About the horror fictions by Edgar Allan Poe

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Who could tell me a list of the short stories by Edgar Allan Poe in which the horror appears?

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2004


Here for you some hints to compose such a list yourself.

You surely know that Poe had no sympathy for the "gothic", the "supernatural", and that all that he wrote in the "genre" was just for effect, and for sale. Take his Preface to his "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque" (available on line at the wonderful website www.eapoe.org) where he clearly stated that "...terror is not of Germany, but of the soul...". He often used this aesthetical device as a good trick, and you can find it well exposed in his "How to write a Blackwood Article" and its sequel "A Predicament".

Note the capital distinction between Terror and Horror, the effect and its possible cause(s), as perfectly expressed in "The Pit and the Pendulum": "...It was not that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be NOTHING to see...". Poe found aesthetical quality in Terror, like the Romantics (Terror towards Sublime), but Horror partakes the qualities of rather the later Realist/naturalist "school". Poe (a precursor) was marvellously able to join them both. Note too that the Horrible is either seriously treated just for effect (as in "Pym", or "Valdemar", &c), or just for funnily burlesquing (as in "King Pest", "Never Bet the Devil your Head", &c), while Terror, for effect too, is always finely observed and almost clinically described (Poe decidedly was a bright and clever analyst of human soul), though sometimes again just for burlesquing (as in "The Sphinx", "The Premature Burial", &c...).

And if you take Poe's tales in chronological order, (go again at www.eapoe.org, among "Works"), you can observe a major change in the various causes of Terror, beginning with supernatural phenomena (cfr., for example, romantic-gothic-sublime-terrific "MS found in a Bottle", or "Metzengerstein", &c, and often with parodic intention!) swapped later for natural ones (cfr., for example, "A Descent into the Maelstrom", with much more realistic intention and manner).

With these few remarks, I hope you will be able to establish the list you need.

Yours sincerely,

Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2004

Moderation questions? read the FAQ