that everything is going wrong. Besides, I am anxious to know who will be president in 2045. As soon, therefore, as I shave and swallow a cup of coffee, I shall just step over to Ponnonner's and get embalmed for a couple of hundred years. To be honest I'm anxious too to know who will be president of the United States in 2045; if they survive the (likely) Armageddon called Donald Trump. Overall 70.2/22=3.19 which translates into 3 stars. A satisfying collection I had lying unread on my shelves since 2011 but not something I enjoyed 100% Certainly I will buy the 'sequel' to this collection Tales and Poems but I don't think I will bother buying all his writings since it's obvious I will be disappointed by most of them. Well done if you've reached this gargantuan, lengthy, sheety review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Poe is now a household name. An American institution. Everyone knows Poe, though few have really delved into more than one or two of his short stories. I'm also pretty sure he was completely insane. Which means he was brilliant, and everyone should read his work. As the title of the book says, there are many different stories in here, and admittedly, they are not all of the same caliber. It seems that Poe generally became a better writer as he wrote more and more stuff, and I think hi Poe is now a household name. An American institution. Everyone knows Poe, though few have really delved into more than one or two of his short stories. I'm also pretty sure he was completely insane. Which means he was brilliant, and everyone should read his work. As the title of the book says, there are many different stories in here, and admittedly, they are not all of the same caliber. It seems that Poe generally became a better writer as he wrote more and more stuff, and I think his later work is (in general!) superior to his earlier work. Some stories in this compendium are 3-star stories, and some are 5-star stories, with the remainder taking 4-stars. All of Poe's popular and well-known shorts are in here, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of The House of Usher all make their respective appearances. Some of my favorites ones however, were his lesser known works William Wilson, Morella, and A Descent Into the Malestrom were all fantastic surprises to me. There was even a delightful comedy stowed away in here in the form of Some Passages in the Life of A Lion (Lionizing). Imagine that; an actual comedy from Poe! Though Poe chose the short story as his main body of work, there is a common theme about Poe's work. Poe is, ultimately, a blender. A boundary weakener. A line eraser. The boundaries between life and death, good and evil, one world and another. The line between soundness and insanity. None of these are sacred to Edgar Allan Poe's tinkering, and you can't help but admire Poe for the artful way he manipulates the reader's preconceptions. His methods inspired hosts of other writers to explore the same themes (H.P. Lovecraft obviously, and some of Robert Louis Stevenson's work can all be traced to Poe's influence), yet Poe remains an independent, unique, and terrifyingly brilliant voice. In short: Read Poe! You might hate him and go insane (ah well, can't get them all), you might love him and still go crazy (face it, you were probably crazy to begin with), OR you could become entranced by Poe's stories and start a "Poe Boy's" fan club. Whichever way, you should never be forgiven for not reading as much Poe as you can.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I have to open with a confession, for those of you who do not know I am a self-confessed Poe obsessive so there is every possibility that this review is a tad biased. Having said that this collection of 10 tales and poems shows his genius at capturing the darker side of humanity, from the ability to torment and torture to the sometimes unbelievable determination to survive, even when pounding on death's door. This collection includes some of my absolute favourites from Poe including The Raven, w I have to open with a confession, for those of you who do not know I am a self-confessed Poe obsessive so there is every possibility that this review is a tad biased. Having said that this collection of 10 tales and poems shows his genius at capturing the darker side of humanity, from the ability to torment and torture to the sometimes unbelievable determination to survive, even when pounding on death's door. This collection includes some of my absolute favourites from Poe including The Raven, which for me is one of the darkest and most heartbreaking poems ever, and The Tell-Tale Heart, which is more than disturbing with it's glimpse into the mind of the guilty. Each tale/poem is illustrated by a different artist so the styles vary with each but they all manage to capture the essence of the associated story and I'm sure Edgar would be rather happy with them too. An excellent collection and a good introduction to one of the masters of the macabre should you need it. The full contents is: MS. Found in a Bottle The Raven Hop-Frog The Tell-Tale Heart The Black Cat The Conqueror Worm The Oval Portrait The Bells The Pit and the Pendulum The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade The Masque of the Red Death The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar A Descent into the Maelstrom

  10. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    Partly, but quite sufficiently different selection of Poe's stories compared to Selected Tales, which I also have and re-read from time to time. Absorbing, suspenseful, chilling and very very good!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ana Luisa

    Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a great compilation of short stories by Egdar Allan Poe, including some of his most appraised works, like "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Black Cat", and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"; and quite a few of lesser known - and also great - works, such as "The Colloquy of Monos and Una" and "Berenice". This collection was a good mixture of horror and mystery, and I highly recommend checking out Poe's works if you haven't already!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Nessie

    These were my favourite tales: "A descent into the Maelstrom" 4⭐ "The black cat" 5⭐ "The pit and the pendulum" 5⭐ "The premature burial" 4⭐ "The masque of the Red Death" 5⭐ "The oval portrait" 4⭐ "The murders in the Rue Morgue" 5⭐ "The purloined letter"4⭐ "A tale of the Ragged Mountains" 4⭐

  13. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I read this compendium of Poe's stories while still at high-school. Loved it then and love it now. Poe was a trailblazer in the mystery, suspense and horror genres and his writing has been hugely influential, changing the world of literature. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", considered the first modern detective story, is a short masterpiece. Grisly and gory by the standards of its day, this tale is well worth a read today, as are all the other wonderful tales in this collection of Poe's wo I read this compendium of Poe's stories while still at high-school. Loved it then and love it now. Poe was a trailblazer in the mystery, suspense and horror genres and his writing has been hugely influential, changing the world of literature. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", considered the first modern detective story, is a short masterpiece. Grisly and gory by the standards of its day, this tale is well worth a read today, as are all the other wonderful tales in this collection of Poe's works. In particular, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum".

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    First who reads Poe to their kiddies though I suppose it's no worse than some of the fairy stories the kids like. Speaking of fairy tales, though I know it's not his best, I couldn't help wishing 'The Island of the Fay' was included not because it's his best story but because I think it would make for an evocative illustration. Obviously not all of Poe's stories are included in this volume though probably two-thirds are. I think every story has a picture though not all have a color illustration. First who reads Poe to their kiddies though I suppose it's no worse than some of the fairy stories the kids like. Speaking of fairy tales, though I know it's not his best, I couldn't help wishing 'The Island of the Fay' was included not because it's his best story but because I think it would make for an evocative illustration. Obviously not all of Poe's stories are included in this volume though probably two-thirds are. I think every story has a picture though not all have a color illustration. Some of the black and and white pictures are as good as the color ones. Oddly the color illustrations aren't with the story they depict but scattered throughout the book. None have more than four or five colors and I believe I counted ten color illustrations in all. The black and white pictures are with thei proper text and two that stood out are of 'The Pit and the Pendulum' and 'The Muders in the Rue Morgue'. The Pit pic is notable for the horrified expression and the Rue Morgue because the shadowed figures trail lacelike tendrils from he ladies gowns and some of th gents clothes and hair and even the dogs fur which helps depict their made race to find the killer. The pictures are evocative of the 19th century though per the back of the title pages it states that Arthur Rackham's Poe work was first shown in 1935. A word about the volume itself; it has no dust jacket to lose in the nursery but it's sturdy and has a small set in color illustration on the cover. There's also a slate gray silk cord to mark your place in the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Imke

    Personally, his hort stories did not entice me that much. Poe Seems to save the weirdest things he could came up with for the shortest ones. I think he shines brighter in his works that contain 10+ pages. I especially enjoyed the detective stories: they are just dripping with gruesome details, which for me, makes it oh so much more enjoyable. This edition of his collected works is just beautiful. The gorgeous drawings and lay-out take the experience of reading this work to another level.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Megan Mertens

    Why do I always assume the voice of Robert Downy Jr. when I read Poe?

