The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

by Edgar Allan Poe

Paper Book, 2007




Barnes and Noble (2007), 1023 pages


Brings together Poe's stories and poems in one volume.

Original publication date

1824 - 1849



1435106342 / 9781435106345


(1930 ratings; 4.4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Terpsichoreus
Not many people outside of literary study or detective fiction fandom realize that the character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Poe's Dupin. Dupin was the brilliant and insightful idle noble who occasionally aided the authorities in particularly difficult cases. However, unlike Holmes, Dupin
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took it up merely as a hobby, mimicking Holmes' brother Mycroft.

I'm not fond of Poe's poetry. Emerson's leveling of 'Jingle Man' is appropriate. Poe puts sounds together, but usually says very little with them. It is unusual that his prose was so varied while his poetry tended to obsessive repetition. Poe presents an example of the turning point when poetry ceased to represent the most complex and dense literary form (as in Milton and Eliot) and became the most frivolous and unrefined (the beat poets), while prose moved contrarily from the light-hearted to the serious.

When divorced from his single-minded prosody, Poe's mastery of the language elegantly serves the needs of mood, characterization, and action. This is not always the case: his Ligeia retains his poetic narrowness, but his detective stories have a gentleness and wit found nowhere else in his oeuvre.

The three Dupin stories helped to inspire detective fiction, using suspense and convoluted mystery to tantalize and challenge the reader. He may not have been as influential or innovative as Wilkie Collins, but his contribution still stands.

Any book of Poe's is worth purchasing simply for these three stories. They are studies in the careful use of language to develop mood, character, and drive--even in a sparse plot. They are not quite the equals of Ambrose Bierce's short fiction, but they are solid enough.
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LibraryThing member caerulius
I love Poe. He's brilliant.
So you may wonder why I gave this 4 stars, instead of 5?
It's the book's fault, really. There is an enormous number of stories, articles and poems in this volume, and yet there is no header to the pages, telling you which story you are passing, which is frustrating when
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you are trying to find something. The print is absolutely tiny, which is difficult. Granted, it is a very large book, so the print issue may have been unavoidable, but the heading thing is a far bigger issue than I would have anticipated.
This review assumes that you are familiar with the chilling, marvelous beauty of Poe's writing, because you will note I am not critiquing the content. Poe is well-ensconced in the pantheon of writers. Hands-down.
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LibraryThing member MoonSpider
I got this collection set today and I couldn't be more pleased. :D It's the leatherbound edition sold by Barnes & Nobles with a ribbon bookmark, which is always very handy. The text is very easy to read and seems to have every last one of his works. Though currently out of print, I was lucky enough
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to have the last in the store.

The book itself is very sturdy and anyone who loves horror and/or literature should have it. The first thing I did on the way home? Read out the first three poems, Lenore, and The Raven on the way home. :)

I honestly have no complaints.
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LibraryThing member nmhale
At long, long last, I finished this collection. Whew. This is a compilation (as the tile says) of all of Poe's poetry and short stories. Plus, the editor threw in one novel, an essay, and an unfinished play. The book has 1,000 pages of Poe madness, and it took me almost a year to finish it, because
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I would read it off and on in between reading other books.

When you read the completed works of an author, you generally are going to come across really great and really mediocre selections, maybe even some awful ones. Unless the author is exceptional. Unfortunately, Poe is not exceptional. He's good, and he has moments of genius, but having read this anthology I have come to the realization that this trait does not carry across to all of his stories. Some of them I really loved, and others were entertaining, but some were truly awful. He is at his best when he is being macabre or ridiculous; when he started to wax philosophical he lost me every time. The only aspect that kept those stories readable was how interesting it was to read a person's ideas about how spiritual and philosophical ideas will change, from long enough ago that we can now see how wrong he was. I especially liked his ideas that in the future all travel would be via hot air balloon. Well, he was right about air travel, at least.

