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Goodnight, Mr. Poe

I don’t think my parents really knew what they were doing when they bought me a “children’s edition” of six Poe short stories when I was about nine or ten.  How much of a children’s book is “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” or “The Pit and the Pendulum?”

It led to something of a lifelong obsession.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

I missed his 200th birthday, but on the anniversary of his death, I can bid him in pace requiescat.


7 Responses

  1. Another thing we have in common, TB. Adults thought me quite odd when I was 10 and would use his name when asked my favorite writer.

    Did you have trouble finding someone who could tell you WTF “a swoon” was, too?

  2. I thought it was female trouble.

    It often was!

  3. I remember being about 8 or 9 years old and checking out a copy of a collection of Poe poems from the library and the mean librarian asking me to read the first paragraph to her before she would let me have the book because she didn’t think I could or that I would comprehend what I’d read.

    My Mom came up behind me and said to the nasty woman “She’s read this one twice already.”

    That is just nine kinds of wrong. 😡

  4. My daughter is obsessed with Poe as well. Fortunately, that obsession didn’t start until age 14.

    I dunno, I wonder if it’s safer to develop the obsession BEFORE the murky adolescent years! 😉

    • I was thinking more along the lines of how teens do know the difference between right and wrong, where say, my 8 yr old has a hard time distinguishing them sometimes. He’s much more likely to parrot something he saw or read than my teenager. Then again, it may be the nature of his disability. (BTW, new school is leaning towards Asperger’s with some social anxiety disorder, not true ADHD).

      I wonder: how hard is it to separate Asperger’s from SAD? A little bit seems to go hand-in-hand, doesn’t it?

  5. My mom had a book of Poe from when she was a kid and gave it to me (kinda surprising coming from my mom – tended to take issue with anything ‘gross’ or too scary, hmmm, maybe it was her sister’s book!). I still remember reading Telltale Heart for the first time, mostly in the dark, and not being able to sleep after that. It’s funny; I can’t picture the cover of that book right now, but I can see the slightly yellowed pages that were cut unevenly, the widened spacing of the printed characters, and the sketched drawings next to them. I remember picking which story would be my next by flipping through the table of contents to see what title most interested me.

    Let’s face it: Crazy does some amazing work.

    An excellent last point!

  6. I’m in the process of doing my Christmas shopping and I asked my 12 year-old nephew what he wanted. He wants Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”. Well, several years ago I stole his mother’s unabridged version and can’t give him that (she signed her name inside) so I asked him if he knew where the idea of Holmes came from… Poe’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue.” I’ve been a fan of Poe since high school, just in case you were wondering where I learned up that bit of random knowledge. I picked up a copy of Poe’s greatest macabre stories today. Merry Christmas, kid!

    Woohoo, and happy new year!

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