  17. 4 out of 5

    carlageek

    I came to understand, while reading this collection, that Poe is remembered for his ideas, rather than his writing. He is often credited as the origin of such innovations as the unreliable narrator and the modern detective story, and such inventiveness is amply on display in these stories. But it’s blended with object lessons for any beginning writer struggling with such technical matters as the importance of selecting the right point of view for a story, or the value of showing over telling. In I came to understand, while reading this collection, that Poe is remembered for his ideas, rather than his writing. He is often credited as the origin of such innovations as the unreliable narrator and the modern detective story, and such inventiveness is amply on display in these stories. But it’s blended with object lessons for any beginning writer struggling with such technical matters as the importance of selecting the right point of view for a story, or the value of showing over telling. In short, Poe’s ability to invent a story is magnificent. His ability to tell one, however, is middling. Too often he provides a first-person narrator at a remove from the story, so that the narrator is being told a summary of the actual story by another character who is more central to it. The detective stories featuring C. Auguste Dupin, for instance, are related by a first-person narrator to whom Dupin tells the actual story, in summary masquerading as dialogue. (Other 19th-century writers suffered from this same contorted POV problem; Mary W Shelley’s Frankenstein and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights leap to mind.) Or a narrative that begins inside the story will then take a leap away from it, as does “The Gold Bug,” which begins with a first-person narrator trying to make sense out of his friend's apparent madness, appears to climax with the friend’s vindication as they dig up a pirate’s massive treasure, and then disintegrates with a coda longer than the story itself in which the friend explains to the narrator how he came to discover the treasure map, how he deciphered the encoded message it contained, and so on. The trouble with this kind of narrative distance is that it sucks the energy out a story. There is no suspense at all in the decipherment of the treasure map, because the reader has already seen the treasure discovered. There’s likewise diminished suspense in “Descent into the Maelstrom,” for the man who experienced the harrowing ride on a ship sucked down into a huge ocean vortex is sitting on a rock, relating that experience to the story’s narrator. And it’s a terrible waste of some of Poe’s excellent ideas. All that technical complaining aside, there are some superb stories in this volume, and the ones that are best known are generally also the best executed. “The Cask of Amontillado” is everything for which one reads Poe, with its demented unreliable narrator, rationalizing a particularly cruel murder while never telling the reader exactly what wrong was done to him that justifies it in his mind. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a murderer’s conscience famously gets the better of him. And “William Wilson,” my overall favorite, shows a dissolute man with a splintered identity, at war with his own conscience, which he perceives as a separately incarnated man. I read that Patricia Highsmith was particularly influenced by Poe, and I believe it; one can see quite distinctly in these stories the embryos of men like Charlie Bruno, Guy Haines, and Tom Ripley.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    Averages out to 3.6 stars, rounding up to 4 because the good ones are SO GOOD they make up for the really, really, really dull ones. Buddy read reading list based off of this list of stories for ToMaI, plus some additional ones. See my status updates below for short reviews. Metzengerstein: 3.5 stars Berenice: 2.5 stars The Fall of the House of Usher: 4 stars William Wilson: 1.5 stars The Murders in the Rue Morgue: 3.5 stars A Descent into the Maelström: 3 stars The Oval Portrait: 3.5 stars The Masque of the Red Death: 5 stars The Pit and the Pendulum: 4/>The/>The/>The/>A/>The/>William/>The/>:/>: Averages out to 3.6 stars, rounding up to 4 because the good ones are SO GOOD they make up for the really, really, really dull ones. Buddy read reading list based off of this list of stories for ToMaI, plus some additional ones. See my status updates below for short reviews. Metzengerstein: 3.5 stars Berenice: 2.5 stars The Fall of the House of Usher: 4 stars William Wilson: 1.5 stars The Murders in the Rue Morgue: 3.5 stars A Descent into the Maelström: 3 stars The Oval Portrait: 3.5 stars The Masque of the Red Death: 5 stars The Pit and the Pendulum: 4 stars The Mystery of Marie Roget: 1 star The Tell-Tale Heart: 3 stars The Gold Bug: 4.5 stars The Purloined Letter: 3 stars The Black Cat: 4.5 stars The System of Dr. Tarr & Prof. Fether: 4 stars The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar: 4.5 stars The Cask of Amontillado: 5 stars Hop-Frog: 5 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Saf

    Contains the best of Poe; all 3 Dupin detective stories as well as the mystery/suspense stuff which he does so well. The introduction is worth a read too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

    tried to tidy up my book stash, i really can't read this. how can i preserve this antique? damn, it's older than god!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diana Iozzia (Bookworm Banter)

