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Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

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Written by Edgar Allan PoeAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Edgar Allan Poe

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On Sale: February 16, 2011
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-0-307-78140-6
Published by : Vintage Knopf
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

A new selection for the NEA’s Big Read program

A compact selection of Poe’s greatest stories and poems, chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts for their Big Read program.

This selection of eleven stories and seven poems contains such famously chilling masterpieces of the storyteller’s art as “The Tell-tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and such unforgettable poems as “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and “Annabel Lee.” Poe is widely credited with pioneering the detective story, represented here by “The Purloined Letter,” “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Also included is his essay “The Philosophy of Composition,” in which he lays out his theory of how good writers write, describing how he constructed “The Raven” as an example.

Excerpt

The Bells

1

Hear the sledges with the bells -

Silver bells!

What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

In the icy air of night!

While the stars that oversprinkle

All the Heavens, seem to twinkle

With a crystalline delight;

Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the tintinabulation that so musically wells

From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells -

From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

2

Hear the mellow wedding bells -

Golden bells!

What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!

Through the balmy air of night

How they ring out their delight! -

From the molten-golden notes

And all in tune,

What a liquid ditty floats

To the turtle-dove that listens while she gloats

On the moon!

Oh, from out the sounding cells

What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!

How it swells!

How it dwells

On the Future! - how it tells

Of the rapture that impels

To the swinging and the ringing

Of the bells, bells, bells! -

Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells -

To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

3

Hear the loud alarum bells -

Brazen bells!

What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

In the startled ear of Night

How they scream out their affright!

Too much horrified to speak,

They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tune,

In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire -

In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

Leaping higher, higher, higher,

With a desperate desire

And a resolute endeavor

Now - now to sit, or never,

By the side of the pale-faced moon.

Oh, the bells, bells, bells!

What a tale their terror tells

Of despair!

How they clang and clash and roar!

What a horror they outpour

In the bosom of the palpitating air!

Yet the ear, it fully knows,

By the twanging

And the clanging,

How the danger ebbs and flows: -

Yes, the ear distinctly tells,

In the jangling

And the wrangling,

How the danger sinks and swells,

By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells -

Of the bells -

Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells -

In the clamor and the clangor of the bells.

4

Hear the tolling of the bells -

Iron bells!

What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!

In the silence of the night

How we shiver with affright

At the melancholy meaning of the tone!

For every sound that floats

From the rust within their throats

Is a groan.

And the people - ah, the people

They that dwell up in the steeple

All alone,

And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,

In that muffled monotone,

Feel a glory in so rolling

On the human heart a stone -

They are neither man nor woman -

They are neither brute nor human,

They are Ghouls: -

And their king it is who tolls: -

And he rolls, rolls, rolls, rolls

A Paean from the bells!

And his merry bosom swells

With the Paean of the bells!

And he dances and he yells;

Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the Paean of the bells -

Of the bells: -

Keeping time, time, time,

In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the throbbing of the bells: -

Of the bells, bells, bells -

To the sobbing of the bells: -

Keeping time, time, time,

As he knells, knells, knells,

In a happy Runic rhyme,

To the rolling of the bells -

Of the bells, bells, bells: -

To the tolling of the bells -

Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells -

To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.




The City in the Sea


Lo! Death has reared himself a throne

In a strange city lying alone

Far down within the dim West,

Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best

Have gone to their eternal rest.

There shrines and palaces and towers

(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)

Resemble nothing that is ours.

Around, by lifting winds forgot,

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.



No rays from the holy heaven come down

On the long night-time of that town;

But light from out the lurid sea

Streams up the turrets silently -

Gleams up the pinnacles far and free -

Up domes - up spires - up kingly halls -

Up fanes - up Babylon-like walls -

Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers

Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers -

Up many and many a marvellous shrine

Whose wreathed friezes intertwine

The viol, the violet, and the vine.



Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.

So blend the turrets and shadows there

That all seem pendulous in air,

While from a proud tower in the town

Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves

Yawn level with the luminous waves;

But not the riches there that lie

In each idol's diamond eye -

Not the gaily-jewelled dead

Tempt the waters from their bed;

For no ripples curl, alas!

Along that wilderness of glass -

No swellings tell that winds may be

Upon some far-off happier sea -

No heavings hint that winds have been

On seas less hideously serene.



But lo, a stir is in the air!

The wave - there is a movement there!

As if the towers had thrust aside,

In slightly sinking, the dull tide -

As if their tops had feebly given

A void within the filmy Heaven.

The waves have now a redder glow -

The hours are breathing faint and low -

And when, amid no earthly moans,

Down, down that town shall settle hence.

Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,

Shall do it reverence.




Annabel Lee


It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee; -

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.



She was a child and I was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love -

I and my Annabel Lee -

With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.



And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud by night

Chilling my Annabel Lee;

So that her high-born kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.



The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me;

Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling

And killing my Annabel Lee.



But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we -

Of many far wiser than we -

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: -



For the moon never beams without bringing me

dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride

In her sepulchre there by the sea -

In her tomb by the side of the sea.

Table of Contents

POEMS
The Bells
The City in the Sea
Annabel Lee
Ulalume—A Ballad
To Helen (I)
To Helen (II)
Sonnet—To Science
The Raven
 

TALES
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Purloined Letter
Ligeia
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Masque of the Red Death
The Black Cat
The Cask of Amontillado
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
William Wilson
The Mystery of Marie Rogêt
 
ESSAY
The Philosophy of Composition
Edgar Allan Poe

About Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe - Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, the son of traveling actors. He published his first book of poems Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, followed by Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (which included "The Fall of the House of Usher") in 1839, but he did not achieve appreciable recognition until the publication of "The Raven" in 1845. He died in 1849.

  • Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
  • September 01, 2009
  • Fiction - Literary
  • Vintage
  • $12.00
  • 9780307474773

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