Tales of Edgar Allan Poe – Final Thoughts


“’If it is any point requiring reflection,’ observed Dupin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick, ‘we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark.’”
~The Purloined Letter

For the first time, I get to cross a book off my list. Well, a book I hadn’t read in 10th grade, that is. It’s an extremely satisfying feeling.

First, quick notes on the last two stories (spoilers). The Murders in the Rue Morgue taught me an important lesson: never leave your window open in the middle of the night, because you never know when a crazed orangutan is going to swing in on your shutter and decapitate you with a razor. I mean, really, who doesn’t know someone this has happened to? Yeah, it was a little out there – perhaps a little too out there. But clever nonetheless, I suppose. I just hope I’m never that unlucky.

As for The Purloined Letter, that was awfully smart – I’m just going to stop there. Go read it right now. Seriously.

So, I guess I’ve decided that for every book I read, I’m going to decide if I think it belongs on this list of 100 great books; if so, why; if not, why not. All that horrible high-school-English stuff.

I give EA Poe the thumbs-up. While I wasn’t a fan of all of his stories, many of them were perfectly eerie, suspenseful, or just plain morbid. And we all know that dark stuff makes for great literature. While occasionally dry or too drawn-out, they were in large part genuinely entertaining, even 150 years later, which speaks to their staying power, generally hailed as a hallmark of a ‘classic’.

And then there are the Tales of Ratiocination, which are regarded as the origination of the genre of detective stories. I mean, inventing a whole subset of fiction probably earns one’s work a place on the list of the Greatest Books of All Time, at least in my opinion.

All in all, I would recommend them without reservation. They’re creepy without being really scary. I mean, I’m a wimp, and I didn’t lose any sleep. So go. Read. Then come back and share your opinion!

For the full text of The Purloined Letter (and here you thought I was kidding) see:

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