Read The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume 1 by Edgar Allan Poe Free Online
Book Title: The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume 1|
The author of the book: Edgar Allan Poe
Date of issue: November 15th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780554003627
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 916 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.3
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Comments on these Volumes overall:
I haven't figured out how the editor is organizing Poe's works among the 5 volumes in this series. It seems clear that Poe was prodigious enough to require 5 volumes, but wouldn't they be better presented in chronological order? As it is, it is possible they are grouped by theme, with this volume being the scientifically based stories, but I will have to review the contents of the succeeding volumes to determine the truth of this, and whether it is an effective method of ordering. And at the least, why aren't the stories in this volume presented chronologically?
Review of this Volume:
I am rating Volume One 3 stars. I can see why there are so many "best of" Poe books, as not all of his pieces are classics, and the deviations interrupt the mood a bit. There are a few 4 star works here, but they are offset by the 2 star content. As many of these stories are scientifically based, this Volume suffers a bit from obsolescence: we no longer can suspend our belief that a balloon ride to the moon is possible, and the idea of a balloon with passengers crossing the Atlantic is no longer a cause for (much) awe. I still enjoyed reading it, if purely to discover that Poe was also a science fiction writer!
I have written detailed reviews of each part of this Volume, which will also appear as reviews on the individual story pages here at Goodreads.
This Volume contains the following prefaces:
Appreciation - 3 stars
A passable quick biography, but mainly makes me more interested in the fine details. Also not as well written as a Poe story!
Edgar Allen Poe - 2 stars
There are one or two interesting points here, but they could have been relayed in two sentences. This author just likes hearing themselves talk, and make allegories.
Death of Edgar A. Poe - 4 stars
A beautiful and earnest rebuttal to criticisms of Poe's character upon the time of his death.
This Volume contains the following stories:
The Unparalleled Adventures of One Hans Pfaal/Notes to Hans Pfaal - 3 stars
Original Publication June, 1835
An amazing experience to read this because I had no idea Poe wrote science fiction, or hoaxes, or social commentary. As a story, though, it dragged a bit in details, and the notes were even more tedious.
The Gold Bug - 3 stars
Original Publication June, 1843
Again, I had no idea Poe wrote stories like this, it reminded me of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. An interesting combination of analysis, ratiocination, and adventure. One star taken off because of the mocking portrayal of the African American servant.
Four Beasts in One: The Homo-Cameleopard - 4 stars
Original Publication March, 1836
He does such an amazing job instilling a sense of wonder on these scenes, arrgh, I was so upset when it was over! I wanted to find out what happens at the Hippodrome!
The Murders in the Rue Morgue - 4 stars
Original Publication April, 1841
Translation of final sentence: I can't believe he ended the tale with an untranslated French quote! Perhaps his readers were more familiar with French and with La Nouvelle Heloise than I am. I used BableFish.com to get the English for those who are curious: "to deny what is and explain only what is not"
The analysis vs ingenuity preface was way too wordy. The main story was captivating, though - I am always enthralled by the analysis of these Sherlock-type detectives. (Or should I now say Dupin-type, since I see now that he predated Holmes by 45 years!) It seems like a simple solution, but then I realize I never would have thought of it, it only seems simple in hindsight! Those are the best mysteries.
The Mystery of Marie Roget - 2 stars
Original Publication November 1842 - February, 1843
Okay, I don't really know how to rate this. It was a completely different experience from Murders in the Rue Morgue because Dupin basically decided to not let the narrator speak and just talk endlessly about his deductions without even pausing for a trip to the loo. It was almost unreadable. And then when it gets to the very end, suddenly the editors decided not to leave the part in where he solves it, "for reasons which we shall not specify". WTF??
They did leave in his epilogue, but as a final affront it is founded on a gross misstatement about the facts of probability. He had to explain how it is possible that Dupin is solving a case unbelievably similar to an actual case in New York, even though it's all a ruse in order for Poe to try to solve the actual case with this hoax publication. But he didn't need to blaspheme mathematics to do it!
The fact that Poe/Dupin's analysis turned out to be correct on a number of points, according to later confessions by witnesses in New York, has got to be worth at least one extra star, but really, if you are calling this a short story then it should really be written as a short story and not just a letter to the editor with quotes around it and preceded by "Dupin said".
The Balloon Hoax - 3 stars
Original Publication April, 1844
This is actually a very well done fictional account of a balloon expedition across the Atlantic Ocean. It suffers as a story only because of its success as a hoax - it is so realistic and scientifically detailed that it becomes somewhat boring, any excitement is based on the notion that this might have actually happened, in a time when such a feat had not yet been accomplished. It's interesting, though, to think of Poe creating such a fuss in his day over this "news".
Ms. Found In A Bottle - 3 stars
Original Publication October, 1833
This has quite a bit of horror imagery in it, but ultimately I was not invested in the character and the purpose of the other boat was unclear - is it a harbinger of doom, an apparition, or simply the demonstration of a worse scenario? I think the ending would be more effective in the time it was written, as it preys on the fear of the unknown; in our current day and age, however, we know all about what's at the Earth's poles, so it diluted the horror with a sense of the outlandish.
The Oval Portrait - 3 stars
Original Publication April, 1842
This should have been 4 stars, but I had problems with the execution. He really packs in the atmosphere in very few words here, but that is the thing, it ends so abruptly I couldn't help feeling there were a few too few words. It would have been better if he had connected back to the original room and conveyed how the image would continue to haunt him or something. Or even if he had written the painter's story as the whole piece, instead of leaving it as a footnote in a book.
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Read information about the authorThe name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.
Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.
The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.
For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_al...
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