The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket & Related Tales
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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket & Related Tales

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,008 ratings  ·  162 reviews
And now I found these fancies creating their own realities, and all imagined horrors crowding upon me in fact. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is an archetypal American story of escape from home and family which traces a young man's rite of passage through a series of terrible brushes with death during a fateful sea voyage. But it also goes much deeper, as Pym encounter...more
Paperback, World's Classics, 336 pages
Published November 19th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1837)
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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftKing Solomon's Mines by H. Rider HaggardThe Lost World by Arthur Conan DoyleJourney to the Center of the Earth by Jules VerneLost Horizon by James Hilton
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8th out of 28 books — 34 voters
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Nautical Tales
40th out of 331 books — 188 voters


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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Nov 03, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Classics)
The only novel written by Edgar Allan Poe and for me, this is one of the most satisfying. What can you say to a book that inspired Herman Melville to write his masterpiece Moby-Dick? I am still to read it but based on the positive feedbacks that are coming from my friends here in Goodreads who are reading that book this month, I will definitely be reading that in the next few months. It so happened that The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings is my first Halloween read this month and this novel i...more
Andrew Finazzo
Poe himself summed up my thoughts about this novel when he said it is "a very silly book".

The prologue sets up the work as being written by two authors, Poe ghostwriting the first two parts and Pym himself finishing the rest. The work is split into a preface and 25 chapters.

* First 14 chapters:

This is a rousing narration following Pym as he stows away on a vessel which is taken by mutineers and eventually (with Pym's help) retaken. Poe gives a resounding description of terrible circumstances w...more
Dfordoom
Part sea story, part adventure story, part horror story. A young man who runs away to sea and gets more than he bargained for. Mutiny, shipwreck, cannibalism, and that’s just for starters. It’s really in some ways a tall tale – the indirect way Poe tells the story, in the form of a story told to him by Pym, draws attention to the fact that it is a story and that the reader has no way of knowing how true it is. As the tale progresses it gets weirder, as Pym finds himself exploring the Antarctic,...more
Christy
This book is fun but flawed. It's far from a consistent work and feels somewhat fragmentary and exploratory at times, but any novel that includes mutiny, shipwreck, cannibalism, strange and threatening natives (especially ones with black teeth), fascinating creatures (from identifiable animals like sharks, polar bears, and penguins to unidentifiable ones like the white creature with red teeth that they come across late in the book), and a healthy dose of adventure, horror, and mystery is worth r...more
Tony
Poe, Edgar Allan. THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM. (1838). ****.
There’s no need to write a blurb on this tale from Poe. All I have to do is give the full title of the book as provided by the author: “THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET, Comprising the details of a mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827, with an account of the recapture of the vessel by the survivers; their shipwreck and subsequent...more
Adam
A grand macabre 19th century adventure that inspired Melville and a league of sequels/tributes including:
H.P. Lovecraft-At the Mountains of Madness (which Charles Stross gave a sequel with “A Colder War”
Jules Verne- Sphinx on the Ice Field: an Antarctic Mystery (which I’m sad to report is pretty boring)
Howard Waldrop and Steve Utley-“Black as Pitch from Pole to Pole”
Rudy Rucker-Hollow Earth

Tessa
Low 3. If I didn't know this was written by Poe, I would never have guessed it. We don't get the creepiness vibe like we do in his short stories. We don't get the overflowing emotion like we do in his poetry. This felt like a generic 19th century novel, and along with that came the long digressions on subjects not terribly relevant to the plot. Really Poe, do you have to spend a chapter each discussing cargo stowage and albatross-penguin cohabitation? You are the master of terror and suspense, b...more
Peter
Crazy. What I like best is that Pym is rescued by a friend who hears him smash a glass bottle, but doesn't know that this is what saved him until the friend tells him about it years later. Except that friend dies within a few weeks! Similarly, Pym dies before finishing his story, before revealing to us what horrible fate awaits him at the bottom of the world. It's as if (similar to a short story by Jorge Luis Borges) "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" is the product of two or even three altern...more
Todd
This novella, the only book-length for Poe, is a satire on sensational literature of the mid-C19th. It is also a mix of a statements on what it means to try to survive outside of gender-normative heterosexual male whiteness of the time.

It has a few (in)famous scenes of horror. As the book progresses, the horror/harrow becomes so common that the senses dull somewhat (this being the point).

