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Selected Tales

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  7,021 ratings  ·  161 reviews
The undisputed master of terror and mystery, Edgar Allan Poe was a unique inventor in fiction.

In 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and 'The Black Cat' he wrote the first and best tales of terror; with 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' and his fictional detective M. Dupin he invented the detective story; and tales such as 'MS. Found in a Bottle' and 'Von Kempelen and His Disco
Mass Market Paperback, Penguin Popular Classics, 406 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1849)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  7,021 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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I read this alongside the Penguin Horror collection The Raven: Tales and Poems, edited by Guillermo del Toro and S.T. Joshi; fifteen stories overlap in the two volumes. The Oxford Selected Tales has only short stories, and no poetry, and its introduction is more academic. Unlike the Penguin collection, it has explanatory notes, and notes are, frankly, necessary if you care about understanding Poe's "recondite references" as they are described by the Oxford collection's editor, David van Leer. (A ...more
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Bridget
Although I'd never read any Edgar Allan Poe prior to this collection, I'd heard of at least seven tales within it thanks to popular culture (mostly The Simpsons). My Mum, by contrast, seemed wholly unfamiliar with Poe's oeuvre on our weekly Zoom call so Dad invited me to explain it. I first tried to describe his writing style. The three qualities that stood out to me were, first, bedecking everything with literary allusions and quotes in latin, ancient greek, French, and Italian, some invented. ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh, look, I can review this book from my computer. The ins and outs of this problem deeply, deeply confuse me...

Anyway, to actually review the book: the Penguin edition of selected tales of Edgar Allan Poe is an interesting one. His writing is interesting, reasonably absorbing most of the time, and it was quite good to read the forerunners of modern detective fiction in the form of 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue', and 'The Mystery of Marie Roget', though both of them got a little tiresome by the
Sharon Bolton
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
We’re supposed to love and revere Poe, we writers of scary tales, but I rather struggle to do it.

I had to read him again, just recently, because I was taking part in a discussion at the Danish crime fair, Krimimessen, in Horsens, on the subject of the macabre in crime fiction. Invariably, on such occasions, Poe will raise his ashen face. I dug out my old paperback copy and re-read a few of the tales: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Black Cat, the Masque of the Red Death, The Premature Buria
David Sarkies
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crime, Horror, and a Bit of Black Comedy
7 December 2018

Well, what can I really say about this book other than that it is a collection of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe. Well, I could probably leave it at that, particularly since I have already written reviews on some of the stories in this book, just not all of them. However, I won’t be using this to review the other stories in this collection, but rather saying a few things about Poe’s writing. One thing I should mention though is that this
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's hard to wrap your mind around in the 21st century, but in this one volume you can watch the drug and depression-addled mind of Edgar Allan Poe invent the horror story, the detective story, the genre of science fiction, and perhaps the cornerstone of English absurdist and manic fiction that blossomed out of the fresh corpse of post-war modernism. The real genesis of this could probably be attributed to Rabelais, whose obscene epic probably does much more than, say, the relatively terse Masqu ...more
Tarik Lahyany
May 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
not interesting at all! style is dense, always mysterious to that flow over events by narrating, narration in turn isn't tractable. Too classic, dumb characters, doesn't feel the easiness of mysterious tales, but too overworking to be accessed. The life of characters isn't spotted at the exact timing of dialogues. Didn't enjoy it! ...more
John Defrog
It’s Poe, so you know the deal. As usual, the horror stories are the best. And credit to Poe for inventing the detective genre with Murders in The Rue Morgue, though the other two stories featuring detective Dupin – “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” and “The Purloined Letter” – come across like Poe trying to show off how intellectual he is.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
To inspire one frightful genre may be regarded as a misfortune; to inspire two looks like malevolence.
Oct 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
"I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity."

I bought this book more than four years ago, but it is only a few days ago that I decided to read it completely. Sure, I've read some of the stories, but only about five or so. I have always loved The Black Cat and The Tell-Tale Heart, the latter I read for at least five times. I will first present my individual ratings of the stories (the rating three stars for the book would be the average):

The Duc De L'Omelette ★☆☆☆☆
MS. Found in
Isabel (kittiwake)
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help.
from "The Pit and the Pendulum"

This book includes so
Edgar Allan Poe is the undisputable master of horror/terror/gothic genre. He goes to unsurpassable lenghts of describing the human psyche, of what a man is capable to do to another person. In addition, he knows how to create a gloomy atmosphere that suits his tales!! The only thing I disliked was his verbosity, his pseudo-sophistry and his language, which was sometimes really trying and exasperating. I thorougly enjoyed this volume, with the exception of the last two tales, namely "The Domain of ...more
I knew I would enjoy this, but even so I was surprised at how readable the stories were. I preferred the tales with a supernatural twist to the ones with more logical conclusions - 'William Wilson', 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and 'The Masque of the Red Death' (despite its brevity) were among my favourites, but I lost interest in 'The Murder of Marie Rôget' halfway through and was disappointed when 'The Gold-Bug' had a rational outcome rather than ending with a paranormal flourish. Great to ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took TOO. LONG. What to say? There were stories I loved, there were stories I liked and there were stories I thought 'what on Earth was THAT?' As, I guess, with any collection. Still, most of the stories I really liked and, well, it IS a classic.

