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Great Short Works of Edgar Allan Poe Poems Tales Criticism

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ISBN-10: 0060727853

ISBN-13: 9780060727857

Edition: N/A

Authors: Edgar Allen Poe

List price: $13.99
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The classic poems and spine-tingling stories of a Gothic American master collected in one volume. Of all the American masters, Edgar Allan Poe staked out perhaps the most unique and vivid reputation, as a master of the macabre. Even today, in the age of horror movies and high-tech haunted houses, Poe is the first choice of entertainment for many who want a spine-chilling thrill. Born in Boston in 1809, and dead at the age of 40, Poe wrote across several fields during his life, noted for his poetry and short stories as well as his criticism. The best of each of these is collected here, including the classic poem The Raven , and timeless stories like The Tell-Tale Heart . In his introduction to this volume, G. R. Thompson argues that Poe was a great satirist and comedic craftsman, as well as a formidable Gothic writer. "All of Poe's fiction," Thompson writes, "and the poems as well, can be seen as one coherent piece - as the work of one of the greatest ironists of world literature."
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Book details

List price: $13.99
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 9/28/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 576
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.034
Language: English

There has never been any doubt about Poe's enormous literary significance, but, with regard to his ultimate artistic merit, there has been considerable disagreement. To some he is little more than a successful charlatan, whose literary performances are only a virtuoso's display of stunning, but finally shallow, effects. Others, however, are struck by Poe's profound probing of the human psyche, his philosophical sophistication, and his revolutionary attitude toward literary language. No doubt both sides of this argument are in part true in their assessments. Poe's work is very uneven, sometimes reaching great literary heights, at other times striking the honest reader as meaningless, pathetic, or simply wrong-headed. This is not surprising, considering the personal turmoil that characterized so much of Poe's short life. Poe was extreme in his literary views and practices; balance and equilibrium were not literary values that he prized. Scorning the didactic element in poetry, Poe sought to separate beauty from morality. In his best poems, such as "The City in the Sea" (1836), he achieved an intensification of sound sufficient to threaten the common sense of the poetic line and release a buried, even a morbid, sense that would enchant the reader by the sonic pitch of the poem. Defining poetry as "the rhythmic creation of beauty," Poe not only sought the dream buried beneath the poetic vision---Coleridge had already done that---but also abandoned the moral rationale that gave the buried dream symbolic meaning. The dream, or nightmare, was itself the content of the verse. Some readers, however, such as T. S. Eliot, have found Poe's poetry extremely limited, both in its content and in its technique. While it is true that Poe was one of the few American poets to achieve international fame during the nineteenth century, critics point out that his influence on such literary movements as French symbolism and literary modernism was largely through the superb translations and criticisms of his writings by Baudelaire (see Vol. 2), Mallarme (see Vol. 2), and Valery (see Vol. 2). Poe's theory of the short story, as well as his own achievements in that genre, contributed substantially to the development of the modern short story, in Europe as well as in the United States. Poe himself regarded his talent for fiction writing as of less importance than his poetry and criticism. His public preferred his detective stories, such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841), "The Mystery of Marie Roget" (1842--1843) and "The Gold Bug" (1843); and his analytic tales, such as "A Descent into the Maelstrom" (1841), "The Black Cat" (1843), and "The Premature Burial" (1844). His own preference, however, was for the works of the imagination, such as "Ligeia" (1838), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1839), and "The Masque of the Red Death" (1842), tales of horror beyond that of the plausible kind found in the analytic stories. Just as with his poetry, however, readers have been strongly divided in their appreciation of the deeper worth of Poe's fiction. For many, they are at best merely an effective display in Gothicism, good horror stories, an enjoyable experience in vicarious terror, but nothing more. This was the view of Henry James, that other great nineteenth-century master of the ghost story, who claimed that "an enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection." But others have found in these carefully crafted pieces something far more profound, a way of seeing into our unconscious, that place where, for a while at least, terrifying conflicts coexist. As Poe so well put it himself in the preface to his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), "If in many of my productions terror has been the basis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany but of the soul."

Sources and Acknowledgments
Dreams (1827, 1828)
Spirits of the Dead (1827, 1839)
Evening Star (1827)
A Dream Within a Dream (1827-1849)
Stanzas: "In Youth Have I Known" (1827)
A Dream (1827)
"The Happiest Day-The Happiest Hour" (1827)
The Lake-To- (1827, 1845)
Sonnet-To Science (1829, 1845)
To-: "The Bowers Whereat, In Dreams I See" (1829, 1845)
Fairy-Land (1829, 1845)
Introduction (1829-1831)
Alone (1829)
To Helen (1831, 1845)
Israfel (1831-1845)
The City in the Sea (1831-1845)
The Sleeper (1831, 1849)
The Valley of Unrest (1831-1845)
Lenore (1831-1843)
To One in Paradise (1833-1849)
The Coliseum (1833, 1850)
The Haunted Palace (1838-1848)
Sonnet-Silence (1839-1845)
The Conqueror Worm (1842-1849)
Dream-Land (1844-1849)
The Raven (1845-1849)
Ulalume-A Ballad (1847-1849)
The Bells (1849)
Eldorado (1849)
For Annie (1849)
Annabel Lee (1849)
Metzengerstein. A Tale in Imitation of the German (1832, 1836)
Loss of Breath. A Tale A La Blackwood (1832, 1835)
MS. Found in a Bottle (1833, 1845)
The Assignation [The Visionary] (1834, 1845)
Berenice (1835, 1845)
Some Passages from the Life of a Lion [Lionizing] (1832, 1845)
Shadow-A Parable (1835, 1845)
Silence-A Fable (1837, 1845)
Ligeia (1838, 1845)
How to Write a Blackwood Article. A Predicament (1838, 1845)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1839, 1845)
William Wilson (1839, 1845)
The Man of the Crowd (1840, 1845)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841, 1845)
A Descent Into the Maelstrom (1841, 1845)
The Colloquy of Monos and Una (1841, 1845)
Never Bet the Devil Your Head. A Tale with a Moral (1841, 1845)
The Oval Portrait (1842, 1845)
The Masque of the Red Death (1842, 1845)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1842, 1845)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1843, 1845)
The Black Cat (1843, 1845)
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains (1844, 1845)
The Premature Burial (1844, 1845)
The Purloined Letter (1844, 1845)
Some Words with a Mummy (1845)
The Imp of the Perverse (1845, 1846)
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)
The Sphinx (1846)
The Cask of Amontillado (1846)
Hop-Frog: or, The Eight Chained Ourang-Outangs (1849)
Review of "Twice-Told Tales. By Nathaniel Hawthorne" (1842)
The Philosophy of Composition (1846)
Excerpts from The Poetic Principle (1848-1850)