I don't want this review to be too negative - as I wrote, he has some real sparklers in the collection. His famous, most well-known, pieces also tend to be his best written, not surprisingly, but there were plenty of others I had never heard of before that rank up at the top. "The Gold Bug" was one example; it was like his other mystery stories, and I greatly enjoyed all of those. I also really liked his satirical short stores, like "Loss of Breath" or "The Business Man", which made me laugh out loud. I never thought about Poe as a humorous writer, but when you read these, you see that his pen could have a cutting edge wit as sharp as his macabre gloom and doom. Among his classic tales, I still love "The Fall of the House of Usher" and still think "The Pit and the Pendulum" is rather boring; "The Tell Tale Heart" is a masterly tale that nonetheless leaves me with a chill and a desire not to read it again. As for his poetry, not as much stands out there. "The Raven" can never be omitted, it is great, but much of the rest is just average. I liked his riddle poems, I think "The Bells" is a wonderful poem, and there were some other dreamy quiet ones I enjoyed like "Fairy Land", but for the most part they weren't that memorable.

Then, at the end, the book contains "Eureka" and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, an essay and a novel. Poe called Eureka his prose poem, but it was actually a long essay on the nature of the universe and the meaning of life and eternity, and it was deadly dull. I plodded through it because at that point I was so close to the end that it would have been a shame to stop. The novel, too, was a disappointment. I just don't understand asking the reader to commit so much time and reading to a fictional travel account, and then abruptly ending with no closure and the excuse that author suddenly died. Could Poe not think of a suitable ending? I felt cheated.

In sum, the short stories were the best part of the book, the poetry was entertaining but not often wonderful, and you can easily skip the longer pieces at the end. Also, be prepared to experience a wide variety of quality between the stories, as well as a breadth of genre you might not expect from Poe's general reputation. Definitely worth it for the collected short stories, but I have to say, I am happy to be done.
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LibraryThing member datrappert
This review was occasioned by re-reading, for the umpteenth time, "The Fall of the House of Usher". Like much of Poe, there are traces of sheer genius and elements, that if you care to look at them that way, are pretty bad writing. In this case, for instance, the narrator says on at least three
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occasions that words simply cannot describe something. And repeatedly Poe breaks one of the cardinal rules of writing, "Show, don't tell." Yet the overall oppressive atmosphere of the story is brilliant, as is the long opening sentence. I, as I suspect many others did, was fascinated with the stories and particularly the poems of Poe by the time I was 10 years old. There were Poe stories around my parents' house and of course there was the endless series of Roger Corman movies loosely based on Poe's works that one of our local channels showed almost every Friday night. Back them, however, this was one of the stories that interested me the least. The language was way overdone (and still is--even for Poe) and there is a scarcity of dialogue that certainly doesn't make for a quick read. As I've grown older, though, this is a story I have returned to periodically simply to get lost in the darkness. Poe's stories, even if they have physical aspects of horror as this one does, really take place in the heads of his characters. It isn't the horrible thing that matters--it is our impression of it. 160 years after his death, Poe is still feeding those parts of our minds that draw their strength from our innermost fears.
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LibraryThing member amwsmith
Another #1 favorite ever, but this "review" is mainly a reminder that Russell has my copy of this.
LibraryThing member LostFrog
Poe's overrated. But still good. I read this a while ago, I remember liking a story about a maelstrom, mainly because I just like that word.
LibraryThing member rybeewoods
Poe is intruiging. He reminds me of Hitchcock in many ways (it should be the other way around right?). Mostly the resemblence has to do with thier M. Night Shamalongadingdong style twists and suspence. I find that we are so acustomed to that type of reading these days that Poe comes across pretty
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routine. Too bad.
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LibraryThing member Nikkles
Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems were one of my great loves as a kid. If you've read my other reviews you know that it is well established that I was a strange kid. I believe that reading Poe's work is good for intelligent and creative children, but you should only let them read it in the day
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light. My love of these stories has stayed with me and they are still endless fun. They may be short, but you can think about them endlessly. If you love to read you have to read a Poe Collection at least once!
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LibraryThing member vyode
[ "he's too verbose for me." - grammie ]
the humor ( yes, "humor" ) in his story's often goes unacknowledged. but once you start thinking in his speech there are roflmao moments.
LibraryThing member ysar
Genius. I read every word of this as a teen (my copy of the book is actually stolen from my dad's personal library) and have re-read it multiple times since then. From the stories to the poetry, Poe is the master of his art.
LibraryThing member Suso711
Edgar Allan Poe really inspired my love of reading and writing in middle school. If just words on a page can incite such horror and emotion - well, that was just amazing to me.
LibraryThing member camarie
Edgar Allen Poe was one of the most creative and captivating authors ever in existence. His stories envelope your imagination and cause you to face your fears. They are very eye-opening and heartily enjoyable. This is a wonderful collection of great classics.
LibraryThing member MissWoodhouse1816
Creepy, horrific, and absurd, there's anything and everything waiting here for the reader, compliments of Mr. Poe.
LibraryThing member horatio10
Having been given this book as a child, I appreciated the finely written horror - made all the more keen by the directness of the first person narrative. 'The Pit and the Pendulum', 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and 'Berenice' all cases in point. 'The Fall of the House of Usher' absolutely terrified me.

