Monday, January 19, 2009

Raising a Glass to Mr Poe

It's Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday today. And while I twittered a link to this (, it occurs to me that I should have blogged it too. It's an essay I wrote as an introduction for a collected volume of Poe stories (now on deep discount at Barnes and Noble):

I met Poe first in an anthology with a title like "Fifty Stories for Boys." I was eleven, and the story was "Hop-Frog," that remarkable tale of terrible revenge, which sat incongruously beside the tales of boys having adventures of desert islands or discovering secret plans hidden inside hollowed-out vegetables. As the king and his seven courtiers, tarred and chained, were hauled upwards, as the jester they had called Hop-Frog clambered up the chain, holding his burning torch, I found myself astonished and elated by the appropriateness of his monstrous revenge. I do not believe there were any other murders in "Fifty Stories for Boys" and certainly none with such a colourful and satisfactory cast, nor such terrible and appropriate cruelty.

You can read the rest at:

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