Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22264 – 781:
Here’s the haps:
A lot of long-time followers and some others will know that I love to read. I have a varied, sometimes eclectic taste in reading. The fact that I have just finished a book in the horror genre may surprise a few, as it is well known that I generally am not a big fan. I plan to talk about it soon. In the same breath, however, I have read some horror stories that I liked, including the “complete” works of Edgar Allan Poe (I put that in quotation marks because most books that say they are the complete works are not really because they don’t include the plethora of articles he wrote about writing, poetry, criticism, and etc. Or about the magazines he owned and edited, things like that.). The point is that I have read a couple of the classics of the genre, but I don’t usually get into them. One of the differences between Poe and other “horror” writers (To be fair to Poe he also wrote the first detective stories well before Sherlock Holmes, adventure stories, science fiction, and even humor.) is that Poe seems to use the human mind itself more than spirits or denizens of the netherworld. The human mind is by far the scariest thing of all.
Some of you may follow my son’s blog, Brother’s Campfire, where he tells an ongoing tale and talks about his urban farming adventures and other things in his life. He is an employee at one of the prisons where some of the most evil people in the world live. He seldom talks about specifics of what the mind is capable of because he’s met them. A while back he posted this meme:
And I think it sums it all up pretty neatly.
I think Poe realized that the mind is the evilest thing of all. When you read some of his stories, like The Cask of the Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, or The Black Cat, you can see how warped the human mind can become. If those high school standards are the only ones you’ve read then you really do not know all of the man’s capabilities but they still show the power of the human mind. I don’t mean to say that all of his works are explainable that way. One story of his that particularly stands out in my mind in the pandemic times is The Masque of the Red Death about Prince Prospero locking himself and a thousand nobles away to live sumptuously and party while a vile disease ravaged the land and they would be safe inside.
So, Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe, January 19, 1809 – 1849.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve read any Poe, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head in describing his writing. The human mind is terrifying.
Trying to think of a theme song?
Agreed. The human mind IS terrifying.
I’ve read The Tell-Tale Heart… It’s amazing. You’ve summed up Poe’s works perfectly.
Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe.
Awesome post, Herb!
Thank you. Yes, the Tell-Tale Heart is a great example of his use of the human psyche.
Interesting post, and yes I love Poe and especially The Mask… It is interesting how horror has changed. Poe sees the mind as the scariest, In it’s original form Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The creation is a sympathetic character and the mobs are the monster. Now we need some horrible blood seeking creature which frankly isn’t as scary.
The Time For Laughter Has Arrived
The book by Mary Shelly was great and very different from what most movies and people seem to think it’s about.
Well, there’s always politics. Poli means many and Tics are bloodsucking creatures…
You got that right
I love Poe! I have this beautiful book of his collected works and I swear it feels eerie sitting on the book shelf, as if his twisted stories had an energy of their own. 😅
I don’t know how I missed your comment, sorry. Yes, they kind of do have their own “energy.”
Poe was one of the writers who solidified American literature as a functioning reality, and helped capture his era in a sort of mythological fashion as well. Always worth celebrating.
Thanks. Yes, there is a lot to him, for sure.
This was so interesting! I haven’t read the “Masque” in decades. I should read it again as it certainly will have more meaning.
Yeah. Your students might find meaning in it as well. I don’t know if that’s how it works or not, but yes, when the first quarantining happened I had to re-read it.
I can’t believe I missed his birthday, although it might be more accurate to remember him on his deathday considering his writings.
I think of The Masque of the Red Death all the time during this pandemic!
I think you have a point. Hmmm…
Great post, Herb! I remember reading Edgar Allen Poe in High School English, particularly the “The Tell-Tale Heart” and boy did it give me goosebumps (LOL). Poe is talented in scare literature.
And I didn’t know Ben from Brother’s Campfire was your son. You both are talented bloggers and I’m honored to know both of you.
Thanks! The Tell-Tale Heart is an excellent example of the human mind at work. Goosebumps, eh?
Yeah, I do the “mechanical” side of his blog but everything else he does.
Absolutely. And yes, goosebumps. Reading it put me in the shoes of the killer and I could feel how terrified he was hearing the heart beat under the floor and of being found out by the police. LOL I could just see him stuttering and sweating bullets! 🙂
Well done. Poe, as seen by many as the inventor of the crime story, is very well presented. Thank you!
All the best. Keep well
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thanks for stopping by and commenting!