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MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION
OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
GULISTAN STATE UNIVERSITY
The English and Literature Department
Qualification work on speciality
English philology on the theme:
“Artistic peculiarities of short stories by E. A. Poe””
Numanov Golib’s qualification work
on speciality 5220100,
Supervisor: Tojiev Kh.
I. Introduct ion.
1.1 Review of the theme.
1.2 National Beginning in American literature and Edgar Poe as one of its beginners
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II. Main Part
2.1 Edgar Poe’s creative life
2.2 Edgar Poe and American short story
2.4 Annabell Lee
2.5 Characteristics of Edgar Poe’s short stories
2.6 Detective stories. “The Cask of Amontillado”
2.7 Fantastic stories. E. Poe’s Heroes
²²² Conclus ion.
3.1 Edgar Poe’s artistic manner
1.1 Review of the theme
My qualification work is devoted to the creative life and work of great American writer Edgar Allan Poe, the theme of which is “Artistic peculiarities of short stories by Edgar Poe”. This theme is chosen for investigation because of its importance for learning English language. In the process of learning English the learning of the literature of exact country is very important. Alongside with English literature we must know American literature, which developed on the basis of English one. From the history of the English language we know that English penetrated America through British conquering of this land. Edgar Allan Poe was one of the pioneers of national beginnings in American literature, he made a great contribution to the development of American literature, and he entered the literature as a poet, critic and wonderful short story-teller. To my mind his creative activity is worth of paying attention to and the given theme is actual for investigat ion.
The actuality of the theme is also that because of Edgar Poe’s manner of writing. It is his short stories-defective, fantastic, stories of horror – all of them, which attract the readers by their peculiar effect. Judging by Edgar Poe’s words he prevered “commencing with the consideration of effect”, he wanted to impress the reader, he had a specific skill of constructing his stories, and that’s why he called his short stories “Tales of Grotesques and Arabesque”. 
My work is aimed to investigate and to show the characteristic features, the artistic peculiarities of Edgar Poe’s short stories, how the author managed to write the stories of different genres. By analyzing some stories and on their examples, I tried to show their characteristic features. As the object of investigation I have analyzed the following stories: from the series of detective stories I chose the story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, and “The Gold bug”, as horrible stories I took “ The Tell – Tale Heart”, “ The Cask of Amontillado”, and “the Fall of the House of Usher” The scientific novelty of my work is that it provides the rich information about Edgar Poe’s creative life and his works. Analyzing the above mentioned stories I proved once more Edgar Poe’s skill to tell stories which thrill readers both with fear and humor.
1.2 National Beginning in American literature and Edgar Poe as one of its beginners
The work is also of great practical value. It can be used in practice as educational material for further learning not only American literature but our national literature, we can compare Edgar Poe’s artistic manner of writing detective stories with Sherlock Home’s, Aghatha Christy or our Uzbek writer Tahir Malik – well known with his “Shaytanat”.
My work consists of three parts and bibliography. The first part contains the general review of the theme and some information about national beginnings in American literature, as Edgar Poe was one of the pioneers in the formation of American literature.
The second part includes items concerning Edgar Poe’s creative life, his poetry and the development of American short story.
The item about characteristics of Edgar Poe’s “Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque”, where I made the analysis of his stories of horror, detective and fantastic stories.
In conclusion I summed up the work paying attention to Edgar Poe’s artistic manner, and the importance of his creative activity for the world literature.
The use of Edgar Poe’s short stories in original helped me with revealing their characteristic features. Besides I have used Hervi Allen’s recollections about Edgar Poe’s, Published in the book “Splendid people’s life”, M. 1984 issue 14 and Professor F. Cowles Strickland’s recollections about Edgar Poe. I also found interesting remarks about Edgar Poe’s activity in the article by M. Urinov. In Highlight of American literature I found the rich information about National beginnings and short stories in American literature.
