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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,678 Ratings  ·  344 Reviews
After reading an 1836 newspaper account of a shipwreck and its two survivors, Edgar Allan Poe penned his only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, the story of a stowaway on a Nantucket whaleship who finds himself enmeshed in the dark side of life at sea: mutiny, cannibalism, savagery—even death. As Jeffrey Meyers writes in his Introduction: “[Poe] remai ...more
Paperback, Modern Library Paperback Edition, 224 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Modern Library (first published 1838)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
an unusually restrained Edgar Allan Poe strips away his more poetic tendencies as well as his luscious prose in this Narrative, his only novel. the result is an "adventure" that is grim, Grim, GRIM... and so ends up feeling much like Poe after all, despite the shift in style.

a feckless youth decides to follow his heart and his sailor friend by stowing away on a whaling ship. sounds like a recipe for an exciting voyage full of adventure, bromance, mind-opening experiences and perhaps a little Com
Jan 27, 2011 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Dear The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,

I love you. I hate you. You confuse me because you evoke within me such conflicting emotions. The truth? I really got into a relationship with you because I thought that you would be a straight-up maritime adventure novel a la "Master and Commander." I heard you inspired Herman Melville when he was writing Moby Dick. That's what I was looking for. What I got was... well, what are you, Arthur?

Here's the thing, Gordy: you were always good as an adventure n

I read this in the German translation by Arno Schmidt in preparation of Schmidt’s Zettel’s Traum, which deals with E.A.Poe.

I already read this book decades ago (in another translation) and liked it quite a bit. This “new” one though was quite another experience–a good one! If you know Arno Schmidt you also know about his rather unusual way of punctuation. In this book he uses it too, especially in the first part. I guess the usage of the equal=sign instead of the hyphen, the & instead of “un
Pym is a great delirious fever nightmare of a novel, barely a novel at all, influencing everything from Moby-Dick to Lovecraft. It shares with Treasure Island an archetypal feel: when Poe describes being lost at sea and debating cannibalism, you think, "So this is where my brain got that image from."

It's fairly insane, as books go. There's Poe's usual fascination with being buried alive, and as thrilling a description of vertigo as I've ever read. He seems to have had no particular structure in
Nancy Oakes
Read in April.

for plot, etc. you can go here ; otherwise, as usual, read on.

Since the first time I read this book some years ago, I've done a lot of reading about it and I've discovered that even Poe scholars can't agree on what to make of it. Dana D. Nelson in her The Word in Black and White: Reading "Race" in American Literature, 1638-1867 notes that

"Readings of Pym range widely, from psychoanalytic exploration to social satire, from self-referential commentary on writing (or reading) to a m
Apr 19, 2016 Vivian is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
When you think you're going one place, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex based story, only to find out you were misinformed and it's really more influenced by Address on the Subject of a Surveying and Exploring Expedition to the Pacific Ocean and South Seas.

I guess I'll read it for the cannibalism. There's no way to make that boring, or is there? I mean, it's not a cookbook. Even then, there are exciting ways of presenting it.

Mar 14, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
βιβλίο που εκδόθηκε το 1838 και γίνονται μέσα... της Παναγιάς τα μάτια!!!! Λαμπρό μυαλό ο Πόε, σε συνδυασμό με τα βιβλία του Lovecraft νομίζω ότι θα αποτελούν έμπνευση για paranormal thrillers εις τους αιώνες των αιώνων!!!!!

Αξεπέραστο, μοναδικό, ευκολοδιάβαστο, θα σας σοκάρει όσο λίγα, πολύ ανώτερο από το νησί των θησαυρών ή τις περιπέτειες του Ιουλίου Βερν, θα το σύγκρινα μόνο με τα Βουνά της Τρέλας. Ειλικρινά απορώ πώς γίνεται να μην έχουμε δει κανένα από τα δυο αριστουργήματα ακόμα στο σινεμ
Sep 24, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
En este libro, su única novela, Poe intentó volcar absolutamente todos sus conocimientos y recursos literarios pero falló. El libro, tal vez por su extensión, no logra mantener el suspense de sus cuentos, más allá de las vicisitudes a las que está sometido el narrador. El mismo Poe nunca quedó conforme con el resultado final. Será por eso tal vez que siempre se focalizó en escribir cuentos. De todos modos, el libro suscitó el interés de dos grandes de la literatura: Julio Verne, quien dijo que " ...more
Mar 01, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
Surprisingly, this is Poe's most compulsively readable work, and I would have given it five stars, except for the lack of an ending, moments of sheer unbelievability, and the occasional ultra-boring chapter describing various animals or islands. As far as the ending goes, apparently Jules Verne wrote a sequel, so I will be able to have closure on the story eventually. This may not be one of Poe's most artistic works, but I found it to be his most suspenseful story, ironically despite its being a ...more
J.G. Keely
There is something in the reader in me that constantly drives to seek out the unusual and inexplicable. Authors who try to achieve this effect deliberately are always a bore, for the same reason that a man who wears a tophat as an affectation is always infinitely dull compared to the man who wears one unselfconsciously. Iconoclasm may owe its birth to the need for difference, but any iconoclast who fails to find a deeper inspiration is a rudderless rebel.