    "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" Written by Edgar Allan Poe Review written by Diana Iozzia The collection of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, known as "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" is a wonderful classic in the horror and mystery genres. I have been a reader of Edgar Allan Poe for years, for at least most of my childhood and adulthood. Due to this, I had read a few of the stories in the collection, but I was relatively impressed by the other ones I had no "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" Written by Edgar Allan Poe Review written by Diana Iozzia The collection of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, known as "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" is a wonderful classic in the horror and mystery genres. I have been a reader of Edgar Allan Poe for years, for at least most of my childhood and adulthood. Due to this, I had read a few of the stories in the collection, but I was relatively impressed by the other ones I had not yet heard of. "The Gold Bug" is a mystery including puzzles and codes. I personally enjoyed this, because it reminded by of "The Most Dangerous Game". We start to suspect that the narrator's friend has a threatening motivation behind the hunt for treasure on which they have embarked. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is a strange sort of "campfire" story or story that you'd tell at a sleepover. It is an archetypal ghost story. Our narrator is interested in mesmerism and hypnotism. He tells of his friend who was in a comatose state, but kept alive in a mesmerized state. "Message Found in a Bottle" has a narrator who writes in his diary as a whirlpool consumes his crew and ship. "A Descent into the Maelstrom" features a narrator who is told a story of a man delving into a maelstrom. I personally was not charmed by this one. "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Mystery of Marie Roget", and "The Purloined Letter" were the biggest disappointments for me in this collection. I was astounded by my dislike for Poe's mystery short stories. They were unrealistic and boring to me. "The Fall of the House of Usher" is one of my favorite films starring Vincent Price. I was surprised by the lack of detail and plot in the actual story it was based on. I still liked the plot: a man visits his old friend, whose own mental health and that of his sister's has been ruined by the house. "The Pit and the Pendulum" features a character plagued by imprisonment in a horrific pit. "The Premature Burial" features smaller vignettes about people who are at the brink of death, but are buried alive. "The Black Cat" was one of my favorite stories that I found through this collection. I had heard of it before, but had not read it. It features a man spiral through different levels of insanity, haunted by his murdered cat. "The Cask of the Amontillado" and "The Tell Tale Heart" are stories I know like the back of my hand and love. "The Oblong Box" features a man who encounters strange occurrences while on a cruise with his wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. "Ligeia" hosts a narrator who talks about the odd mysteries surrounding his wife's death. "Silence: A Fable" has a demon recall his journey through a dark abyss. "The Man of the Crowd" features a narrator follow and observe a mysterious man in London. "Some Words with a Mummy" is a more comedic story. A group of scientists meet a man who has been mummified that rises and speaks to them. All in all, I enjoyed reading this collection. I personally love short stories, especially the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I have to say, I thought the glossary and index in this book was not at all helpful for understanding the stories.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    We did it! Jess and I have been reading this one out loud together for over three years, nearly the whole time that we have been in Ohio. We weren't terribly consistent over the latter part of that time, but we made a big push in the past week to get through the last hundred pages or so. Overall a pretty good anthology that showcases most of Poe's well-known works as well as many that I had never heard of before. While I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, it is a classic and scratches a gothic We did it! Jess and I have been reading this one out loud together for over three years, nearly the whole time that we have been in Ohio. We weren't terribly consistent over the latter part of that time, but we made a big push in the past week to get through the last hundred pages or so. Overall a pretty good anthology that showcases most of Poe's well-known works as well as many that I had never heard of before. While I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, it is a classic and scratches a gothic itch. Average of 2.886 stars over all of the stories. Rating: PG-13, because of murder. THE GOLD BUG (4/5) I had expectations for this one to be more of a horror story than an adventure, but it was a fine tale nonetheless. I was surprised that Poe described all the steps (accurately) of simple substitution cipher decryption. Pretty great story. THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR (4/5) This story was kind of creepy, and was more of what I had expected from this book. Poe ventures a little into the unknown, and ends with a somewhat grotesque finale. (view spoiler)[The man somehow suspends his life and lives beyond death. When he ends his experiment, I think he ages and decays very rapidly, Indiana Jones style. (hide spoiler)] MS FOUND IN A BOTTLE (2/5) Meh, not really that exciting. Maybe because I'm not one who's terrible intrigued by the sea? Granted, it made me curious about the old men on the ship who spake in a different tongue and seemed to be on a voyage of discovery (snicker). A DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM (4/5) Ok, this was a good sea story. The narrator looks down on a massive whirlpool with a guide who survived it. The story is all about the whirlpool and how the guide made it through. Exciting. THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (4/5) This story reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. Dupin has a similar mind, and is able to figure things out from clues that most people would have overlooked. In