Many writers paid attention to Edgar Poe’s works, such as Nikolukin in his book “Edgar Poe, H. W. Krutch. “Edgar Allan Poe”. “A study in genius New York”. 1926. Edgar Allan Poe, His writing and influences, New York 1974.
The use of the material from Internet helped me to enrich my work with the information concerning Edgar Poe’s creative activity and characteristics of his works.
2.1 Edgar Poe’s creative life
Edgar Allan Poe is certainly one of the best known and most popular of American writers. His stories are read by children, probed with the tools of psychoanalysis by critics, and transformed into films. His poems, notably “The Raven”, “To Helen” and “Annable Lee”, are widely anthologized. And his critical notion that a poem should be readable in a single sitting so as not to mute its single effect is a familiar critical principle. More importantly, Poe’s poetic theories, outlined in such pieces as “The Poetic Principle”, “The Rationale of Verse” and “The Philosophy of Composition, had a profound influence on the French symbolist movement.
Before he became a famous poet and short - storey writer, Poe was known as a journalist and magazine editor. He wrote numerous reviews about works now forgotten while producing his own memerable tales and poems. And though he never realized his dream of founding a literary magazine of his own, be contributed to many, including those he edited. Aa a writer for popular periodicals like the “ Broadway Journals” and Graham’s “ Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine”, and as an editor of literary periodicalssuch as the “ Southern Literary Messenger” Poe came to understand very well the audiences who read his work. He aimed his work, as he wrote, “ not above the popular, or below the critical, taste” turning the fictional conventions of his own time to odd account. In tales such as “ Ligeia” and “ The Fall of the House of Usher”, for example he put his personal stamp on the gothic horror story. He remodeled the tale of exploration in works like “ A Descent into theMaelstorm”, and he developed the genre of the detective story, or “ tale of racionation” as he called it, with such stories as “ The Gold Bug”, “ The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, and “ The Purlioned Letter”. Still another genre he touched on was science fiction with his fantastic story” The Balloon Hoax”. As various as was Poe’s genius and as varied as were the fictional subgenres he worked in, one element of his work remains consistent: his concern with the workings of the human mind.
Writers as diverse as Bandelaire and Dostoevsky admired Poe’s work. Bandelaire, who translated many of Poe’s tales, in fact, acknowledged Poe’s influence by writing that if Poe hadn’t existed Bandelaire would have had to invent him. Dostoevsky was unstiuting in his praise of Poe’s revelations of minds at war with thenselves. Although Dostoevsky’s own explorations of extreme states of consciosness and his dramatic depictions of behavior honed by guilt are more ambitious and monumental than Poe’s sketches and tales, the Russian writer felt a kindship with Poe.
Poe’s life was as tormented as the minds of his stories narrators. He was born to itinerant actors in Boston. His father died when he was a year old and his mother a year later. Edgar was and his brother and sister were taken as foster children into the Rome of a Richmond tobacco merchant, John Allan. Poe was educated in England and at the University of Vifginia, where he was provided with insafficient funds for food, books, and clothing by John Allan. Living among wealthy young men, Poe resorted to gambling, wich further worsened his financial situation and contributed what was an already seriously strained relationship with his foster father, who disapproved of his literary ambitions. The upshot was that Poe withdrew from the university and was left to make his own way as an author.
In 1837 he moned his familyfrom Baltimore to New York, where he published his only full-length fictional work, “ The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”. In 1840 he published his “ Tales of the Grotesqu and Arabesque” (1840). Poe borrowed the terms “ grotesque” and “ arabesque” from the Romantic poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, and meant them to suggest the terror associated with the bizarre and the beautiful associated with the poetic. He also meant to suggest that both elements were present in many stories in his collect ion.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is among Poe’s most famous and most accomplished tales. The house that falls is both the literal Usher habitation and the family it signifies. The house also represents the mind of Roderick Usher. In its density of detail, bizarre events, and uncanny tone, the story suggest gothic fiction. In its psychological richness and fainted family history, it reaches back to Greek tragedy.
