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#90232 - 11/02/10 10:01 PM Re: October 2010 Selection: Poe Stories [Re: essay]

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 457
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area

I have no doubt that much of the reason for Poe's success with "tales of mystery and horror" (as my Complete Stories and Poems calls them) is his grasp of psychology. How he would have described his protagonists is an interesting question; I suppose he'd simply say they are mad. Certainly so in the case of "The Tell-Tale Heart," though I wonder how, or if, he'd qualify that. To contemporary eyes, the narrator shows hallmarks of schizophrenia, including aural hallucinations ("I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell." And, of course, the beating of the heart), the conviction that he is not mad despite knowing others would call him so, and the decision to kill the old man, whom he professes to love, because of his eye that "resembles that of a vulture" (but from the description sounds like cataracts).

LSUG, not quite an audiobook, but if you can lay hands on a copy, the CD Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is fun - music and readings by actors and alternative-music types. I don't have a copy myself, but I bought it for a friend as a gift some years ago, and listened to a little bit of it with him (I recall "The Raven" read by Christopher Walken as appropriately eerie).

#90281 - 11/16/10 05:11 PM Re: October 2010 Selection: Poe Stories [Re: CaitlinM2]
Ching Shih

Registered: 08/18/01
Posts: 1738

For those of you who read The Tell-Tale Heart--and really, if you haven't, it's so short that you could do it right, I thought you might be interested in this article I found in the Smithsonian about a real life crime in Salem that seemed to have been at least one inspiration for the story. I was looking at it in the laundromat, so didn't really do more than glance through it, but I think I'll get back to it.

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