this story, he figures out who committed a horrible murder and how it was done. (view spoiler)[The murder was committed by an orangutan who had swung his way in to the house. (hide spoiler)] THE MYSTERY OF MARIE ROGET (2/5) Another story of Dupin, and thus reminiscent of Holmes. However, this story seemed to drag on and on, and seemed heavy on details that we didn't care about and light on the actual resolution of the story. THE PURLOINED LETTER (3/5) Dupin returns again, and figures out where a scoundrel has hidden a blackmail letter that he stole. The police thoroughly search the scoundrel's apartment without a trace of the letter, but (view spoiler)[Dupin figures it must be hidden in plain sight; he goes to the apartment, finds the letter, leaves his snuffbox, returns home to make a fake letter, returns the next day for his snuffbox and switches the letters. (hide spoiler)] THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (2/5) This is one of the stories that I had heard of previously, but had no idea what it was about. As far as I could tell, it's about (view spoiler)[an estate that is somehow linked to its owners, the Usher family. The last remaining members of the family, a brother and sister, are in a depressive funk, and then the sister is presumed to die. She is placed in a coffin in the keep of the estate, but it turns out she's not really dead--she comes to her brother, bloody from working herself out of her coffin, and she falls on him, dead. The shock (?) kills the brother, the narrator leaves the house, which then cracks down the middle. (hide spoiler)] THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (3/5) Another story I was somewhat familiar with from before. Probably would have received an additional star if there wasn't so much dilly-dallying in the beginning. (view spoiler)[Our narrator is a victim of the Spanish Inquisition, and this story details his torture--almost falling in the pit, barely escaping from the sharp pendulum with the help of some rats, and then almost falling into the pit as the walls are heated and closing in. Luckily he is rescued at the last minute. (hide spoiler)] THE PREMATURE BURIAL (2/5) Kind of a boring story about several people who were thought to be dead, but weren't. The narrator then finds himself in a similar situation after his years of obsession and cataplexy, except that (view spoiler)[he's actually just waking up in the tight berth of a ship he was on (hide spoiler)] . THE BLACK CAT (4/5) Ah, this was excellent--short and sweet. No lengthy monologues by the narrator, just a good telling of a spooky story. (view spoiler)[A guy who loves animals as a kid becomes a drunk in later life. He starts mistreating his pets and wife, and when his cat bites him he gouges out one of its eyes. Eventually in his frustration he also hangs the cat, and that night his house burns down. He later finds another, similar cat that follows him home, but eventually frustrates him. He swings an axe at it, but his wife stops him. He then kills his wife with the axe and hides her in the wall. He walls the cat up with her, and the cat yowls when the police investigate the home. The corpse is discovered and the man goes to the gallows. (hide spoiler)] THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (3/5) Interesting imagery, and I liked the infectious "bad guy." The colored rooms seemed like an interesting place for a party. THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO (4/5) A creepy revenge story. (view spoiler)[I liked the way that the narrator "tried" to disuade Fortunato from continuing along, and that only strengthened Fortunato's resolve. And then he got walled into the crypt. (hide spoiler)] THE OVAL PAINTING (2/5) A very lifelike painting is discovered by the narrator. (view spoiler)[He reads about it and finds out that it was of the artist's wife, and that he was so focused on making the painting come to life that his wife died as he finished it. (hide spoiler)] THE OBLONG BOX (2/5) The twist in this story probably was awesome back when Poe wrote the story, but is pretty easy to guess now. (view spoiler)[A man brings his dead wife's body on a trans-Atlantic voyage. The wife's maid impersonates the wife for the trip without anyone being the wiser. The man's friends discovers what was in the oblong box (the body) after the man tied himself to it and threw himself into the sea after a terrible storm. (hide spoiler)] THE TELL-TALE HEART (4/5) Excellent story, and rightfully one of Poe's better known tales. Short and sweet. LIGEIA (2.5/5) Reeeaally slow to start, but had a great ending. (view spoiler)[Guy describes his first wife in painstakingly verbose prose. She dies. He remarries a lady who marries him for his money. They don't get along, she gets sick, and then some invisible thing poisons her and she dies. The corpse is reanimated and Ligeia has returned (by force of will?) (hide spoiler)] LOSS OF BREATH (4/5) This one caught me off guard because of how humorous it was--pretty funny story of a guy who loses his breath when yelling at his wife. Then, (view spoiler)[he gets sat on in a carriage, is thought to be dead, is taken to a surgeon who cuts off his ears and removes some of his bowel, has his nose eaten off by cats, jumps out the window of a turret into a wagon of a criminal who looks just like him, is hung, and is buried. In the sepulcher he soliloquizes about the other dead around him. One of them happens to be the neighbor his wife fancied, who coincidentally has too much breath. He transfers one to the protagonist, and all ends well. (hide spoiler)] SHADOW - A PARABLE (1/5) Um, I guess I didn't get it. Short. Maybe the point being that death comes for everyone? Dunno. SILENCE - A FABLE (1/5) Same as above. Didn't really get it--a demon tells a man about another man he met who was only mildly cowed by a large storm the demon called up. THE MAN OF THE CROWD (2/5) ? I think that the man was a personification of the crowd? But I'm not really sure. He hurried to places with people and didn't seem himself on his own. SOME WORDS WITH A MUMMY (4/5) A very strong ending for this anthology. Some gentlemen resuscitate a mummy and have a talk with him. Turns out he's a one-upper and that everything was better in ancient Egypt than in modern times. Quite amusing, like Loss of Breath.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Harry Doble

