After presenting you a list with book suggestions for this Halloween, we decided to offer a full article to the one who was the father of morbid and horror stories: Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
Why Edgar Allan Poe?
His name is always associated, nowadays, with unusual stories that include murders, burials, and women who return from the dead. However, during his life, he was a very versatile writer. His works include short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory and a very big number of book reviews.
His gloom writing style was a reflection of his life. Death robbed him of all the persons that he loved. His mother died when he was 3 years old and his wife after 12 years of happy but poor marriage. Both lost the fight against of Tuberculosis. After the loss of his wife, he started to drink heavily and died 2 years after her. The exact cause of his death remains a mystery, but he spent his last days in the Washington College Hospital.
Here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there, and nothing more.
After his death, his rival Rufus Griswold tried to dishonor his name and wrote an obituary in which he described Edgar Allan Poe as a drunken crazy person, with no morals or friends. However, even back then, bad publicity was still publicity and due to this, the sales of Poe’s books rose so high as they never were during his life.
Short presentation of this Badger’s favorite Edgar Allan Poe’s stories
“The Raven” is the most known work ever written by Edgar Allan Poe. This poem is narrated by an unnamed person, who suffers because of the death of his love, Lenore. As he is about to fall asleep, he hears a knock at his door, but when he opens it, there is nobody there. When the knock repeats itself, but this time at the window, the narrator is surprised by the visit of a raven. He tries to talk to the unusual visitor and to his surprise, the bird responds, but all it says it’s “Nevermore”.
Poe manages to create a very dark and cold atmosphere with this poem. He even repeats himself by telling the events are happening in a cold December evening. “The Raven” is a short but intense lecture that will make you actually feel the pain and madness of the person telling it.
The Fall of the House of Usher
Just as in most of his stories, the narrator from “The Fall of the House of Usher” is unknown. Poe starts from the beginning with a description of a “dull, dark and soundless day“. The character telling the story is visiting his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, after receiving a letter in which the latter is complaining of feeling emotionally and physically sick. His house is presented to be surrounded by an evil atmosphere. The narrator finds the inside of the house just as gloomy as its surroundings and says that Roderick seems to be afraid of his own estate.
Soon after, the host’s twin sister Madeline dies, and Roderick starts to feel even more tormented and afraid. I will stop here with the presentation of the story because I don’t want to ruin the ending. I will say only this: it is exactly how a horror story should be.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
From my point of view “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is the best thing I’ve read from Edgar Allan Poe. I won’t say much about its plot, but I will remind our readers how this story influenced all the detective stories that followed. The tale has as the main character a man named C. Auguste Dupin, who manages to solve the very mysterious murders of Madame L’Espanaye and of her daughter Mademoiselle Camille. Dupin is an intelligent man with a very big creativity and imagination, who manage to put himself in the shoes of the killer. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is considered the first detective fiction story, but Poe reuses this character in two other of his works: “Mystery of Marie Roget” and “The Purloined Letter“.
I can’t think of better words to finish this article other than a quote from Mr. Arthur Conan Doyle: “Each [of Poe’s detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed…Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?”