Now there is a twisted mind I can admire.

Not really an e-book review, since I’ve read or heard the various stories since my childhood, but I’ve been reading selections from Edgar Allan Poe on my Nook for the past week or so.

What I really enjoy about Poe, is the variety of writing I can read from him. He wrote short stories, poetry, black comedies. He wrote mysteries, horror and love poems. He wrote about real life mysteries. But he is mainly remembered for his stories and poems of the macabre and a lone visitor to his grave years after his death.

This past week I’ve been reading stories I’ve remembered from my youth. For those who don’t know the story, my older brother would read me Poe for bed time stories. He was 12 years older than me and had been reading Poe for school. For some reason he thought that these stories were fine his 4/5 year old kid brother. While there were a couple that kept me hiding under blankets for many nights (Tell Tale Heart, Pit and the Pendulum), I remember most of the stories and poems with great affection. I have to thank my brother for enlightening me at such a young and impressionable age. I’m sure this help/hindered? in my becoming who I am today. 😉

This past week, I’ve revisited the above mentioned stories and many others. 45 years and many readings later, these stories still hold my attention.

This is another look into the writing styles of the past. Think back to these stories being printed in various magazines. Then they are read in a time without electric lights. Candles, oil lamps and some gas lamps, plus the fire in the hearth, were the lighting of the time. All of these lamps were darker than our current electric lights. They make moving and shifting shadows on the walls. Poe’s stories of Horror and the Macabre read in those settings still can give a chill to the bones. With story telling/reading, the imagination of the listener/reader are key to the sense of the story. Poe’s stories readily help feed a fertile imagination.

Looking for a bit of that evening thrill, read ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ by the light of a hurricane lamp. Or read “The Cask of Amontillado” in a damp cool cellar under candle light. Or how about “The Raven” in dim light during a wind/rain storm. Let your imaginations go, pick up some Poe and enjoy a shiver or two. Of course, you may need to read them alone…

7 thoughts on “Now there is a twisted mind I can admire.”

  1. Interesting title. A Twisted Mind (aside from your own) That You Can Admire? Is it true that Poe is credited with penning one of (if not the first) detective story? AH… older brothers… not so much my oldest brother but my second to oldest. We shared a bedroom in our youth… complete with bunk beds.

  2. I do believe that Poe’s character Dupin was the first ‘Private’ detective. I’m not sure if there was other mystery/detective fiction before “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”.

    Further research suggests that the word detective was not coined until after Poe wrote all of his Dupin stories. That would suggest he was among the first at the very least.

  3. Interesting… the only contact I’ve had with a Poe story was a Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror which was actually the only one I didn’t like much – just didn’t translate to comedy well, I guess, and that makes sense. The Cask of Amontillado sounds very familiar. Wonder if I read that in school? I still think you should do some sort of Poe presentation for the Weekenders!
    I remember the stories my sister read to me too. Thankfully, they were kids’ stories, not macabre nor horror – I was kind of a wimpy little kid. I still have the book of stories she read to me and I read them to my kids. I will have my kids read to their younger siblings – thanks for the reminder about how important this is!

  4. I once subbed in an 8th grade classroom where they were learning about Poe. Sad tale of his childhood. I have never actually read Poe myself though.

  5. Poe’s Eight Tales Of Terror, under the blankets with a flashlight. The whole thing in one night, without getting caught by the parents. Still creeps me out, even if I’m sitting in broad daylight.
    About the Poe for the Weekenders; I should have some time to get the Dickens costume done soon, it could double as a Poe suit. Should we start laying traps for the local ravens? Two seem to be nesting on the neighbors’ chimney…

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