I like the contrast between (A) Pym remembering the story in the preface when he says the only other witness...more
Diana DeCameron
As much as it pains me to admit this, I absolutely LOATHED Poe's novella: The Narrative of Author Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Just stringing the words "Poe" and "Loathed" together in the same sentence feels completely wrong to me. After all, I've always considered myself to be a lover of "all things Poe". As of this evening, however, I will now have to add an * that states (except The Narrative of Author Gordon Pym of Nantucket). How bad did it get? Well...I actually contemplated "abandoning ship"...more
Coral
There is a reason that Poe's poetry and short stories are his best-known works. This novel is rambling, digressive, and impossibly difficult to invest in. The scene in which Arthur is trapped in steerage for days showed promise, as it seemed that Poe planned to exploit some of the natural anxieties which people likely experienced aboard an early 19th century ship (claustrophobia, fear of starvation, etc.). Unfortunately, the atmosphere he creates disappears as a series of ridiculously unlikely e...more
Andrew
OK, so Poe was a bit of a racist. Let's address that elephant in the room before we move on to the rest of the review.

There are only a handful of works I know that express the sheer horror that's found in Arthur Gordon Pym... Heart of Darkness is up there, along with House of Leaves, and a few others. In the life of Arthur Gordon Pym, there are no wins. Facing the cruelty and savagery of his fellow sailors, the unforgiving sea, and a hostile and utterly alien indigenous society, he survives albe...more
Shaudee
I had no idea Poe was such a science fiction writer! I always thought he was super into horror but apparently he's got another side to him. He gets really scientific in this terrific nautical tale. The ending is fantastic and I'm sure had he been in more recent times, it would have been even wilder. The scientific and really objective perspective of this novel lends it some real credibility as a true story, which is what Poe was shooting for. Good stuff if you're a Poe fan.
Amberle Husbands
I'll be honest, I started reading this because I'd heard that Jules Verne wrote a sequel and I've gotten nothing but enjoyment from every word I've ever read of Jules Verne.

Now, Poe's one of my favorites too, but reading this made me really, really appreciate his short stories. The novel drags a good deal, and the ending feels more like the story got away from him than a stylishly intentioned cliff-hanger. Despite that, though, there were some truly chilling moments; moments that left me shiver...more
Judith
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe began with two drunken boys on a nearly fatal sailing adventure and progresses through increasingly disturbing adventures at sea, ultimately culminating in a voyage to the South Pole. Narrated as a memoir, the novel ends abruptly while riding in a boat on a current of ever-warming milky-white water, under drifting ashes, toward a huge white figure shrouded in mist, leaving the pole itself a mystery. Pym and the one other survivor...more
Meghan
I picked this up so that I could read Pym: A Novel, but it's weirdly compelling in its own right. With the novel-plotting skill of a born short story writer, Poe plunges through a succession of genres and tones, from boys'-own-naval adventure story to survival horror to Jules Verne-like exploratory proto-SF, all wrapped in that crunchy shell of found-document author-uncertainty that was postmodern before there was postmodernism (or modernism, for that matter).

Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, our...more
Juan
Nov 18, 2011 Juan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Solo fans de Poe que quieren leer su obra completa. Tal vez lectores muy jovenes.
Poe es uno de mis autores favoritos, y dentro de mis favoritos el único que escribió textos que me gustan mucho y otros que me gustan muy poco o nada. “Las aventuras de Arthur Gordon Pym de Nantucket” –o como se le llame en español dependiendo de la editorial- es uno de los últimos.
Los primeros capítulos fueron publicados en serie dentro de una revista. La serie nunca se terminó y tiempo después apareció el texto “completo” como una novela. Sin embargo a mi me parece que Poe se sintió obligado a...more
Kaya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Booknblues
Combine Robert Louis Stevenson with Jules Verne and you have Edgar Allen Poe’s classic adventure tale of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket . In some ways this sole novel of Edgar Allen Poe is an extraordinary shipboard adventure filled with pirates and mutineers and in others it is a glimpse into fantastical imagined worlds similar to ones we have seen in works of Jules Verne and it is no wonder as this work has influenced writers as Jules Verne and Herman Melville and more recentl...more
Susan
part of a study of 19th C adventures inspired by cavern people legends

Why on Earth was this included in cavern books listing? Nary a one in site, unless they sailed underground through Antartica and didn't know it?

