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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  8,896 ratings  ·  900 reviews
Poe found the germ of the story he would develop into ARTHUR GORDON PYM in 1836 in a newspaper account of the shipwreck and subsequent rescue of the two men on board. Published in 1838, this rousing sea adventure follows New England boy, Pym, who stows away on a whaling ship with its captain's son, Augustus. The two boys repeatedly find themselves on the brink of death or ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 288 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published July 1st 1838)
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Mayumi Amargo I went ahead and found the quote. "[...]Words have no power to impress the mind with the exquisite horror of their reality," Chapter Pg. 75, Kindle Ed…moreI went ahead and found the quote. "[...]Words have no power to impress the mind with the exquisite horror of their reality," Chapter Pg. 75, Kindle Edition.(less)

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Richard
Jan 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
...more
Sr3yas
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is not your average 19th-century adventure tale like those of Jules Verne or Robert Louis Stevenson. Instead, it's a type of tale which acts as a forefather for many tales to come and it's a hell of a weird ride.

The narrative introduces Augustus and our narrator, Arthur Gordon Pym. The first chapter tells a drunken adventure of these two boys. Not sure why that chapter is there, but it's there.

The next couple of chapters tells on
...more
Paul
Nov 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american-novels
1.5 stars
This is Poe’s only novel; published in 1838. I haven’t read any Poe for many years, having read some of his poetry and his short stories in my teens. This is an odd novel. Arthur Gordon Pym and his friend Augustus are teenagers in search of adventure. Augustus’s father is a sea captain. A voyage is in the offing and Augustus contrives to enable Pym to stow away. A series of adventures ensues; each more farfetched than the previous. There is a bloody mutiny, followed by a shipwreck with
...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Some authors were never meant to be novelists. Some authors are meant to write short stories and some authors are poets.

In The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Poe's (thankfully) only full-length novel, we witness the struggles of an author looking to branch out into long form and having no fucking clue what he is doing. You can see a beautifully-wretched and bleak novelette or novella in here, but Poe overstays his welcome by about 50 pages.

Even Poe considered this novel "silly". Y
...more
Matt

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 “und” (
...more
Brian
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shipwrecks! Cannibalism! Wiley natives!

This is a quintessential ripping yarn, a page turner of the most classic kind - a book that inspired Melville and caused Auden to gush. It's Poe's only novel, and perhaps given his master of the short form it's best that he only gave us one to savor. And that ending! I wish I hadn't read the appendix; the end to the main narrative was so shocking and unexpected, so good.

Yes, yes, there are those long passages about rookeries and longitudinal markings, but
...more
Quirkyreader
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This second go around I did it as audio. I still thought is was similar to a Jules Verne novel.
Ivana Books Are Magic
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket yesterday (in one sitting) and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. I'm certainly glad I picked it up and read it for it proved a fascinating read. Nevertheless, there were quite a few things I didn't like and that confused me about this one and only novel by Edgar Allan Poe.

On overall, I have to admit to feeling a bit conflicted about this novel. Firstly, because it doesn't feel like a novel at all. It feels like a collection of s
...more
Bertrand Jost
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the only novel of Edgar Allan Poe. I really wanted to read it, back in 2013, because knowing Poe’s literary skills for telling interesting stories and keeping the reader engaged, I was eager to see if Poe could manage the same through the course of a whole novel. I must say that the result is rather successful. The book relates the story of a young sailor Arthur Gordon Pym who sails off aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus. From there, Pym undergoes a series of adventures including s ...more
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
...more
Alex
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
...more
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
...more
Shawn
As I'm due for a massive Poe re-read sometime in the next 2 years or so, I figured I'd at least polish off the one Poe work (outside of essays and a lot of his poetry) which I've never read. As usual, I tend not to do in-depth reviews for classics (as I feel more could be gained from reading experts' thoughts on the work) but, on the other hand, I will probably stick with my three-tiered review system, for those who haven't read the book or who aren't interested in some in-depth commentary.

TIER
...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
...more
Thomas Strömquist
OK, OK, I picked it, but I shouldn't carry all the guilt! For my and Edward's first buddy read of the year, I really felt for a classic and, due to our unusually late-in-the-month start, we had decided on one not overly long. So those were the constraints - or so I thought. My research into all and every one of my ingenious choices ended with Edward's detailed review of the book. So, he deserves some of the blame for deliberately narrowing the possible choices by reading so many books.

