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It was okay, again deliciously creepy descriptions. The Cask of Amontillado--This was not unique or original to me I am sure because so much has come after , but it did remind me of the creepy-ness of the Catacombs outside of Rome. Again, we live in a different time, but it is hard to believe that someone would kill another in such an agonizing way essentially buried alive just over an insult.

The Imp of the Perverse--I really don't like the philosophical rantings of Poe. Although, again the theme of guilty confession reminded me of Tell Tale Heart. The Island of the Fay--Dumb, dumb, dumb. This was on par with the story Sinbad's island adventures. So, yes, Poe can write nature descriptions; and a beautiful island might house fairies.

But, ultimately this wasn't a story as much as a setting for a story.

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The Assignation--I didn't get this one; ultimately I think the young man with the cape was death and he gave back the baby in exchange for the mother the next morning. However, it escapes me why the narrator had met him before and would refer to him as a friend. Again, the imagery was good, but the "ah ha! The Pit and the Pendulum--I have heard of this, but had not read it before.

I liked the suspense involved and the layers of understanding as we the reader and the protagonist realize the predicament. I was surprised at the idea of the collapsing metal box reminded me of the garbage compactor scene in Star Wars , especially given the time of Poe's writing again, he has some idea of future technologies , but then I was really annoyed both that it was supposed to have been set in the time of the Inquisition they would NOT have had the technology to move metal walls quickly back then AND with the last minute save.

It would have been a much better story if it had been set in the future for Poe and the protagonist was pushed into the pit at the end. The Premature Burial--This was again a more psychologically based horror than an actual horror. I liked the preface with all of the history of people who had been buried alive and, of course, in modern times this is much less likely but certainly imaginable that in the past the medical profession was not as good as they are now of determining death.

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I was not convinced of the likelihood of the protagonist's "coma disease". After all, seven months without IVs would result in death by dehydration just over a week would kill the coma person and so it was absurd, but again this shows the lack of medical knowledge for the time.

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I did like the conclusion though: "I dismissed forever my charnel apprehensions, and with them vanished the cataleptic disorder, of which, perhaps, they had been less the consequences than the cause. Clearly, though the theme of natural beauty is throughout his work. The idea of this one was rather far-fetched: richest person alive practically is obsessed with creating the most beautiful landscape and again there was not much plot or interest, it was just filled with natural description. Landor's Cottage--An addendum to Arnheim and another natural description this time, though of the cottage.

I was less than enamored and bored of the lack of plot. William Wilson--I liked this one.

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It felt like a fore-runner to Fight Club and certainly must be the first example of split personality in fiction. It was a bit unbelievable because of the way others address the other Wilson and also a bit too easy to figure out, but for its time must have been cutting edge. It has stuck with me all these years the eye Berenice--Quite entertaining. This might be my favorite in the book, with the exception of Tell Tale Heart. I liked the quick development and the odd obsession with her teeth. Of course the face that the narrator himself suffers from mental lapses and memory loss just adds a layer of confusion Eleonora--Once again the reader visits the valley of Arnheim to meet the lovely characters inside.


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I had mis-remembered this one. For some reason I thought Eleonora came back from the dead to kill the protagonist, but clearly she does not. It is the sole story with a "happy ending" in which the ghost gives up. I wasn't crazy about the story, but the twist was nice. A very mixed bag. This anthology contains many of Poe's most well-known and well-regarded horror stories.

Those were excellent, though not quite as good as I remembered them to be. But it also contains quite a few that are dull enough that they were a chore to read, and at least one that was so impenetrable that I read the same page a dozen times and still barely comprehended what Poe was trying to say.

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But I'm glad to have finally read "William Wilson", which I've been meaning to read for quit A very mixed bag. But I'm glad to have finally read "William Wilson", which I've been meaning to read for quite a while now. He's 'sui generis'. What I found out reading this book, and also the first volume of the series, is that my worship of Edgar Allan Poe has waned through the years.

I had first read almost all of his short stories as a young adult, and completely fell in love with them. Now, re-reading them, this time in English, I found that, while I still like them a lot, I don't feel such love for them. There are some stories which are worth all the effort and which are definitely 5 stars for me - I'm thinking of The Pit and the P What I found out reading this book, and also the first volume of the series, is that my worship of Edgar Allan Poe has waned through the years.