Very goofy, exciting 'adventure' story written in amazing detail (that was often wrong, where I knew the facts,) relating an extremely unlikely chain of events. I actually laughed at the bit where they jumped the shark (and several tried to jump over the sailors on a good-ish sized sai...more
Ben Eldridge
Poe's only novel is essentially an informal treatise on the very act of narrative creation. There are levels of fictionality on display within The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym that are at times ironic, parodic and profoundly metaphysical, oftentimes all at once. The narrative is deliberately broken - self-referentially incomplete and incoherent - for the purpose of questioning its very form. Characters disappear, in-text contradictions abound and narratorial interventions undermine the form, t...more
Luis Hiniesto
Leí este libro hace muchos años cuando apenas sabía quien era Poe. Lo encontré entre unos libros que tenía mi abuelo y el título me atrajo. Comencé la lectura y ya no pude parar.

Ahora, al cabo de más de 30 años lo releo en la edición española de Valdemar (editorial especializada en literatura gótica).

He vuelto a disfrutar con la lectura aunque tengo que reconocer que no tanto como la primera vez.

Agota un poco tanto sufrimiento en el mar. Cuando no es en la bodega del barco, pasando hambre y sed,...more
Kevin
Most of us are familiar with Edgar Allen Poe's famous works. In each of these, an idiosyncratic, totalizing horror encompasses our entire experience. It was no surprise then that his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, takes the form of very loosely connected picaresque, with no narrative strand running through it from beginning to end.

The thrill of reading Pym is watching its protagonists narrowly escape one near death scenario only to be caught up immediately in anothe...more
Ана Хелс
Едгар Алън По

61

Единственият завършен роман на мрачния гений от мрака с гарван на рамото се оказва достоен за напомняща на детска поредица от вечни приключенски романи в България. Бих казала много странно решение. По-скоро бих поставила текста в графа уиърд класик хорър, отколкото в почти детско приключение. Не бих препоръчала с леко сърце история , поднасяща толкова хладно дистанцирано канибализъм, разложение, масово унищожение , болести и лудост, в комбинация с почти поетичната меланхоличност н...more
Travis
Half dark sea faring adventure, half equally dark fantasy. Sort of 'Captain's Courageous' meets 'Guliver's Travels', if you sucked most of the fun out of those stories.

One of Poe's most unrelentingly racist works. I'm generally able to shrug off stuff that is seen as politically incorrect due to when it was written, but Poe lays it on so thick that after awhile you are just tired of hearing about how evil and untrustworthy blacks are.

Young Arthur Gordon stows away on on a ship, wanting the adve...more
Oliver Charlesworth
The legend that is Poe as well as perfecting the detective-story and the horror tale originated another unique, though little acknowledged, artform that of the 'weird novel'.

The titular narrator, smuggled aboard a brig by a friend, on a journey to the (then) unknown South Seas, falls victim to mutiny, recapturing the vessel, wreckage in storms and starvation (prevented by cannibalism), as well as an encounter with an all-corpse-crewed vessel, on the drifting, slowly sinking hulk.

Eventually esca...more
Scott Hodukavich
Parts were quite entertaining. It is written as a narrative of someone from the 1800's remembering a long traumatic seafaring adventure. It sometimes goes into dry details which may be how someone from that time & place would have written it, but it doesn't always make for an interesting read.

The ending is interesting. I don't think it's a secret that the novel does not have a "conclusive" ending - I went into reading the novel knowing that much. But it's odd, since it is a narrative, you kn...more
Stephanie
What the %$?? That is how I felt about The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. This book made no sense. Okay, sure, sometimes it was exciting and harrowing with all the mutiny and starvation and cannibalism. But a lot of his physical descriptions were downright confusing. Like the set-up of Pym's hiding place on the Grampus. I didn't get that for a minute. I literally did not understand it. Was he in a crate? The language in this novel is very unclear.

And later there was his description of the caves...more
Dave
Apparently Poe's only longer work of fiction. A serialized adventure story of a young man on a whaling vessel experiencing a series of profoundly unfortunate events. I hadn't heard of it before and I like Poe's work, so I thought it might be fun. I discovered why the work is not well known, since it's uneven, and for me unsatisfying. I found it interesting in many places but overall disappointing. It felt to me as if Poe had written himself into a corner and couldn't resolve the story which beca...more
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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
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“Sensations are the great things, after all. Should you ever be drowned or hung, be sure and make a note of your sensations; they will be worth to you ten guineas a sheet.” 9 likes
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