So there.
...more
Amitaf0208
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
i enjoyed this book very much. 4.5 stars.
Sandy
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
In his short story entitled “Ms. Found in a Bottle” (1833), author Edgar Allan Poe told a tale of shipwreck on the high seas, following the mother of all storms. Along with one other survivor, our narrator drifts helplessly on the surface of the water, later encountering what seems to be a ghost ship, on which he climbs aboard, only to be swept toward the south polar regions and to an unknown fate. Flash forward five years, and Poe has now enlarged on some of this story's set pieces and themes, ...more
Paul Haspel
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edgar-allan-poe
Narrative is a strange and ambiguous thing in the work of Edgar Allan Poe. We never know, on the one hand, when the great author is being straightforward -- or, on the other hand, when he is having us on: playing a trick, ensnaring us in a hoax, or embedding a seemingly simple story in a hopelessly complex network of interlocking codes. Such is certainly the case in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) – a sensation-laden sea adventure, and the only novel that Poe ever wrote.

Ar
...more
Vivian
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, dnf
DNF 65%

Pulling the plug on this. I love Poe, or rather, I love his short stories. He just doesn't translate well into full length novels, too much repetition and descriptive exposition to keep interest. This worked out better for me as a sleep aid than a tale.
"The body from which it had been taken, resting as it did upon the rope, had been easily swayed to and from by the exertions of the carnivorous bird , and it was this motion which had at first impressed us with the belief of its being a
...more
Jim
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For the first two-thirds of this, the only novel written by Edgar Allan Poe,, we have an interesting, but not entirely atypical, sea voyage complete with a stowaway (the narrator), a mutiny, a tale of survival on the open sea, and a rescue. It is only when the rescuing vessel goes farther south than any other vessel has gone before that The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket becomes a Poe creation.

Pym describes the notion below a certain Antarctic latitude as becoming warmer rather tha
...more
Sara
Nov 23, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Who knew Poe could write about life at sea with the same kind of detail and description as Melville. I could feel the terror of the storm at sea and the desperation of being adrift. The story became a bit laborious at times, but for the most part it was exciting and Poe didn't miss a good opportunity to include his favorite theme of the horror of being buried alive.
...more
Mary-jane
To tell the truth I expected something better from the first novel of my favourite horror stories author.Unfortunately,it failed to creep me,it triggered my disgust instead.However,there was some moments which sended shivers to the spine.
If you truly want to be introduced to Poe's work read his short stories.If you won't be stunned,at least you will be pleasantly surprised!!!
...more
Quirkyreader
Feb 18, 2016 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.
John
Feb 27, 2011 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
Dean
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intended by Poe as an adventure story, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" shows clearly the sinister and darker shades of Poes personality and character!!!

Near starvation, claustrophobia, cannibalism, mass murder, and mutiny are a few of the themes which are dealt with in this very strange, unequalled, and outstanding work..
Indeed it is a unique of its kind novelette!!!

I still can remember the first time I read it, it was in my early years as a teenager and I was so impressed that
...more
Nick
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Rebellious, enigmatic teen Arthur Gordon Pym is a stowaway aboard his friend's father's whaling vessel. His friend, Augustus, hides him in storage, bringing him food and drink until the ship is far enough from port that Pym can show his face and the captain will have no choice but to make him part of the crew. All's going according to plan, when (record scratch) there's a mutiny which results in the death of everyone aboard except Augustus, the hidden Pym, and the mutineers. One of the mutineers ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
The users who shelved this as horror surely did so based on Poe's reputation. On the other hand, I'm not a horror reader, so I may not be the most reliable observer. For me, this was all over the place genre-wise. Some have shelved it adventure, and I would agree with that. I could also see it as travel and certainly as fantasy. First and last it is a sea story. I would also place it in the realm of Murphy's Law: What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong. (Yes, caps, and I could have written that in bold ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All who enjoy Poe's writing and love classic adventure
Shelves: classics
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
...more
Lemar
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Edgar Allen Poe shows the skills he employs to create a mood of terror. Much of the effectiveness lies in his seamless mix of describing the physical threat with the psychological experience that amplifies it exponentially.
In this example he describes climbing down the face of a cliff, clinging to a rope:
“we begin to anticipate the feelings with which we shall fall, to picture to ourselves the sickness, and dizziness, and the last struggle, and the half swoon, and the final bitterness of the r
...more
Eve Kay
Surprisingly, I am very interested in sea travels. Although, I kinda knew that before picking up this book because that was the reason I wanted to read this: to read an adventure at sea. It starts off as an adventure where Pym travels the seas and is capsized for a while. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time, like watching a car wreck. You can't turn away even though you know something horrible is about to happen.
Unfortunately, that horrible happened to the story line. After they're res
...more
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20,914 followers
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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