what is the summary of the book "the premature burial" by edgar allen poe

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I need to have a summary of edgar allen poe's book the premature burial

-- Anonymous, November 11, 2001


This is not a concentional short like the bizarre more famous tales to which we are accustomed. You can read it for yourself at www.eapoe.org or some anthology. It is one of those hoaxing stories I suppose though the process is a slow gradation that does include an important summary of Poe's own feelings and thoughts on several key subjects.

The first section, maintaining the good taste to be reporting actual historical incident draws us into the horror of premature burial in four brief anecdotes. Two women, one of whom is rescued are discovered to be buried alive. Then two men, one subsequently killed by galvanic battery shock applied as stimulus and one rescued by the same instrument. The difference is that the inner experience of the two men is explored, the horror probed and made more descriptive.

The second part slides into the narrator reporting his own experience and here we completely forget that it could be fiction, so that the public used to Poe can once more receive that extra bit of horror in being slightly tricked again. The narrator details in excruciating detail dream trances, fears and especially strategems to avoid premature burial. At the end the horror happens to him but is revealed as a dream and the scared and shamed narrator burns up the books and matter of his obsession thus curing himself of might have been a psychosomatic "catalepsy" all along.

So at the end reason return full circle from the opening attitude of truth over the self-induced fears of imagination. In between the borders of life and death of course Poe has worked his mischievous magic once more. Being a later story, of course the intelligent artist Poe has become more circumspect, creative and self-analytical about his pulp offerings. And defensive too so as too correctly explain and cast gentle fun on his dark musings, which after all are nothing compared to the reality of an archived disease like catalepsy.

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2001

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