Selected Tales, Paperback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Since their first publication in the 1830s and 1840s, Edgar Allan Poe's extraordinary Gothic tales have established themselves as classics of horror fiction and have also created many of the conventions which still dominate the genre of detective fiction.

Yet, as well as being highly enjoyable, Poe's tales are works of very real intellectual exploration. Abandoning the criteria of characterization and plotting in favour of blurred boundaries between self and other, will and morality, identity and memory, Poe uses the Gothic to question the integrity of human existence.

Indeed, Poe is less interested in solving puzzles or in moral retribution than in exposing the misconceptions that make things seem 'mysterious' in the first place. Attentive to the historical and political dimensions of these very American tales, this new critical edition selects twenty-four tales and places the most popular - 'The Fall of the House of Usher', 'The Masque of the Red Death', 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue; and 'The Purloined Letter' - alongside less well-known travel narratives, metaphysical essays and political satires. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780199535774



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Edgar Allen Poe spent the first three years of his life watching his mother die eight times a week. Perhaps this can account for the persistent macabre of his writing. His mother was an actress, he was an only child. His father had abandoned them - and by the time he was three years old his mother died for real. She died of consumption - a rather common ailment in Poe's life. In fact it seemed most women he became close to tended to die of it. For example - his adopted mother died of consumption and his wife died of consumption. The only other principle womanly/motherly figure in his life did not die of consumption, but of a brain tumor - only shortly after he had become close to her. His life had a profound effect on him. Each story you read seems somehow a bit more morbid and horrifying then the last. I cannot profess a love for Edgar Allen Poe stories, but I do admit fascination. Personally I look to books as a refuge from a life full of suffering. Thus, in my opinion - his stories of horror and fascination with going insane do not provide the most pleasant of sanctums. However if you enjoy the thrill of entering the mind of a man going mad, and find the pleasure in escaping his troubled world worth the pain of experiencing it - then I would highly recommend you try him out. Wether you hate poe or love him everyone must admit that he was good at what he did. Master of imagery and genius of controlling your emotion - he not only commanded the short story, he wrote beautiful poetry, invented the "horror" genre, invented the detective story. And his character Auguste Dupin no doubt heavily influence Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create the most memorable character of modern literature: Sherlock Holmes - but that my friends is another topic. Edgar Allen Poe is the master of what he did, all should try Him, though not all will like him. You must at least respect his genius and feel a mite of pity.

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