Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bookmonkey x Penguin Horror Day 12: The Raven

Beginning the second of the Penguin Horror collection, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven: Tales and Poems, I was a little leery.  Although I did fine in English in High School, my university background is in Communications Studies, not English, and I've always felt Poe is much closer to LITERATURE, which makes me a little hesitant to review him.

Then I remember that I'm a blogger, and more importantly a life-long horror fan, so I should be a little easier on myself and realize that the worst thing that could happen is comments on my blog (which is - excluding spam - the best thing that can happen on a blog).

So let's go.  

As with the Penguin Horror Frankenstein, this edition is really gorgeous, the cover-image, the fact that it is a hardcover, and even the fact that the edges of all the pages are black add together to make a beautiful object.  Unlike Frankenstein, however, the book lacks in the extra materials department - no filmography, additional notes, chronological info, etc.  Just the opening essay, and an introduction by S.T. Joshi.  Informative, but as compared to the previous book, it pretty much sticks to the original material and that's it.

The stories are great - although it took me a while to get into the rhythms of Poe's writing, a number of the stories gave me chills (especially Berenic√© and The Tell-Tale Heart), and surprisingly a couple were quite funny.  Unlike a lot of horror I've read, the stories tend to be focused in a real world setting, with issues of madness, grief and guilt being the focus, rather than ghosts, goblins and other creatures of the night (although one story does have a mummy), and the poems are also quite a treat.

In the end, I missed the extra materials offered in Frankenstein and did wish that the book had contained the story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (one of my personal favourites), but as with any short story collection, certain stories get left out or added for editorial purposes.

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