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Halloween Countdown, Day 7

On this day in 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died at the age of forty under mysterious circumstances.

For more information, read "Mysterious for Evermore" by Matthew Pearl, an article on Poe's death from The Telegraph. Pearl is the author of a fascinating novel about the subject, The Poe Shadow.

My Friend Edgar!

Four years ago, on the occasion of Poe's 200th birthday, I took over the StarShipSofa Audio Science Fiction Magazine to host an hour-long tribute to this pioneer of the short story, luminary of Gothic horror, father of detective fiction, and giant of science fiction. You can listen to the podcast here at the StarShipSofa website, or download it here, or access it via iTunes. If you listen, I hope you enjoy my celebration of Poe's life, works, and legacy!

The following are some of my favorite links about Edgar Allan Poe:
* PoeStories.com: An Exploration of Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
* The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore
* The Poe Museum of Richmond (See my pictures of the museum here.)

In 2011, I visited his final resting place in Baltimore and took these photos.


Here, free for adoption, is my narration of Poe's "Mellonta Tauta." If you listen, I hope you enjoy!

Here is an excerpt that alternates between the darkly comic and the truly chilling:

"We lay to a few minutes to ask the cutter some questions, and learned, among other glorious news, that civil war is raging in Africa, while the plague is doing its good work beautifully both in Yurope and Ayesher. Is it not truly remarkable that, before the magnificent light shed upon philosophy by Humanity, the world was accustomed to regard War and Pestilence as calamities? Do you know that prayers were actually offered up in the ancient temples to the end that these evils (!) might not be visited upon mankind? Is it not really difficult to comprehend upon what principle of interest our forefathers acted? Were they so blind as not to perceive that the destruction of a myriad of individuals is only so much positive advantage to the mass!"
- "Mellonta Tauta," Edgar Allan Poe

Read the Complete Short Story: Here.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
when I was in elementary school we lived in Maryland and on a school field trip were doing grave rubbings, I was doing his and a large black bird landed on the top of the stone and a picture was taken. Mom has it somewhere in the photo albums in her basement and has promised to find it for me

What a treasure to have! I'm so glad she kept the photo.

This is such a fantastic story. No wonder you became smitten! It's as if the universe was pointing at his name and saying to you, "Read this author now!"
Oct. 7th, 2013 05:44 pm (UTC)
I am definitely taking your narration to listen to for the evening feed run. :)
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! It's a lesser-read but darkly effective story, I think. I'm not sure how well it works for audio, since some of his deliberate misspellings may have to be seen to have full meaning, but I hope the dystopian humor comes through anyway.

Edited at 2013-10-09 12:20 pm (UTC)
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
IT WAS FABULOUS! Both the story and your reading. OMG your voice I want to hug it and love it and call it George. ♥
Oct. 9th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC)
OMG your voice I want to hug it and love it and call it George. ♥

*flails* Best. Feedback. Ever. :D You've absolutely made my day. Thank you!
Oct. 7th, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite writers.
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:17 pm (UTC)
Mine too! <3
Oct. 8th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
I *adore* Poe. Thank you! <3
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:17 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! :D
Oct. 8th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Darn it, I can't find that article Mysterious for Evermore....
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
Oops! I'm so sorry. Here's the updated link: "Mysterious for Evermore" by Matthew Pearl.
Oct. 8th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
It's depressing to imagine all the stories that went unwritten because of Poe's early death. Long before there was King and horror was reallylooked down on, there was Poe. I cut my horror teeth on his work.
Oct. 9th, 2013 12:25 pm (UTC)
It's depressing to imagine all the stories that went unwritten because of Poe's early death.

Yes!!! This!!!

If I had a time machine, I'd want to go and save him - and H.P. Lovecraft, and, good heavens, Emily Brontë. The "what ifs" break my heart. Poe's story is particularly haunting, since his life both personally and creatively seemed to be on the upswing after so much tragedy... Augh.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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