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The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe - Book Review

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by Samples (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne, residing in the South-Eastern suburbs.
Published January 14th 2013
Where to begin with this spontaneous collection of literature.

Perhaps, for those who are not acquainted with Edgar Allan Poe, some insight into the author should be fairly relevant regarding the intuitive nature of his writing.

Poe himself faced notable hardship throughout not only his career as a journalist and writer, but his controversially brutal upbringing. His mother, who he cherished to an extraordinary extent, passed away tragically from tuberculosis - the same illness would later plague his young wife, who at the point of marriage, was only 13 years of age. Keep in mind she was Poe's direct cousin. One might form a distinct correlation between Poe's tragic life, and his immensely deep, dark and Gothic form of expression.

Onto the collection of short stories. Though highly inspired by the Gothic form of writing - profound in the 19th century, Poe did not express himself in a sole dark perspective through every single story. This is fairly evident in a few of his stories- for example 'A descent into the Maelstrom', or 'The Gold-Bug'.

The Treasure Revealed, woodcut engraving, based on the illustration by F. O. C. Darley - The Gold Bug


These stories in particular focus on providing the reader with flourishing imagery, tension, and intrigue. For those readers who enjoy working through a mystery with the protagonist, many of Poe's short stories will satisfy such a hunger. Those who enjoy reading through intricate details of an environment, or of ones mental state, may enjoy a few of Poe's rather dark tales.

Perhaps most infamous of Poe's short stories- 'The Fall of the House of Usher', carries immense detail regarding a plagued environment, highly melancholic in nature. A clear link towards a depressed state of mind and the tale itself is more than evident when considering the life of Poe. Though this fact does not downgrade such a tale in any way whatsoever, it is expertly crafted, immensely detailed and leaves the reader puzzled and somewhat fulfilled.

An illustration of the House of Usher


Though it is only fair to note a few negative features of the writing, which may not appeal to certain readers. Poe's style of writing is very grammatical, many words may leave you questioning the meaning of a particular sentence or paragraph. In contrast to this, the writing is incredibly dense which may dishearten certain readers who prefer something lighter.

Overall however, on a personal level, I enjoyed the collection greatly and most certainly recommend it. The collection may be purchased from most book retailers under the title: 'The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe'.
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Why? Insightful reading, great detail.
Cost: Approximately $10-20
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