The Complete Idiots Guide to the Ultimate Reading List discussion

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Chapter 11: Horror Novels > The Tell-Tale Heart

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Tera (TheBookishAbyss) | 91 comments An old Poe story that I read ages ago, but it's premise is still frightening. A murder wrought in anger, neighbors hear a shriek, but by the time the police have come the body is hidden beneath the floor boards. The suspect convinces the police the victim is out of town and all seems well for the suspect until... the heart starts beating.


message 2: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
This is one of my favorite Poe stories


message 3: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Definitely one of his best.I have always been fascinated by Poe and enjoyed his writing immensely


message 4: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
I like the variety you get with Poe. Mystery, horror, romance.


message 5: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
I recently went to a live reading of this story by alocal actor and it was amazing.


message 6: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Have any of you ever heard of the doppelganger theory employed in this story? It's pretty neat if any of you are interested.


message 7: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Oh, yeah, and I'd love to share with you what I teach my class concerning doppelganger in the story. Forgot that part! :)


message 8: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
No I havent heard of it.


message 9: by Jeff (new)

Jeff It's pretty cool. There's all kind of evidence, but look at the part where he describes the heart as being like a watch enveloped in cotton. Poe actually uses this exact phrase twice, once to describe the old man's heart, the other to describe the narrator's heart. The theory suggests that in these stories ("Cask", "William Wilson", "Fall...Usher"), the characters are actually conflicting sides of the same mind. Critics will say it's not the "eye" the narrator hates, but the "I". In "Fall...Usher" Poe describes the house in great detail like parts of a head and face, as if the characters' actions going on inside are a mental battle. In "Cask" Montresor and Fortunato are names that actually mean the same thing in different languages. I'm giving the abbreviated version here, but it is quite fascinating.


message 10: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
I will have to reread some of these stories


message 11: by Debra (new)

Debra Harrison (bookcollecting101) | 4 comments Jeff, that is a very interesting way to look at Poe's work. Can you give me a reference to a book where these topics are explained. I'd like to know more about it.


message 12: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Hey, Debra. Let me give you some names. Gargano, Assilineau (sp?), Chua. These are critics that have worked for me in my writing and for my students in theirs.
There used to be an essay on doppelganger on the front page of www.poedecoder.com. Probably still there.
You can also google doppelganger + Poe, or if you're familiar with databases do the same thing there.
Let me know what you dig up, please. It's been awhile since I've done any serious research on it. Maybe I need to revisit it.


message 13: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (mrst_292) | 25 comments Poe is always awesome!


message 14: by Laurie (new)

Laurie (ardelia27) I loved The Tell-Tale Heart and most of everything else I have ever read by Poe. I read this book in high school and was freaked out for days. I think this was my introduction into horror and what a way to begin! After that, horror was my thing. I may have to pick up Poe and reread soon. I miss his wonderful stories.


message 15: by Karrie Vincent (new)

Karrie Vincent | 14 comments I read this to my son and his friends for a Halloween party and they loved it. It is such a great story!!


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