Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lunchtime read: Selected Tales

Reading a bunch of stories from someone as well known as Poe is a bit like putting a Greatest Hits collection on your iPod. The temptation is to just head for the tracks that were big hits and then gradually expose yourself to the others. That temptation is the same here with some of the less known stories sometimes being seen as obstacles to some of the ‘hits’.

Managed to get to one this lunch break and it is dark and not quite the best thing to keep you in a positive frame of mind at work.

Highlights from How to Write a Blackwood Article
A woman approaches Mr Blackwood and asks how you go about getting an article into his magazine. He advises her to write with a blunt pen and along with other odd recommendations insists that her subject matter should be some sort of personal disaster. Using a story about her choking on a chicken bone as an example he tells her to throw in some French, Italian, Greek and German to spice it up. Fired up she leaves his company and tries to run into some sort of trouble as soon as possible until she finally manages to find something and starts her story, which ends mid sentence…

Highlights from The Fall of the House of Usher
A school friend of the last remaining Usher male is called to visit his friend and finds him and his twin sister in a terrible state. She seems to be dying of some disease and he is mentally falling apart. As the last of their line there is a feeling that with them will go the physical building also referred to as the House of Usher. The brother tells his friend that his sister has died but is contagious so they take her into the bowls of the old house. But he remains in an odd state and as his friend reads an old story about a knight fighting a dragon the sounds of the tale resound around the house.

The brother tells his friend that he has buried his sister alive and the sounds are those of her smashing her tomb and wrenching the gates off the cellar door. Sure enough she bursts into the room and falls on her brother killing him. The friend flees in a state of horror and as he rides off the House of Usher crumbles into dust.

More tomorrow…

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