Taka's Reviews > Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems

Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
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Mar 06, 2011

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bookshelves: american_lit, japan_jul07-aug11

Uneven--

His classic tales and poems are really good (no surprise there), but it was good to know there were some gems I didn't know, such as "The Gold-bug," "William Wilson," "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains," and "Spectacles."

I thought "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (too tedious) and "The Fall of the House of Usher" (too artificial) were okay. I did really like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Tell-tale Heart," "The Black Cat," "The Imp of the Perverse," and "The Cask of Amontillado" were all awesome.

His sole novel, Narrative f a Gordon Pym started out slow, but ended up being a ripping good read, combining adventure, mystery, and horror into one compelling narrative. Here, Poe's obsession with premature burial and the macabre are woven into it for good measure, and I have a sneaking suspicion that his later stories were offshoots of this novel. Having also read Moby-Dick, I can't help but notice the similarities between the two novels. It looks like Melville took to the extreme Poe's slight tendency to digress on various nautical topics and added some Shakespearean monologue here and there. It was interesting to note the similarities.

The poems. The poems he wrote in his youth are, for me, just obscure and hard to understand. I slogged through them, but it was painful. His later poems, on the other hand, were really good. I especially liked--other than "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee" which are a given-- "The One in Paradise," "The Bells," "A Dream within a Dream," and "For Annie."

Overall, his oeuvre is uneven in that a lot of the works aren't as nearly good as his best ones and suffer from verbose, prolix language (which could be the product of his period, though).

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