A warning though, especially for those whose native language isn't English - the language can be quit difficult no matter how much or how long you've already been reading in English. Still, once you get used to it, it's quite fun discovering new (ol
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 7th-grade
I really enjoyed "Selected Tales" by Edgar Allan Poe. All the stories were unique and interesting. None of the stories seem to be the same. The writing was really good and had good descriptions. I think one of the things Edgar Allan Poe did the best was fluency and thoughts. The thoughts he incorporated into most of the short stories were very expressive and long. Being that the stories were written in another time period, some concepts are hard to understand. But apart from that, I liked readin ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
While I previously thought Poe only did randomly rhyming poems in story form, this was a pleasant read. Granted the 'horror' wasn't exactly horrifying, but that was part of Poe's charm. I particularly enjoyed the length to which Poe went to describe things, like the scenery and the characters, leading to an altogether interesting narrative. ...more
Hajer Youssri
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Finally got to finish this book! Some of the stories were so complicated and full of many minute details and some were really gloomy and creepy to me. Other than this I can say that Poe's stories clearly were ahead of his time. My favorite ones were The Black Cat, Hop-Frog, and The pit and the pendulum. ...more
I really wanted to enjoy these stories - be chilled by them - but I just didn't. I even found myself questioning why the Spanish Inquisition (The Pit & the Pendulum) would want someone to die out of the public gaze, rather than at an Auto da Fe.

Apologies to all Poe fans...
Rupsa Pal Kundu
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favourite short storyteller and "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a work of gothic fiction which includes themes of madness and isolation. The story begins when the unnamed narrator arrives at the old and unkempt mansion of his friend, Roderick Usher on an autumn day. The narrator has got a letter from Usher complaining of an illness and has asked for his help. He is ill physically and mentally. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The tales collected here, can be broadly classified into two categories - one, the grosteque, the fantastic, satirical if brooding and dark; the other mystery, like a puzzle, some which are too detailed and a bit, rambling, if I may use that term.
It is obvious which were the ones I enjoyed most. The other category gave me a feeling that Mr Poe was trying hard to establish himself as an intellectual while writing those. The beauty of Mr Poe's stories were their gradual flow, where the narrator is
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-novels
Edger Allan Poe photo: Edgar Allan Poe EdgarAllanPoe_Iwasneverreallyinsane_zps9b738e83.gif

I found these stories very dark and sometimes very depression, some of the stories highlight are fear of death and also shows a beauty within it, but like everything that pass we have decay that follows.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I enjoyed the detective stories here by Poe that predate the detective genre of Holmes and Watson. This is a great book to read around Halloween time and in contrast to the more graphic violence in movies today, the book keeps it pretty tame, while still maintaining the suspense and intrigue going well.
Aditya Shiledar
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Horror-fiction Fans, Baker Street Regulars, Classic-Literature Fans
Both the words 'Poe' and 'Popularity' begin with the same letter, but it was not until after the writer's demise in 1849, that they met. You see, the life of Edgar Allan Poe was just as much a mystery as his tales were. Poorly relations with foster parents, little recognition in the literary world, penniless prospects every other week, know, Alcohol: that did it for him.
My tattered Penguin Classics copy of Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe sat tauntingly on the shelf, until I had the n
It is somewhat noteworthy that despite taking an active interest in horror fiction, I have until earlier this year been a casual fan at best of Edgar Allan Poe. Part of this reason is that I've read very little literature from before World War 1 and even less before the Industrial Revolution, which in turn has several different reasons. The most obvious one is that with each of those paradigm shifts in human history, the lifestyles and modes of thinking that the writing is calibrated towards bec ...more
This took me a long while to finish it, but despite that I have really enjoyed it.

This wasn't my first time reading Poe, but it was the first time I read so many tales penned by him in the same book. Although this is my second time reading him in English, before I had only read shortened versions for students, so I'm glad I could experience the whole extent not only of his work, but also of his style.

Of course, I have liked some stories more than others:
-The Assignation had an air of mystery an
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
For me Edgar Allan Poe is a writer who is interesting more for his effect on other writers rather than a pleasure to read in his own right. His language is old fashioned and hard too understand; I say this and I like many Victorian writers.

In this collection, I enjoyed five of his stories. "The Purloined Letter: and "Murders in the Rue Morgue" are interesting because they are the first modern detective stories and it is very apparent that these stories influenced Sir Conon Doyle the author of th
May 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
i wanted to die because i didn't like it but i mean maybe he's not my style or whatever i just didnt like it but here are a few faves i did like and read and loved because they made sense to me or that it was narrated well or whatever...

the fall of the house of usher
the black cat
william wilson
the murders in rue morgue
the oval portrait
the masque of the red death
the tell tale heart
the facts in case of M. valdemar

and those are my faves thoug i have read more than those stories the others i re
As expected, this was a great collection of stories. My personal favorite has to be 'The Pit and the Pendulum', which is by far the scariest story of the bunch. Other ones I loved: 'The Man of the Crowd', 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' (despite the rather silly denouement), 'The Masque of the Red Death', 'The Tell-Tale Heart', 'The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether' and 'Hop-Frog'. The only story I genuinely didn't like because I had no idea what it was doing there, was 'The Domain of ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, short
I enjoyed some of these stories very much. Other's had me lifting my eyebrow but kept me ging and the rest I did not finish because I couldn't get into them.
Overall this is a great mix and my reading might've turned out differently if I was more in the mind to read Poe. His stories are not for everyday I think and one has to be in the mood for his style and topics.
Maybe it's best not to read it consecutively but only when the mood strikes?
Britt Rivera
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, for-class
Classic Poe. I liked many of the stories, but reading Hawthorne at the same time I actually found the latter more mentally thought provoking and eerie. It was good to read Poe again, especially some new ones.
"She died; -and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no longer endure that lonely desolation." -Ligeia
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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

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