    An anthology of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories. Obsessed with the macabre, he typically wrote horror but also in a variety of genres such as dark fantasy, adventure, and detective fiction. Three things are characteristic to all of his stories for me. The first is a lofty writing style that is as concise as it is erudite. Poe was an educated man and his stories frequently reference themes in esoteric philosophy. It is in this sense I can see his influence on another one of my favourite writers, An anthology of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories. Obsessed with the macabre, he typically wrote horror but also in a variety of genres such as dark fantasy, adventure, and detective fiction. Three things are characteristic to all of his stories for me. The first is a lofty writing style that is as concise as it is erudite. Poe was an educated man and his stories frequently reference themes in esoteric philosophy. It is in this sense I can see his influence on another one of my favourite writers, Jorge Luis Borges. The second is a strong ability to describe his characters' psychology. Poe often writes in first person and describes the intricacies of consciousness and emotion in striking detail. The third is logic and the reasoning process in general. Characters frequently engage in a dialogue with themselves and others as they try to make sense of things they don't know or understand, whether they are piecing together the clues of a murder mystery (the Dupin stories), searching for a buried treasure location (The Gold Bug), or trying to understand the horrible predicament they are in (The Pit and the Pendulum). There is a lot of time spent rationalizing actions as Poe tries to show empathy towards the minds of those who would commit horrible sins. He does it so well that I can see quite clearly why he was such a towering influence over later developments in horror. These are nearly all very good stories, but some of Poe's shortcomings are that he framed some stories around pseudosciences like phrenology (The Imp of the Perverse) and mesmerism (The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar) which comes across as very dated. Many of his stories that run over similar themes become very samey as well, especially his stories about sick, dying women (Ligeia, Eleonora, Berenice, and Morella). Arthur Rackham's illustrations in this edition also don't do a lot for me. Otherwise, this is an excellent collection.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