Difference is not, in itself, interesting
Edgar Allan Poe fue uno de mis padres literarios. Junto a Arthur Conan Doyle y H.P. Lovecraft, hizo que empezase a amar la letra impresa. Este libro de Poe no me ha gustado nada. Tal vez sea por la malísima traducción. Tengo una edición tan mala que no aparece ni el nombre del traductor. No exagero, hay frases que parecen trabalenguas. Lo he terminado por orgullo y como homenaje al 200 aniversario del nacimiento de este genio indiscutible.

La trama es sencilla, un joven, Arthur, que junto a su am
Marts  (Thinker)
Jan 06, 2010 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All who enjoy Poe's writing and love classic adventure
Being a fan of Poe's tales, I decided to experience his only novel "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" written in 1838.
In classic Poe style of course it was quite interesting and enjoyable, on many an occasion I felt I was actually with Pym experiencing the adventures. The tale is about the young Arthur Gordon Pym who stows away aboard a whaling ship called Grampus. Pym experiences a series of adventures including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism. He is eventually rescued by the
Dec 24, 2015 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I already knew how the book will end because I had a commentary and an essay on that book and Allan Poe.
The reading was pleasant and surprising and I think it was also very racist, no?
The writing makes a lot of thing confused but that's why Edgar Allan Poe was so good at!
Feb 26, 2016 Quirkyreader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very descriptive story. I will admit though at times I felt like I was reading Herman Melville stories. The companion stories that were chosen to go along with the main narrative fit rather well.
Miquel Codony
Mar 14, 2012 Miquel Codony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La mayor parte del libro es absolutamente brutal y perfecta, imposible mejorarla. El tramo final, a pesar de ser apasionante, tiene algunos problemas de ritmo (malditos infodumps) que se notan aún más después de la maravilla (el horror, según se mire) que lo precede, y por eso le escatimo una estrella. He leído quejas del final. A mi me gusta lo enigmático que resulta... por más que maldiga a Poe por no seguir explicando las aventuras de Arthur...

Este libro es una joya.
Jan 09, 2016 Cherchirish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Borges decía que esta era la obra cumbre de Poe. Me inclino a pensar que los cuentos reunidos en 'Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque' son superiores, pero carajo, lo que Poe hace con esta historia, que se antoja como una reelaboración a profundidad de su célebre cuento 'MS Found in a Bottle', es absolutamente maravilloso.