“The Cask of Amontillado” examplifies Poe’s genius at displaying a mad narrator whose intent is to convince his listeners of his sanity. Perhaps Poe’s best - known example of this type is the narrator of “ The Tell - Tale Heart”. But “ The Cask of Amontilado” is an even richer story, with Poe pulling out all the stops in displaying multiple ironies while his narrator fels compelled to tell somebody of the perfect murder he committed fifty years before. The question is why he tells this tale after so many years.
In “The Purloined Letter” Poe gives way to his bent for stories of crime and punishment, this time from the outside point of view of the detective rather than from inside the criminals mind. Rather than considering what he would have done in like circumstances, the detective, Monsieur Dupin, must try to think the way the criminal thought, which is precisely what he does en route to to solving the case. The story celebrates Poe’s appreciation of the rational mind and contains a number of examples of riddles and games in which Poe delighted. It also ends with an elaborate puzzle built on a complex literary allusion, which contains the key Poe uses to unlock the inticacies of the story’s plot.
Poe’s fictional performances delighted audience in his own time continue to engage and intrigue readers today. Even though his style is ornate and his language far from colloquial, he remains a most readable writer, largely because he builds suspense, creates atmosphere, and probes the psychological complexities of his characters’ minds and hearts. If it is the horror of his stories that first draws readers in, it is Poe’s psychological richness and his control of tone that continue to bring them back for repeated readings of some inmatchable stories.
American literature cannot be captured in a simple definition. It reflects the many religious, historical and cultural traditions of the American people, one of the world’s most varied populations. It includes poetry, fictions, drama and other kinds of writing by authors in what is now the United States. It also includes miswritten material, such as the oral literature of the American Indians and folk tales and legends. In addition, American literature accounts of America written by immigrants and visitors from other countries, as well as works by American writers, who spent some or all of their lives abroad.
American literature begins with the legends, myths and poetry of the American Indians, the first people to life in what is now the United States. Indians legends included stories about the origin of the world, the histories of various tribes, and tales of tribal heroes.
The first American literature was neither American nor really literature. It was not American because it was the work mainly of immigrants from England. It was not literature as we know it in the form of poetry, essays, or fiction but rather an interesting mixture of travel accounts and religious writings.
The earliest colonial travel accounts are records of the perils and frustrations that challenged the courage of America’s first settlers.
The purpose of the first writers was to attract dissatisfied inhabitants of the Old World across the ocean to the New. As a result, their travel accounts became a kind of literature to which many groups responded by making the hazardous crossing to America. The earliest settlers included Dutch, Swedes, German, French, Spaniards, Italians, and Portuguese, of the immigrants who came to America in the first three quarters of the seventeenth century, however, the overwhelming majority was English.
The English immigrants who settled on American’s northern seacoast, appropriately called New England, came in order to practice their religion freely. They were either Englishman who wanted to reform the Church of England or people who wanted to have an entirely new church. These two groups combined, especially in what became Massachusetts, came to be known as “Puritans”, so named after those who wished to “purify” the Church of England.
The Puritans followed many of the ideas of the Swiss reformer John Calvin.
Through the Calvinist influence the Puritans emphasized the then common belief that human beings were basically evil and could do nothing about it; and that many of them, though not all, would surely be condemned to hell.
Over the years the Puritans built a way of life that was in harmony with their somber religion, one that stressed hard work, thriff, piety, and sobriety. These were the Puritan values that dominated much of the earliest American writing including the sermons, books, and letters of such noted Puritan clergymen as John Cotton and Cotton Mather. During his life Cotton Mather wrote more than 450 works, an impressive output of religious writings that demonstrate that he was an example, as well as an advocate, of the Puritan ideal of hard work. During the last half of seventeenth century the Atlantic coast was settled both north and south. Colonies still largely English were established. Among the colonists could be found poets and essayists; but no novelists. The absence of novelist is quite understandable: the novel form had not even developed fully in England; the Puritan members of the colonies believed that fiction ought not to be read because it was, by definition, not true.
