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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Related Tales

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,375 ratings  ·  178 reviews
Edgar Allan Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is a pivotal work in which Poe calls attention to the act of writing and to the problem of representing the truth. It is an archetypal American story of escape from domesticity tracing a young man's rite of passage through a series of terrible brushes with death during a fateful sea voyage. Inclu ...more
Paperback, World's Classics, 336 pages
Published November 19th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published July 31st 1844)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,375 ratings  ·  178 reviews


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Michael
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an odd and wonderful book! A sea voyage unlike any other I've read about (and I've read about a lot of them). The story really pulled me in, even as it got stranger and more outlandish. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
Andrew Finazzo
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
K.D. Absolutely
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mike
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it

The majority of this novella is a rollicking sea adventure that seems to include many of the elements that I rightly or wrongly associate with Poe. In the first chapter (helpfully marked with the Roman numeral I, as was required in 19th century literature), the narrator’s friend, with a strange enthusiasm, gets him up in the middle of the night to go sailing. It isn’t until the two are a good distance from land that the narrator, Arthur Gordon Pym, who knows nothing about sailing, realizes that
...more
William Oarlock
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
Tony
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dfordoom
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-gothic
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
Coos Burton
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
De cuando en cuando, me cruzo con gente a la que le gustan las creaciones del maestro Poe, lo cual siempre me resulta gratificante ya que no hay nada más hermoso que compartir gustos en el campo literario. Lo malo es que, cada vez que consulto por este libro, solamente un bajo porcentaje lo ha leído. ¿La razón? Tienen miedo de no entenderlo, que sea complejo, que sea monótono o aburrido, que no cumpla con sus expectativas, y miles de excusas más. Si alguien esta pensando así y lee esta reseña, p ...more
Adam
Nov 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-adventury
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
Diana DeCameron
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Peter
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Marc
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Really phenomenal, very detailed, pseudo realism enhanced by scientific-sounding descriptions.
William Leight
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
“The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym” was an inspiration for Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” — he took the cry of “Tekeli-li” from it, and even mentions it a couple of times — and the last section of the book, set (sort of) in Antarctica, does have a proto-Lovecraftian feel to it. However, this part of the book arrives only after a macabre story of castaways adrift, a scientifically-minded travelogue of the South Seas, a bloody tale of a mutiny, a series of phantasmagorical dreams, and ...more
Trebor
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I really can't say I loved reading this tale of ocean adventure as much as I have many others. It does have a few outstanding spots which seemed well organized, but then others seemed forced and tedious. One thing keeps reoccurring is Poe's fear of tight confined places and claustrophobic situations, and seems to carry on into some of his short stories, as well. I'm not keen on them myself(MRI) so their reference does stimulate a slight blood flow in my fear zone. Not a bad book but it was begin ...more
Marc Tiefenthal
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Het verhaal dus, the narrative. Meer is dat niet. Het is niet eens een roman. Niettemin is het een meesterwerk omdat Poe hier informatie, wetenschap zelfs kunstig mengt met verbeelding. Ik heb dit boek, hoe afwijjkend het ook is, of precies daarom, heel graag gelezen.
Turin Turambar
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. I guess this is the kind of book where the interesting part is when you've finished it and start rethinking all the riddles and hints of symbolism; first reading on the other hand wasn't too enjoyable.
Cheryl
Feb 13, 2018 marked it as sony-or-android
Inspiration for Pym, as I discovered through a Black History web-surf.
Wes F
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read on my iPhone in the Serial app. Just so-so...a bit long & dragged-out, and then no real ending.
Henry
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simply an incredible story. EA Poe is timeless.
Châu Ân
Mar 05, 2017 is currently reading it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Kevin
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Lizy
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics, dark
Apologies in advance if this review is unorganized; my thoughts on it are more like a web than a linear thing.

I've never been a big fan of Poe, but I've always respected him and his place among morbid lit. This book kind of cemented that opinion. To me, Poe is the Starbucks of dark, angsty writing: when someone brings it up it's the first thing that comes to mind, you know it's everywhere and it's not going away, but you also know it's not anywhere near the best and probably not what you actuall
...more
Stephen Scott
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juan
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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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 hundreds of ...more
“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.” 12 likes
“Hay pocas situaciones decisivas para el hombre en que no le inspire un profundo interés su propia conversación, interés que crece minuto a minuto con la fragilidad del lazo que sostiene nuestra existencia; pero entonces el carácter silencioso, positivo, riguroso de la tarea que me habían impuesto, tan diferente a la de los tumultuosos peligros de la tempestad o de los horrores progresivos del hambre, me hizo reflexionar sobre las pocas probabilidades que tenía de escapar de la más espantosa de las muertes, de una muerte de horrible utilidad, y cada partícula de la energía que por tanto tiempo me había sostenido huía entonces como una pluma arrebatada por el viento, dejándome impotente a merced del más abyecto y lastimoso terror.” 2 likes
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