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The Portable Edgar Allan Poe

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,617 Ratings  ·  66 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
Paperback, Revised Edition, 628 pages
Published September 28th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1945)
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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,
Michael Galdamez
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poe fans, american literature enthusiasts, people who want a good creepy short story
*Just as a disclaimer, I read this for school, so I only read about a quarter of the book.*

Pretty much whenever I liked I story in here, I loved it. But when I didn't like one, I was constantly blinking tears out of my eyes because of constant yawning.

If you are interested in Poe's writings even a little bit, pick this up. It's packed to the brim with his stuff from all different kinds of genres: poetry, short stories, letters, etc. But even if you've never read Poe or aren't very interested...
Eve Kay
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The idea of this book is almost as brilliant as the author himself. The Portable edition of Poe has selected items of his: short stories, poems, letters, critical principles and observations. Hear hear! I suggest that all masterful writers' works should be gathered within the same covers in the same fashion.
Why I initially chose this book was exactly that. I get to have a look of all different aspects of his works easily. Especially getting into some of the great minds and/or writers of the wor
Jun 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Linda Pek
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 “
Feb 25, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Dec 20, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Lagacé
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, poetry
“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
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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
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.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was suggested reading for 'Fantasy and Science Fiction' course at Coursera.

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,"

1) "The Bells,"
2) "The Raven,"
3) "Annabel Lee."
Alastair Arthur
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Martin Bihl
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
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.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(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.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Feb 08, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bust out the galvanic batteries, boys. We’re gonna out-Herod Herod.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edgar Allen is a genius. He's the intellectuals horror psychedelic!
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Edgar Allan Poe was an impoverished hack writer who penned stories in popular genres (horror, detective fiction, science fiction). At the same time, he was an aesthete with aristocratic forebears and a deep-seated fear of the mob. Several of his stories, including "William Wilson" and "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether," reflect Poe's anxiety about popular rule. "The Fall of the House of Usher" can also be read as a manifestation of this anxiety.
The name Usher refers both to the "ma
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brandon Pytel
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I forced myself to read this entire thing after having read through all the stories and poems. That's where the meat of this book is: Poe's a mastermind storyteller, and one of the founders of the modern short story. We know him from such classics like the Telltale Heart, Cask of Amontillado, the Fall of the House of Usher, the Black Cat, but there wasn't a dull story in here -- from horror to suspense to mystery to crime, Poe captures the dark side of man, the death of beauty, and the political ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
What can I say about Poe that hasnt been said before ? Nothing quite frankly, the mans tales of horror terrify me, I read and reread them over and over and I never tire of them, they always send that shiver down my spine, I will never grow tired of the Cask of Amontillado, the Black Cat, the Tell Tale Heart, and Ligeia. We have possibly the greatest opening lines ever put to paper in The Cask of Amontillado
"The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could, but when he ventured upon
For some reason I'd never read any Poe before, except The Raven. It was interesting - but I couldn't really say I enjoyed most of it. Interesting to see someone doing something different, and inventing a whole new genre (the detective story), but altogether too much death and morbidness for me. I have to say also that the editor really didn't do it justice - I'm sure he thought arranging things by themes was a great idea, but I didn't. A chronological arrangement would have made more sense. Stup ...more
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
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
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The Macabre & Cr...: A Couple of Blog Posts regarding Poe 1 15 Dec 11, 2012 09:03PM  
  • Mosses from an Old Manse
  • The Country of the Blind and Other Science-Fiction Stories
  • Selected Poems
  • Melville's Short Novels: Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism
  • Great Love Poems
  • The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories
  • Operation Chaos (Operation Otherworld, #1)
  • The Best of Father Brown
  • The Point and Other Stories
  • Selected Poems
  • Robert Frost's Poems
  • The Storm
  • Collected Stories
  • Selected Poems
  • Where You'll Find Me and Other Stories
  • The Journal, 1837-1861
  • The Portable Mark Twain
  • The Portable Emerson
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 hundreds of ...more
More about Edgar Allan Poe...
“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.”
More quotes…