The American poets who emerged in the seventeenth century adapted the style of established European poets to subject matter confronted in a strange, new environment. Anne Bradstreet was one such poet, who was born in educated in England. She both admired and imitated several English poets. Another important colonial poet, who achieved wide popularity was Michael Wigglesworth.
Twentieth century literary scholars have discovered the manuscripts of a contemporary of Wigglesworth named Edward Taylor, who produced what is perhaps the finest seventeenth century American verse. Taylor never published any of his poetry. In fact, the first of Edward Taylor’s colonial poetry did not reach print until the third decade of the twentieth century.
As the decades passed new generations of American born writers became important. Boston, Massachusetts, was the birthplace of one such American born writer. His name was Benjamin Franklin. The practical world of Benjamin Franklin stands in sharp contrast to the fantasy world created by Washington Irving. Named after George Washington, the first president of the United States, Irving provided a young nation with humorous, fictional accounts of colonial past.
Another writer, James Fennimore Cooper, contributed two of the great stock figures of American mythology: the daring frontiersman and the bold Indian. Cooper’s exciting stories of the American frontier have won a large audience for his books in many parts of the world.
While prose was contributing to development of an American mythology, the first poetry in the United States was also being written; Philip Freneau, one of the first poets of the new nation, wrote in a style which owed something to English models. If Freneau can be considered one of America’s first great nationalist poets, William Cullen Bryant merits a claim to being one of America’s first naturalist poets.
We can’t help saying about such notable poets as Edgar Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who contributed American literature with their prose and verse.
The earliest writing in America considered of the journals and reports of European explorers and missionaries. These early authors left a rich literature describing their encounters with new lands and civilization. Beginning from these early times the American literature has been developing up to date. Such well-known writers and poets as Edgar Poe, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher-Stowe, Theodore Dreiser, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway and others became the pride not only of the American literature but of the whole world literature as well. As any other literature, the American literature reflected all historical events that took place in the world. The American literature suffered different periods: romanticism, realism, modernism etc.
The period of 40s-90s is the period of late romanticism in the literature of the USA. It coincides with the creative work of Edgar Allan Poe, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of National American literature.
2.2 Characteristics of Edgar Poe’s short stories
The American poet Edgar Allan Poe, was also a master of the prose tale. A gifted, tormented man, Poe thought about proper function of literature for more than any of his predecessors, with the result that he became the first great American literary critic. He Developed a theory of poetry which was in disagreement with what most poets of the mid-nineteenth century believed. Unlike many poets, Poe was not an advocate of long poems. According to him, only a short poem could sustain the level of emotion in the reader that was generated by all good poetry. Besides Poe worked as an editor and contributor to magazines in several cities. He unsuccessfully tried to found and edit his won magazine, which would have granted him financial security and artistic control in what he considered a hostile literary marketplace.
Poe was never a good businessman but he was a good editor. His writing as a critic was especially well known. For Poe was not only a man with a fine mind who was a good writer; he had very clear opinions about the art of writing and had no fear at all about publishing those opinions. If he didn’t like a book or a poem or a story he cut it and the writer into pieces with his words.
During his lifetime, Poe made many enemies through his challenge to moralistic limits on literature, his confrontation with the New England literary establishment, and his biting critical style. Some readers too easily identified Poe with the mentally disturbed narrators of his tales, a belief reinforced by Rufus Griswold, Poe’s literary executor. Griswold wrote a malicious obituary and memoir of Poe that combined half-truth and outright falsehoods about Poe’s personal habits and conduct. Griswold portrayed Poe as envious, conceited, arrogant, and bad-tempered. Griswold’s portrait severely damaged Poe’s reputation and delayed a serious consideration of the writer’s place in American literature. But Poe’s later rediscovery by the French poets Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarme, and Paul Valery helped restore his reputat ion.