Cargada de virtuosismo narrativo, y atmosférica como los más grandes cuentos de Poe, las aventuras (desgracias) marítimas de Arthur Gordon Pym no sólo poseen un dinamismo prec
I read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym for the first time when I was nine years old, after receiving a volume of the Complete Edgar Allen Poe as a gift. While I devoured the short stories and the poetry multiple times, this, Poe's only novel, was read by me once, and I'm not even able to remember if I finished it. I picked this up to read in preparation to read Mat Johnson's satire, Pym (excellent, 5 stars btw.) Man, did I ever hate this. It was so excruciating to read, whether by design (to ...more
Patrick McCoy
Apr 19, 2016 Patrick McCoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I was inspired to read Edgar Allan Poe's lone novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym from Paul Theroux's description of it in The Old Patagonia Express. He called it the most frightening book he had ever read and later when he met Jorge Luis Borges in Argentina, Borges called it Poe's greatest work. I'm not sure I would go as far as either of those writers, but it was an entertaining read. It was chock full of disaster: mutiny, castaways, cannibalism, and murderous blood-thirsty natives. I rea ...more
Ben Loory
a man is involved in a terrible boating accident and as a result conceives of a great desire to go to sea. this one of the strangest books i've ever read-- a nightmare in the form of an adventure novel, where life and death are consistently confused, everyone appears to be sleep-walking, and the author seems bored out of his feverish mind. it's got some great imagery and a fantastic ending... plenty of mystery... but no drama or tension. an aura of great meaning all the way through, though... yo ...more
Jun 28, 2014 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: podcast, listened-to
Poe's only full length novel. A tale of a young boy's adventure aboard a whaling ship as it heads into the southern seas. Interesting insight into thoughts at the time of the peoples and animals near Antarctica. The end of the book...
Interestingly Arthur Pym's story continues in Jules Verne's "An Antarctic Mystery, The Sphinx of the Ice Fields". I discovered the Verne book first but learned I needed to begin with Poe's novel. Think that is a must. Interesting comparing the styles of the two aut
Franco  Santos
Soy aficionado a las obras de Poe, pero, lamentablemente, tengo que decir que este libro se me hizo insoportable. Demasiado pesado: un tedio total. No obstante, tiene un buen final: es lo que más me gustó. Y también alguna que otra cosa de la mitad.
Me ha parecido un libro extraño e inclasificable, pasa de la aventura al terror, del relato marinero a la divulgación científica. Alternando capítulos realmente terroríficos con otros realmente aburridos. Hay momentos escalofriantes como el del barco cargado de cadáveres o el capítulo en el que los protagonistas aceptan el canibalismo como modo de supervivencia, pero en cambio, en otros momentos, los interminables datos sobre las coordenadas del barco, la climatología y diversas cuestiones poco ...more
Kori Klinzing
Jan 05, 2012 Kori Klinzing rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, ugh
I cannot believe that Jules Verne was inspired by this nonsense. I am very rarely tempted to put a book down before finishing this, but several times throughout the novel I just didn't know how I would go on. There were painful page-long descriptions on boats and sailing, which, as the main character wasn't really a professional sailor and seemed completely inept in the first bit of the story, seemed completely implausible, and only served to distract from the only good part of the novel: the ad ...more
Jay Daze
Mr. Poe is definitely messing with us on this one. It just gets odder and odder: cannibalism (don't pick the short splinter), racism (an evil black cook and the treacherous natives), and gotta have some being buried alive (twice if you include being trapped below decks). Some of the aping of explorers journals gets tired and a couple of the chapters are just non-fiction essay (which may be trickily mucked up by Poe, but I don't have the heart to check them). He may be using the forms of adventur ...more
Well, this novel is un-star-able.

It's also exactly what you would expect were you to imagine Edgar Allan Poe writing the story of a sea voyage. Things go badly. I recommend that you read this novel, even though I can't exactly recommend the novel. You will have an opinion. You will ask yourself deep questions, like: "where did the dog come from?" and "where did the dog get to?" And you will be amazed at how every sentence sounds remarkably like something Poe would write. Pick any sentence at ra
Mar 28, 2015 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was inspired to read this (Poe's only novel) by an article in the New York Review of Books by Marilynne Robinson, praising both it and Poe very highly, and noting that unlike all his stories written before this novel, the stories written after it depict "the inescapable confrontation of the self by a perfect justice, the exposure of a guilty act in a form that makes its revelation a recoil of the mind against itself." The act of writing this novel was apparently a turning point for Poe. Maybe. ...more
Carl Alves
In the only full length novel that Edgar Allan Poe ever wrote, he tells a tale set at sea of Arthur Gordon Pym. He sails around the globe, and during his misadventures at sea, he experiences a mutiny on board, a terrible storm resulting in a shipwreck, and a run-in with a tribe of cannibals. In order words, all sorts of madcap mayhem fun. As far as the novel itself goes, I wasn't wildly impressed. It seemed to ramble at times and most of it wasn't terribly compelling. I'm not the biggest fan of ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L’unico romanzo scritto da E. A. Poe rappresenta una continuazione della tradizione letteraria delle avventure marittime, congeniale allo scrittore che in vari punti dell’opera mostra una conoscenza approfondita delle imbarcazioni e delle attività marinare, infondendo nel romanzo contenuti realistici: Gordon Pym si imbarca clandestinamente in una baleniera per spirito di avventura, affronta traversie e molteplici esperienze, fino ad approdare nell’Antartico, terra ancora oggi misteriosa e affasc ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Coni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cosa succede quando il precursore dell'occulto, del mistero, del giallo, della fantascienza perfino, prova a scrivere il suo unico romanzo? Non lo so, non l'ho mica capito.
Gordon Pym sale di traforo su una nave. E poi da lì succede il delirio. Poe riprende delle storie di ammutinamenti e selvaggi e ci ricama su.
Poi mi ha fatto pure arrabbiare che Gordon ha questo cane, che incredibilmente si materializza. Che lo salva perfino. Oh cane adorato, tu sei tutto per me. Poi arriva la tempesta. E il c
Sep 24, 2015 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fear of being enclosed, fear of heights, and being buried alive. Starvation. Isolation. All of Poe's signatures are in Pym. But the book seems hurried, unfinished, not altogether there. I liked a few of the scenes in this novel but, overall, it seems to have gone nowhere. If you read the book, you will see what I mean.

Books based on action are very hard to write. Poe succeeds here in many places and fails in others (what happened to the guy's dog?). To write one of these books there needs to be
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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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