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I was reading a lot of Conan Doyle at the time, I also couldn't help but notice the parallels between the protagonist in Poe's original detective stories (The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the Mystery of Marie Roget) and Sherlock Holmes. To have been the originator of the short story form as well as the detective story, Poe deserves much credit. To this day I'm struck by the intimacy of his stories, how as readers we're allowed into the world of Poe's personal fears and manias.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in studying the human condition.
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LibraryThing member john257hopper
Views on a few of the stories within:

Purloined Letter

I read this because it is one of the books on the 1001 Books You Must Read List. It's clear why it's on there - a clear antecedent of Sherlock Holmes in almost every respect.
LibraryThing member gbaucicaut
As a young child and as an adult, Edgar Allen Poe has always been a favorite of mine. Poems like Annabel Lee and The City By The Sea motivated me to read and learn more about Poe and his works.
LibraryThing member jimmaclachlan
I didn't read this particular edition, but have several books by him, so this was easier to add here. He's not my favorite author, but I'm not much of a horror or poetry buff. I can't deny his influence & popularity nor his skill. Some of his ideas have been re-used as much as Shakespeare's. If
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you've never read him, you should, if only to know where a lot of knock-off plots are coming from.
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LibraryThing member level250geek
No self-respecting purveyor of dark things should be without this book.
LibraryThing member LisaNewman
The complete Edgar Allen Poe chronicles the works of Poe. Poe’s writing has been described as gothic, dark, and disturbing amongst other things. However, one of his most famous poems ‘Annabel Lee’ is a tale of everlasting love even through death. The narrator of the poem tells of a sickness
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that killed his beloved and how he continues to love and mourn her.

I have read Edgar Allen Poe most of my life. Even as a child I loved the dark language and old words. Perhaps I was an odd kid, wouldn’t be the only thing people though was odd.

I would personally limit the poems by Poe that were used in the classroom, but what would be used would be to help bridge the gap between modern writing and the style of writing used by Poe. I would have to stress that there is beauty in all language, and not just what most people consider ordinary or rational.
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LibraryThing member JBD1
Classics from Poe, all worth reading.
LibraryThing member valentipoetry
This is the Green leather bound edition that has all the short stories, poems, etc. It has come in very useful for the kids for thier schoolwork.
LibraryThing member dooney
Grudgingly four stars. Granted Poe was brilliant, and modern literature would not be where it is today without his influence. But Poe was not a great writer, and probably the only writer for whom I would say his writing is brilliant precisely because it is so bad. He understood something about the
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human psyche. We all know his writings, but I for one will be happy never to read them again.
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LibraryThing member PamilaDaniel
This book inspired me to become a writer! The art in the poetry, the fluid images in the prose - it is a feast of terror and beauty.
LibraryThing member Greymowser
Ah, the Ambassador of creepy, he will always rule.
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