In 11th grade I had a teacher who did a lot for my love of literature and my confidence that I wanted to continue studying it. Among the countless other things he did for me, he showed me that people can have a favorite author. That might seem like a common thing, but from my isolated small town this was a big discovery. This teacher’s favorite author happened to be Edgar Allan Poe.
We spent 2 months on his work in a class that had up until then been broken into genres. My teacher’s license plate was a variation of NEVERMORE and he had an Edgar Allan Poe action figure hung up on the bulletin board at the front of the class. He loved Poe, and through that taught me it was okay to obsess over someone who died hundreds of years ago and did nothing else in their life by write.
Well, thanks to R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X I finally got around to reading those short stories and poems from Poe that I didn’t read in 11th grade.
I am reading from the “Major Tales and Poems” Borders publication (which tells you how long I’ve had this book). What this edition does REALLY well is the order it’s presented the short stories. They flow from one to the other naturally, and tend to share a theme with the one before it. However, the one annoyance I have with it is that Poe tends to quote in French, Italian, or sometimes Latin, yet this edition has not provided a single translation.
Since I’m taking a break before tackling the poems I’ll tell you my top ten favorite short stories from those that I had not previously read (in no particular order);
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Premature Burial
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Mystery of Marie Roget
The Purloined Letter
The Oblong Box
The Oval Portrait
The five that I had previously read are;
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Black Cat *
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Cask of Amontillado
The Masque of the Red Death
*Yes, it has the word cat in the title. IF YOU LIKE CATS DO NOT READ THIS SHORT STORY!!!
The three bolded titles above are of Poe’s detective “C Auguste Dupin”. The first “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is often considered the first fictional detective story. I highly recommend it. I loved it. The second “The Mystery of Marie Roget” is actually based on a real life murder of Mary Roger. The third is very good as well (although I have no fun fact about it).
This weekend I also decided to have a small movie marathon in the tone of RIPX. It was also, not surprisingly, a Johnny Depp marathon. It could have been a Tim Burton marathon, but I got away with 1 of the 3 not being directed by him.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
From Hell (2001)
Sweeney Todd (2007)
I’ve seen all of these before and own the last two so this was more for my lazy Saturday viewing. After reading Edgar Allan Poe for an entire 2 weeks you get pulled into a mood.
I’ve always liked the changes Burton made to the tale of Sleepy Hollow. It didn’t feel as jarring as a lot of differing interpretations can be. I understand Burton’s decision to not stick Depp in a bunch of prosthetics to make his Ichabod canonically “ugly” but to let it show through in his actions and choices. I also kinda love the fact that Christopher Walken, an actor known for his voice never speaks. And I do agree with the crew about the set; it looks like what walking through Burton’s mind must look like.
Sweeney Todd was the first rated R movie I was allowed to see in the theater (with my mom). I was SO excited for this movie and I still love it (even if Anthony Stewart Head’s role got practically cut). It’s really one of those adaptations where you just look at it and go “My god they got the perfect director and the perfect actors and literally what the hell could you change about this.”
From Hell holds a special creepy spot in my heart. I don’t know why I like the story of Jack the Ripper so much, but I do. When we went on the Whitechapel tour on my studyabroad I freaked the professor out by how much I knew about Jack the Ripper. I actually wasn’t aware that the movie was based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell until I took a true crime class in which we read it.
On a side note I absolutely love this graphic novel. I don’t 100% agree with the theory it poses (even though it’s really thought out and frickin cool), but it’s wonderfully written and the art is beautiful. And I’m not just saying that because I heard Eddie Campell speak on campus and had him sign the paper I wrote on From Hell and then he drew a wittle Jack the Ripper on it