The Portable Edgar Allan Poe
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The Portable Edgar Allan Poe

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  594 ratings  ·  53 reviews
The essential collection of the American literary master of terror, death, murder, fantasy, and revenge

The first new edition of this landmark anthology since 1945, The Portable Edgar Allan Poe presents a more complicated, perverse, and culturally engaged Poe. Once perceived as a writer profoundly detached from time and place, the most otherworldly of early American authors...more
Paperback, Revised Edition, 628 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1945)
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Nikki
Read selections from this for my coursera SF/F class. And... it's made me like Poe even less, somehow. I just found his prose completely stultifying -- possibly partly because I've read most of these stories before (if not all), partly because of the period it was written, and part of it must be something to do with Poe's style specifically, because I don't find all work of that era equally boring.

Whatever, I'm glad to have read Poe so I have that background knowledge, but emphasis on have read,...more
Bruce
This is a fine collection not only of samples of Poe’s work in many genres but also of critical essays about him. While is it impossible to comment on everything contained in this volume, a few things are worth noting.

Some of his poems - one thinks of “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” and “The Bells” - are so familiar and have been so parodied that one forgets how other-worldly and mesmerizing they are, how full of pathos, how autobiographical, in fact, how wonderful they are when read slowly and thou...more
Alex
Edgar Allan Poe was a depressive indolent drunk failure who married his 13-year-old cousin and spent his life composing purposefully obnoxious, repellant stories because "To be appreciated, you must be read," and he felt that the controversy would get him read. Which was astute of him.

His Dupin stories are interesting if you're a Holmes fan, since Conan Doyle's debt to them is obvious, but they're nowhere near as good as the Holmes stories. Fucking orangutans, man. His horror is hit or miss. Pi...more
Henry
One eventide while vainly trying to get the fruits of my loins to prepare themselves for bed, I gave myself some time out (as I earnestly wished to retire), and while they were trying to kill each other, I plucked this grimoire from the knurled walnut escritoire in front of which it has been my habit of late to disport myself. I read The Masque of the Red Death, imagining the magic-lantern production by Mr Roger C------ in which starred Mr Vincent P----, I believe. I finished, looked up: the sai...more
Raj
This is a collection of work by Edgar Allan Poe, including letters, stories, poems, criticism and opinions. I must confess that I found it hard going. Poe isn't an easy writer to read. Some of his poems are pretty difficult, and even some of his prose fiction was a slog, without even the denseness of poetry that I find personally difficult. There is a recurring theme of death and loss which grows wearing after a while and when you do encounter something with no mention of it, it's a breath of fr...more
Linda Pek
Don’t Believe Everything You Are Told
Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat and The Tell Tale Heart are both told from the point of view of narrators who are, because of their insanity, unreliable . Poe uses this literary device to both increase our horror of the murders committed but also make us doubt the reality of the stories.
The really sinister thing about using madmen to relate a story is that both of them fail to realize the truth about themselves. They claim from the beginning not to be crazy “...more
Greg
When you meet somebody for the first time and spend a while getting to know them, the first words don't often encompass a comprehensive personal history followed promptly with an intrusive background check (well, not for me anyway). I wish I had read this book back to front, starting with the man's opinions and poetry, his tales of mystery, murder and death, and leaving the invasion of his personal world of fantasy for the end. The letters could have been left out entirely, but if you must read...more
Sophie Lagace
“The Raven” is the first poem I fell in love with in English (I'm not a native speaker). I was the right age, a brooding teenager, when I found a volume of poems for some long-forgotten class on the early 20th century. The old textbook had a faded dark blue cloth cover and was tucked with other books in a box found by my uncle in an old house he had bought. He was going to throw the books away, but I thumbed through a few and decided to salvage them.

I remember standing there in front of his gara...more
Valerie
Oct 03, 2009 Valerie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Valerie by: Employee Book Club
I read The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Purloined Letter for my book club. I also opted to read The Tell-Tale Heart and The Cask of Amontillado and some of the poems I remembered from high school - The Raven, To Helen, Annabel Lee, and The Bells. I would give this 3 1/2 stars. The stories were good, although it took some getting used to the language. I enjoyed The Purloined Letter best - the others, while good, were pretty morbid. I actually enjoyed the poems bet...more
Andrew
An analysis on the house of Usher:

In Poe’s short story, special emphasis is drawn to the house that the Ushers live in. In this story, there are two ways of looking at the house; the first way would be to acknowledge the house as a sentient being that shares the life-force of the inhabitants of the house. Throughout the short-story, the house mirrors the condition of its inhabitants – Roderick and Madeline Usher. The house is dilapidated and on the verge of collapse, much like the inhabitants of...more
Anna Serra i Vidal
This, again, is a reread for the Cousera Fantasy and Science Fiction MOOC.
I enjoyed this reading, even though somewhat rushed, a bit deeper than other times I read it, specially The Raven which I have not only read but listened and watched Vincent Price deliver.
Poe is a master of bringing settings to life with a few chosen words, specially horror and Gothic scenery which makes me wonder why I feel so connected to it.
Amelia
Poe's literature, especially his short stories, are much more complex than I remember them being when I read them in high school. I'm glad that I read these again, especially when I understood Poe's point of view in the context of a backlash towards the Enlightenment and the thought that 'rationality' and 'logic' are not everything. A great American gothic author and this volume has most of his best works.
Diego Castañeda
Una extraordinaria colección de gran parte de la obra de Poe, sus cuentos, historias cortas, poemas, dedicatorias y demás, una obra importante para la literatura romántica y gótica, muy recomendable en particular las historias The Facts in the case of M Valdemar, The Fall or the House of Usher, The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Oval Portrait, The Raven, The Bell, Anabel Lee, Leonor among others.
Martin
great stuff - of course, the fiction overlapped with the "tales" i read earlier this year, but the letters, poems, criticism, etc., are all worth experiencing. you can't help but walk away from a volume like this marveling at poe's incredible imagination, and wondering at his incredible bad luck. and then worrying if those two things go hand in hand.
Alastair Arthur
I enjoyed some of the stories a lot more than others, but it's not difficult to appreciate the beauty in Poe's writing style. His use of language is clever and considered, and often brilliant. I was surprised that the gothic and morbid elements are quite so prominent throughout. 'The Tell-Tale Heart' is now firmly in my top ten favourite short stories.
Rashmi
This was suggested reading for 'Fantasy and Science Fiction' course at Coursera.

