Saturday, February 27, 2010

Poe Fridays: The End

I am finally getting around to posting my final post for Poe Fridays!  Kristen at We Be Reading ended the weekly event back in January.  I have actually had much of this written since that time, but unfortunately, it was all old school . . . written in pen and on paper!  I finally have had a few minutes to get it typed up and here it is.  I didn't end up reading all of the selections for the event, but I did read many of them!  And, here they are . . .


The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

In The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, the narrator basically hypnotizes a man on his death bed.  Why?  I'm not exactly sure, but I have to wonder if the man willingly became mesmerized as a way to rid the pain during the last hours of his life.  Whatever the reason may be, the spirit of the man ultimately preserved the deserted body and when the narrator released it seven months later, the preservation immediately disappeared.  In other words . . . EEEEWWWWW!!!  Seriously gross!!  It think it is stories like these that have given Poe the reputation he has today . . . macabre!
Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Sleeper

Poe is once again visiting one of his favorite subjects in The Sleeper . . . death.  This one has some positives . . .
"The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin moulders into rest;"
Then, you have a line like this . . .
"Soft may the worms about her creep!"
Wowsers!!!  It started out so beautiful!!  I guess you have to hand it to Poe for the images he creates in his work!!

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Premature Burial

The Premature Burial, written more as an essay than a work of fiction, makes me wonder how much Poe took from his own experiences when writing.  Though there is no evidence, there has been speculation of the Virginia incident truly happening to Poe.  From all that I have read of Poe, I have to wonder if his neuroses would indeed put him in states of catatonia.  With his imagination and his tendencies toward the macabre, I would not be surprised by such psychosomatic effects!

Anyways, on a completely different note, my favorite quote of the story came from the very first paragraph, referencing themes of "which are entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction."
"But, in these accounts, it is the fact - it is the reality - it is the history which excites.  As inventions, we should regard them with simple abhorrence."
Interesting that it comes from Poe, don't you think?

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.


I'm going to keep my thoughts short and sweet on this one . . . I did not like it and it is probably one of the few of Poe's works I do not care for.  I simply felt some of the rhyming was forced (who would name a child Ulalume?) and the way the repetition was written annoyed me.  I won't hold it against the man though!  Poe does have many a brilliant piece of make up for it!

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Pit and the Pendelum

The Pit and the Pendelum is another classic Poe . . . one filled with darkness (literally!) and bone-chilling suspense.  The narrator recounts his experiences in a torture chamber, with the "pit" and the "pendelum" being two such tortures.  Poe has an amazing talent for horrific descriptions, and the pendelum scene was so vivid that I was grasping the book sitting on the edge of my seat.  The funny thing is . . . it was not the first time I've read the story!  I knew from the beginning what would happen at the end!!

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Raven

The Raven is probably one of the most well-known works of Poe, particularly in regards to his poetry.  It is one piece that I believe begs to be read aloud!  The illiteration and rhyme is simply amazing and makes you truly not want to see or hear "Nevermore" ever again!  Here are just a couple of my favorite quotes from the poem . . .
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,"
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;"
If you are interested in hearing this one read aloud, go check out Kristen's post.  She has a video of one of the classic horror actors, Vincent Price serving Poe's The Raven justice.  Who knew that I was not the only one that loved this guy?!?  (I'm talking both Poe and Price here!)

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Bells

The Bells is a poem that takes advantage of the sounds of words to create an illusion of true ringing bells (or in regards to the more formal term, onomatopoeia).  In Part I, the bells are twinkling and leave me with a sense of "delight."  By Part IV, the bells have turned into a sense of madness, "moaning" and "groaning."

I am not sure if I completely visualize the progression of this poem, from sweetness to madness.  I caught something along the way about fire (I actually heard fire engine bells here) and the "iron bells" brought images of shackles to my mind. 

I tend to be a visual person, so though I felt a change, this poem just did not do it for me because of my lack of ability to understand the abrupt progression visually.  Maybe someone can help me with this one?

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.

The Purloined Letter

The Purloined Letter is another detective tale featuring one of my personal favorite Poe characters - Dupin.  The model and inspiration for Sherlock Holmes is at it again in the case of the missing letter.  He shows his cunning and his brilliance insolving yet another case . . . though I must admit that it was not quite as suspenseful or entertaining for me as his previous adventures, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.


According to my personal copy of Poe's works, the editor Philip Van Doren Stern writes that Poe "repeatedly called Ligeia his best story."  It definitely incorporates love, mystery, suspense, and a bit of horror.  As for if I agree with this statement, I really don't feel it was THE best.  I did enjoy the combination of elements, the emotional longing for lost love, and its unique twist, BUT the best?  I don't know about that!

Click here for Kristen's thoughts.


Well, that is all I've got!!  I had a great time, despite the fact that I was behind most of the year!  I loved re-visiting Poe and discovering some pieces that were new to me.  I owe Kristen a huge thank you for such a great feature!! 

Thank you Kristen!! 

For the full list of selections for Poe Fridays, click here for Kristen's wrap-up post.


  1. Yay! I'm so glad that you read along with these even if you used some obsolete technology to record your thoughts. ;) Maybe we'll get back together for Poe's 225th birthday anniversary to do this again!

  2. heidenkind . . . LOL!!!

    Kristen M. . . . I know, I know!! I'm so old school sometimes!! Maybe I will eventually catch up by the 225th!! :)


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