There are some stories which are worth all the effort and which are definitely 5 stars for me - I'm thinking of The Pit and the Pendulum , The Tell-Tale Heart , Berenice. However, some of the stories I found just plain boring, and that's where Poe starts philosophizing about everything.


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  • He certainly was a great thinker, but I simply find those stories not worth a second read. On the whole, this is a very good collection of mostly very good short stories, therefore the overall 4 stars. Oct 13, B. Shelves: gutenberg-downloads. But in between are more of those skipping tales of fancy, like The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherezade , wherein she is a smart-ass and it ends badly.

    And tucked in at the end are two pieces that I was wildly excited about, primarily Landor's Cottage which The Domain of Arnheim is but a set-up for : "One thing became more and more evident the longer I gazed: an artist, and one with a most scrupulous eye for form, had superintended all these arrangements.

    The greatest care had been taken to preserve a due medium between the neat and graceful on the one hand, and the picturesque, in the true sense of the Italian term, on the other. There were few straight, and no long uninterrupted lines. The same effect of curvature or of color appeared twice, usually, but not oftener, at any one point of view.

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    Everywhere was variety in uniformity. It was a piece of "composition," in which the most fastidiously critical taste could scarcely have suggested an emendation. Gothic Revival gardening—a vibrant rebuttal to the staid classic style's geometry and control of form—with influences in theatre dressing and nature at its wildest, here described so heart-rendingly and with perfect form.

    Why the crap do we only pay attention to the probable incest of Usher? In this second volume of short stories, the author takes us though a journey of first person narratives, sometimes he is the ear and at other times he is the voice and always the thoughts of each character as they relate the tale. I was not surprised at the macabre in his works, I was well familiar with them.

    What I was not expecting in a few was the romantic side of Poe which came out in several of the stories. As my journey continues in discovering Poe I find he was very well educated and broa In this second volume of short stories, the author takes us though a journey of first person narratives, sometimes he is the ear and at other times he is the voice and always the thoughts of each character as they relate the tale. As my journey continues in discovering Poe I find he was very well educated and broached all areas of the physical and spiritual aspects of the human nature and sciences.

    He has undoubtedly been versed in several languages as well as subject matter and it comes into his writing. The movie industry has taken advantage of Poe in using his stories as the basis for visual productions but one should not forget that being "based" on does not mean the movie will be identical to the original story. Very worthwhile and enjoyable read. I think I've now read Poe's most famous stories, which is interesting since I've got vol. A few of the stories were really similar to each other - for example The Tell-Tale Heart and the one earlier in the collection where the character does almost exactly the same thing at the end.

    I do like how he has this long lead up to what's going on because in the good stories, this adds to the suspense. In the ones I liked less though it was really tedious. Let's blame the baby for the I think I've now read Poe's most famous stories, which is interesting since I've got vol. Let's blame the baby for the fact that this was meant to be read in October, as my plan was to read a volume each year. Didn't expect it to take until December!

    I enjoyed this a lot more than Volume I. The tales were a little darker and more fantastic. Someone had made the comment here earlier that it was best to 'stick to the better-known pieces - everything else is mediocre' Forgive the inexact paraphrase. I found this to be partially true. There were some where I felt Poe was stretching and I felt no resonance or terror at all. There were other stories that I had not heard of I enjoyed this a lot more than Volume I. There were other stories that I had not heard of before Arnheim, William Wilson that I thought were quite well done.

    I definitely plan on continuing my voyage through the succeeding volumes. Probably should have read it at night. Also, only contained four short stories, only one really creepy. Can't really complain though, it was free. Despite saying that and with this rating, Edgar Allan Poe was a true master and an inspiration to the genre. But they could have brought better stories into this. Also felt the ones chosen were a bit repetit Probably should have read it at night. Also felt the ones chosen were a bit repetitive by the "culprit" going insane with guild and revealing everything anyway by some dumb move.

    View 1 comment. Jun 16, Mimi rated it it was amazing. A must-read. A whole new journey you're going to undergo. Jun 15, Whitney Watercutter rated it it was amazing. Thanks to my grandmother, who let me read these out loud for hours. This is where I began reading to people.