    It's almost impossible to review this book, because - now - it's impossible to get the feeling of how it would have been when it first came out one and three-quarter centuries ago. By modern standards, it seems tame, long on atmosphere and short on plot, and above all horrendously pedantic. Many of the stories are twice the length they perhaps should be, by today's standards, filled with asides and unnecessary details. In "The Gold-bug", for example, Poe spends pages explaining how to unravel a It's almost impossible to review this book, because - now - it's impossible to get the feeling of how it would have been when it first came out one and three-quarter centuries ago. By modern standards, it seems tame, long on atmosphere and short on plot, and above all horrendously pedantic. Many of the stories are twice the length they perhaps should be, by today's standards, filled with asides and unnecessary details. In "The Gold-bug", for example, Poe spends pages explaining how to unravel a cypher, and the introduction to "The Murders in the Rue Morgue' spend several largely unnecessary pages in the nature of intuition and analytical thought. Despite this, the work is thoroughly enjoyable, if read with the above caveats taken into consideration, and many of the stories it contains are justifiably regarded as classics. But this is not the point. Poe was, above all, an innovator. He was the primary force in the creation of the detective story. Without Dupin, there would be no Sherlock Holmes, no Columbo, no Jonathan Creek, nor any of the myriad of analytical detectives before, between, or since. He also virtually invented the short story, developing it along the basic rule that the weight of every word is vital to the whole (ironic given the amount of unnecessary exposition already mentioned). Poe was also, through this careful weighting of text, the creator of fantastic atmosphere. Poe also gives - arguably - one of the finest literary descriptions of paranoid schizophrenia as seen from the sufferer's viewpoint in "The Tell-tale Heart". Stories such as "The Fall of the House of Usher" rely almost solely on Poe's power of description to weave their spell - in stories which, when written, would have been horrific in their lurid details. That they seem more tame today is not the fault of the writer.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    This book spent three years in my "currently reading" pile, but now I've finished it. Ha! The short stories in this collection fall in three main categories. 1) The horrific and/or freaky, 2) the puzzles and detective stories, and 3) the stories about losing loved ones, particular of the romantic kind. That last one would make anyone wonder whether Poe had lost someone -- he did, his wife of 11 years. (She was 13 when he married her, but let's not go there). The stories, to This book spent three years in my "currently reading" pile, but now I've finished it. Ha! The short stories in this collection fall in three main categories. 1) The horrific and/or freaky, 2) the puzzles and detective stories, and 3) the stories about losing loved ones, particular of the romantic kind. That last one would make anyone wonder whether Poe had lost someone -- he did, his wife of 11 years. (She was 13 when he married her, but let's not go there). The stories, to me, border on the obsessive. The themes and emotions are practically the same, with only the names and settings being changed. It got to a point where I stopped feeling a little sorry for Poe and started getting a bit creeped out. The detective stories are not really that good. People may argue that Poe wrote the first detective story (The Murders in the Rue Morgue), but Conan Doyle still did better with even the least interesting Sherlock Holmes cases. The Gold Bug, which is more a puzzle-type story, is the only story I really liked in this category. Most of my favorites are in the first category: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, and a few others I can't recall right at the moment. And then there were two other stories that don't fall in any of the above categories: The Domain of Arnheim and Landor's Cottage. They were frankly very dull and I'd decided to give up trying to finish the second one. Oh, and Poe writes really well. It's the kind of writing that should be read aloud because of all those beautiful words and turns of phrase. All of the famous writers in his era write beautifully -- they aren't famous for nothing -- but that still deserves to be said.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Lugubrious. I always wanted to use that word, and here, finally, I have a fitting place for it. There is no doubt that literature owes a great debt to Poe. An innovator of and/or inventor of many elements of American gothic suspense; precursor to the detective fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle and simply a good weaver of tales. However, taken collectively in a giant volume, it was too much downward spiral for me. His themes of sadness, revenge, madness, and sardonic bitterness wear one down. Also, h Lugubrious. I always wanted to use that word, and here, finally, I have a fitting place for it. There is no doubt that literature owes a great debt to Poe. An innovator of and/or inventor of many elements of American gothic suspense; precursor to the detective fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle and simply a good weaver of tales. However, taken collectively in a giant volume, it was too much downward spiral for me. His themes of sadness, revenge, madness, and sardonic bitterness wear one down. Also, his style is strange. Almost to a story it is worth skipping the first 20%. His build ups are slow and wordy and labor on and on. Then, like a switch, the plots turn on and read well, gripping until the very end. The Premature Burial, Ligeia, Pit and the Pendulum, The Oval Portrait, Imp of the Perverse, Tell Tale Heart. All were fast paced and good reads. The true disappointments for me were the detective novellas: Murder in the Rue Morgue, Marie Roget and the Purloined Letter. His detective, Dupin, is arrogant and smug and prattles on endlessly regarding the mathematics of his reasoning ability. Yet most of it seems to be flash and show by emphasizing the stupidity of others to mislead us in a false direction before surprising us with his genius. Marie Roget was so bad that I simply skipped a small section of it and read the end to find out the solution. I learned a lot about writing style from the collection, enjoying it in small doses, but recommend reading his stories individually over time rather than collectively.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Another volume for my recently started Poe collection, this volume has 6 of Poe's better known stories complete with a small number of illustrations to bring hos work to life (as if it needs the help, still they are really good illustrations, the one for Usher is excellent). As ever I am a self confessed Poe addict so this review is biased to the hilt (you have been warned) but no-one can deny he had a knack and talent for bringing his stories to life and capturing the very essence of each of hi Another volume for my recently started Poe collection, this volume has 6 of Poe's better known stories complete with a small number of illustrations to bring hos work to life (as if it needs the help, still they are really good illustrations, the one for Usher is excellent). As ever I am a self confessed Poe addict so this review is biased to the hilt (you have been warned) but no-one can deny he had a knack and talent for bringing his stories to life and capturing the very essence of each of his characters and the core of the story. This volume includes The Gold-Bug, a great treasure hunt story that puts you in the mind of Treasure Isand, The Oblong Box, which is a tale of love, loss and superstition, The Mystery of Marie Roget, which takes a real life crime and proposes a solution. The volume also includes The Fall of the House of Usher, one of the first Poe stories I read and one that chills me even today, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the prequal to Marie Roget and a great murder mystery in its own right and is finished of by The Pit and the Pendulum, which provides a terrifying look into the practices of the Inquisition. If you never read any Poe before (what is wrong with you!?) this showcases his most popular stories and makes a great start. If you have read Poe before, then you'll love it (unless you're not a fan, in which case...what is wrong with you!?!).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A very nice edition, I bought this as a reading copy from Barnes and Noble this Christmas after I had stumbled across a gorgeous original 1920s edition with all of Harry Clarke's original artwork in it. I did not want to add wear to that large volume by actually reading it from cover to cover, so I was happily surprised to find this copy. Not all of Clarke's brooding, creepy, beautiful Art Nouveau artwork is included in this edition, but it does include most of it. I am not sure why some was not A very nice edition, I bought this as a reading copy from Barnes and Noble this Christmas after I had stumbled across a gorgeous original 1920s edition with all of Harry Clarke's original artwork in it. I did not want to add wear to that large volume by actually reading it from cover to cover, so I was happily surprised to find this copy. Not all of Clarke's brooding, creepy, beautiful Art Nouveau artwork is included in this edition, but it does include most of it. I am not sure why some was not included--some of the work is quite risquee--but not more so than several pieces included in this volume. I would recommend going on Amazon or Ebay and finding one of the original copies (they ARE there), but this version is great to actually read, especially if you do not already have a Complete Poems and Tales of E.A.P. in your library.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rhys

