October Reading: Edgar Allan Poe

One of my all time favorite writers is Edgar Allan Poe. His stories and poems are beautiful and many of them just as tragic as his life was. I found his completed works for a steal of a price at Books a Million. I’m no where near close to finishing this hulking book but I do have my favorites.

One of my favorite short stories is the “Tell-Tale Heart”. I will give you a very simplified summary of the story. A mad man is the caretaker (or family member or live in guest, the story doesn’t say) for an elderly man. The elderly man has a fake eye that offends his caretaker so in his sleep the caretaker suffocates the elderly man with his mattress, dismembers his body and puts it beneath the floorboards. The police soon show up at the door because a neighbor heard a scream. As they’re speaking to the man he hears the elderly man’s heart beating from under the floorboards, either due to his guilt or mental illness. He then admits what he’s done to the police. This story is short but chilling.

My next favorite work by Poe is the poem called “Annabel Lee”. Most believe that his deceased wife Virginia, who was also his cousin that he married when she was just thirteen, was the inspiration for the poem. This poem is filled with an almost palpable grief. My favorite line is “But we loved with a love that was more than love-“. I’m going to copy the poem below so you can enjoy it.

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.
 —
I have many more favorite works from Poe such as: “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Raven” and “The Cask of Amontillado”. These are some of his most famous works and I plan to start reading all of the ones I’ve never heard of. If you’ve never read anything by Poe or want to read more check Books a Million and thrift stores. A lot of his work can also be found for free online. He didn’t just write horror but that’s what he’s most well known for and why I love to read his work in October. Let me know what your favorite story or poem by Edgar Allan Poe is! If you’ve never read his work let me know if it sounds like something you would enjoy! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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