Laura's Reviews > Selected Tales

Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe
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Aug 30, 10

Read from July 29 to August 29, 2010

I know Edgar Allan Poe is credited with being a master of horror stories, pioneering the first real sci-fi tale, and inventing the detective genre; but does that really mean I have to like him?!
Firstly, good God he has an obsession with premature burial/entombment. A horror story isn't necessarily inventive if each one he writes involves some element of claustrophobic tomb and/or a question mark over death, madness, or the reliability of a narrator. Once or twice, then fine, wonderful, it's intereting; after that it just seems as though his imagination couldn't come up with anything more original. And why oh why does he have to force it through our reading eyes and into our brains that he speaks French & Latin just as well as English? And oh, did we pick up on the fact he's done a bit of philosophy in his time too? 'A priori' this, 'a posteriori' that, & 'philosophically' the other; I GET IT, YOU'RE CLEVER. On top of that, so many - not particularly breathtaking - phrases are repeated over and over, although sadly I can't bring any to mind to prove it right now.

In spite of the fact that generally this collection grated on me a bit -could you tell?! - some of the pieces were genuinely enjoyable [if enjoyable is the right word for a horror story:]. If he'd have written more tales remniscent of 'How to Write a Blackwood Article' instead of concentrating mainly on the macabre or infuriatingly long-winded philosophical discussions on 'first principles', I'd have got on better with him. And also if he wasn't credited with writing the first detective novel. I refuse to believe that before he came along at the the beginning of the 1800s there wasn't someone, somewhere, who put pen to paper and wrote some version of a murder-mystery before he did. It just seems impossible.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I have my copy sat in front of me now :) x


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