Stories-
1) "The Fall of the House of Usher,"
2) "The Tell-Tale Heart,"
3) "The Black Cat,"
4) "The Oval Portrait,"
5) "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,"

Poems-
1) "The Bells,"
2) "The Raven,"
3) "Annabel Lee."
Meagan
Poe's stories aren't quite as terrifying as they were when I was a child, but they are still grisly and otherworldly enough to give me the chills. He is the master of terror and suspense for good reason! And his poems are hauntingly beautiful enough to be unforgettable.
Angela
(Semi-audio.) People are depressed. Gross things happen. Gothic homes. Drunk guy murders cat, just BECUZ. The end.

Warning to all the good people of the internet: do not listen to the cat story while eating dinner, it will really ruin your appetite.
Jacqui R
Read for Coursera, Fantasy and Science Fiction. I found that reading the stories out loud helped me to follow the long, long, long sentences that Poe is so fond of. I loved the poems!
Beth
Feb 08, 2012 Beth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/10373249
David Allen
It's tough to find a uniformly excellent Poe anthology: Either they're missing a few great stories, or there are too many weak ones, or they don't include any of his poetry. This one offers a wide-ranging overview of Poe, except maybe we don't want an overview if that means we have to wade through his dull essays and articles. Useful in its way, with a good selection of stories and poems both, but more Poe than you probably want.
Rob Carr
Poe is a fantastic author. My favourite of those in here is of course his poem the Raven but his short stories like the Murders in the Rue Morgue, the Pit and the Pendulum and the Black Cat are also excellent. He has a tendency to turn into some macabre twist during his stories that makes them interesting reads. This collection makes a good choice of works but the letters section can drag on a bit and I recommend not reading the introductions to the stories because they have spoilers in them.
Adam
Like the handyman in my apartment building once said about our water, "Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's not." That's a good way to describe Poe ranging from the awesome to the unreadable.
Noticed: Every time a beautiful woman is introduced, you wonder, "How many pages till she's wasted away/dead?" The answer is usually two.
Liked: Good descriptions ("I was never made aware of her entrance into my closed study save by the dear music of her low sweet voice, as she placed her marble hand upon my sh...more
Nathan
I read these as a teenager and returning to them now I still get chills at certain passages. Poe's descriptions of scenes and settings is inspiring.
Harley
Often come back to this one. Eleonora is a great piece.
Richard Epstein
I like a portable Poe. It's easier to throw. You can make Poe a lot of things -- an icon, a symbol, a pioneer, an influence, a case study, and a cautionary tale -- almost anything but a great writer. Have people really read the stuff they praise?
Horacio
No lei todo el libro sino una selección de cuentos y poemas. Todos los había leído alguna vez en mi vida, pero no sé si por madurez o un mejor entendimiento del idioma, disfruté cada cuento de una manera mucho más exquisita de lo que recordaba. El único que no me gustó mucho fue "The Oval Portrait"
Sheri
I absolutely love Poe. He is odd and has a fixation on death, but if you read the letters in this book you realize he had a rough life. Despite being adopted by a wealthy family, his adoptive father was not exactly kind towards him. His stories are classic and provoke great visualizations.
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4624490
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundr...more
More about Edgar Allan Poe...
The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings The Complete Stories and Poems The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales Essential Tales and Poems The Cask of Amontillado

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“In the early summer of 1846 he moved his family to a cottage in Fordham, which was then far out in the country. He was ill and Virginia was dying, so that he was in no condition to do much work. As a result, their meagre income vanished; when winter game they even lacked money to buy fuel. A friend who visited the cottage wrote a description of Virginia's plight:

There was no clothing on the bed... but a snow white spread and sheets. The weather was cold, and the sick lady had the dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of consumption. She lay on the straw bed, wrapped in her husband's great-coat, with a large tortoise-shell cat on her bosom. The wonderful cat seemed conscious of her great usefulness. The coat and the cat were the sufferer's only means of warmth...


A public appeal for funds was made in the newspapers -- an act which Poe, of course, resented. But Virginia was beyond all human aid. She died on January 30, 1847, and her death marked the end of the sanest period in her husband's life. He plunged into the writing of a book-length mystical and pseudo-scientific work entitled Eureka, in which he set forth his theories of the universe. He intended it as a prose poem, and as such is should be judged, rather than as a scientific explanation of matters beyond it's author's ken.”
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