    A huge collection of tales which reflect Poe's remarkable versatility and range as an author. His brilliance is not in doubt, and a number of the grotesque horror tales he is most identified with are simply radiant and well told. Once your brain manages to embrace his florid (perhaps once could also say dated) style it is easy to lose yourself as if hypnotised in the worlds he builds. Poe can cleverly manage tension and deliver extremely satisfying endings. This is a substantial collection howev A huge collection of tales which reflect Poe's remarkable versatility and range as an author. His brilliance is not in doubt, and a number of the grotesque horror tales he is most identified with are simply radiant and well told. Once your brain manages to embrace his florid (perhaps once could also say dated) style it is easy to lose yourself as if hypnotised in the worlds he builds. Poe can cleverly manage tension and deliver extremely satisfying endings. This is a substantial collection however, and as a result I found it quite hit and miss. A number of stories included were complete misfires to me, and as soon as my brain didn't click with a story I sank under the tedious verbosity of his style, struggling sentence by sentence to the next story. Some collections can be too complete I think, and to my mind this one could be trimmed by about a quarter.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam Grove

    Very good Mr Poe, very good. Wasn't expecting too much from this as I was really only reading it as I'd never read them before. People rave about him all the time so I thought I should give him a bash. Turns out they're right! The language can sometimes be a barrier and found myself re-reading parts to understand what had been said (especially with Dupin in Murder at Rue Morgue) but the horror and dreadful excitement in all of his stories transcends the difficult language and actually grips Very good Mr Poe, very good. Wasn't expecting too much from this as I was really only reading it as I'd never read them before. People rave about him all the time so I thought I should give him a bash. Turns out they're right! The language can sometimes be a barrier and found myself re-reading parts to understand what had been said (especially with Dupin in Murder at Rue Morgue) but the horror and dreadful excitement in all of his stories transcends the difficult language and actually grips you. By far my favourite was Pit and the Pendulum due to the sheer terror described by being placed in that dungeon really felt like I was there experiencing it. Overall very impressed with the master of horror.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.