The Macabre & Creepy Edgar Allan Poe group discussion

Ligeria & Hop Frog

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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
A 2nd story to read this month, Oct. 2010. Anyone gonna give it a read,and start some discussion? Hop Frog too?

Hope to get some posts on here!

message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner Gary, I've read both of these stories, and will try to post a comment or two next week to get the ball rolling, unless someone else beats me to it. (I'll check out my library's Poe anthology this Sunday, when I go back to work, so I'll have it on hand to refer to this month!) Of course, there's already been a really good "Hop Frog" discussion over on that thread.

message 3: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
reading...talking.....reading......discussing....i hope.

message 4: by Werner (last edited Oct 05, 2010 07:11AM) (new)

Werner Like "Mellonta Tauta," the previous story we read, "Ligeia" is one of Poe's numerous exercises in science fiction. Revenants are, of course, a staple of supernatural fiction, but Poe usually prefers to ground his horror in real or supposed natural causes; here, he makes it clear that (purely as a fictional conceit) survival of death results from the psychic potentialities of the human mind harnessed to a really srong will, a case of "mind over matter." Any similarity to "Mellonta Tauta," though, is strictly limited to their genre. There, his purpose was both didactic and humorous; here, it's purely to evoke an emotional response from the reader, and as usual for Poe, the response he's aiming for is fear and horror. (This story clearly fits into the Romantic style of most of his writing much better than the former; his occasional excursions into the didactic and/or humorous are divergences from the pure Romantic type.)

This suggestion that the mind can overcome death is a conceit that appears elsewhere in his writings. It also influenced some of the work of his 20th-century disciple, H. P. Lovecraft; knowing the latter's great fondness for Poe's work, it's pretty clear that Ligeia is a literary forerunner of Asenath Waite in "The Thing on the Doorstep."

message 5: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I agree with you, Werner. I reread parts of the story trying to decide if Ligeia is his wife, or his wife has her spirit inside of her?

message 6: by Werner (new)

Werner When I read the story (back in high school), my take on it was that Ligeia and Rowena were two different people --but that Ligeia's undying psychic energy entered the second wife's body with the wine she drank during her illness, and caused her death by psychosomatic means. Once rid of any competition from her rival's spirit, Ligeia then proceeded to completely take over the dead body by the force of her will, reanimate it by similar psychosomatic processes, and rise in it to use it as her own. In that process, she stamped it recognizably with some of her own physical characteristics.

message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner How many of you folks in this group have read "Ligeia?" Do any of you have an opinion about it --like it, or dislike it? Would you say that it's an effective story of its type? Why, or why not? Is Poe's prose style suited to the kind of story it is, and the effect that he wants? How does the quote from Joseph Glanville function in the story?

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