But was he? Poe was born in Boston in January of 1809 the son of traveling actors. His father deserted the family. After his mother died in 1811, Poe becomes a ward of John Allan, a wealthy Richmond merchant. The Allan family lived in Great Britain from 1815 to 1820 before returning to Richmond. In 1826, Poe enrolled at the University of Virginia. There he acquired gambling debts that John Allan refused to pay. Eventually, Poe was forced to withdraw from the university.
Poe’s relationship with Allan deteriorated, and the young man enlisted in the USA army in 1827. During the same year, Poe’s first book was published. Its title was “Tamerlane and other Poems”, by “a Bostonian”. While waiting for an appointment to the US Military Academy, Poe published his second volume of poems: “All Araaf, “Tamerlane”, and “Minor poems”(1829). Both collections show the influence of the English poet Lord Byron. In 1830, Poe entered the US. Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., where he excelled in the4 study of languages. But he was expelled in 1831 for neglecting his duties.
Poe’s “Poems” (1831) contained two important poems “to Helen” and “Israfel”. He began to publish tales in the early 1830’s while living with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia. Poe suffered financial difficulties, especially after being ignored in John Allan’s will. He received help from American novelist John P. Kennedy in winning an editorial post with the “southern literary messenger” in Richmond. In 1836, Poe married Virginia Clemm, his 13year old cousin. For the “Messenger”, Poe contributed reviews, original or revised poems and stories, and two installments of “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”.
Poe produced several of his finest tales in the late 1830’s, including “Ligeia”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, and “William Wilson”. These and other stories were incorporated into “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque” (1834). In 1841, he became an editor of “Graham’s Magazine”, to which he contributed “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”.
Poe won greater recognition with “The God Bug” (1843), a prize winning tale that appeared in Philadelphia’s Dollar Newspaper. The poem “ The Raven” (1845) made him famous. Two more collections “ Tales” and “ The Raven and the other Poems”, appeared in 1845. Early in 1845, Poe antagonized many people with a scathing campaign against the popular. American poet Henry Wadworth Longfellow for supposed plagiarism. At a public appearance in Boston later that year, Poe admitted to being drunk, which further alienated the public.
Poe’s later years were colored by economic hardship and ill health. Nevertheless, he published the story “The Cask of Amontillado” (1846), “The Philosophy of Composition” (1846), and part of his “Marginalia”, a collection of critical notes written for various periodical during the 1840’s.
Virginia Poe died of tuberculosis in 1847, after five years of illness. Poe then sank into poor health, and his literary productivity declined. In the middle and late 1840’s, he sought to support himself as a lecturer. His lecture on “The Universe” was expanded into Eurika: A Prose Poem(1848), which explores the mysteries of the Universe.
In 1849, Poe became engaged to marry the widowed Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, his boyhood sweetheart. On his way to bring Mrs. Clemm to the wedding, Poe stopped in Baltimore. On October 3, he was found semiconscious and delirious outside a tavern used as a polling place. The cause of his death four days later was listed as “congestion of the brain”, though the precise circumstances of his death have never been fully explained.
As professor F. Cowles Strickland shard, that Edgar Poe drank too much, that he learned how to drink; the trouble is that he didn’t. Most men did not drink badly of another man just because he drank; but if the man didn’t know how to drink if he drank too much or at the wrong time of day or in the wrong place then men felt that drinking was wrong. Poe was one who didn’t know how. But he didn’t drink all the time. If that had been true he could no have written anything. There were long periods when Poe didn’t drink at all; but there were other periods when he felt he couldn’t continue to exist without drinking. Thus Poe, created trouble for himself. This is not the only example of how Poe did the wrong thing, knowing that it was the wrong thing. Apparently it was a part of his character to do so. Poe recognized this problem in himself. In his story “The Black Cat” he wrote;
“Who has not, a hundred times, found himself doing wrong, doing some evil thing for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Are not we humans at all times pushed, ever driven in some unknown way to break the lay just because we understand it to be the law?”
Poe had lived a hard life, and during most of that life the dreams he dreamed remained only dreams. He drank to escape from the troubles of the real worlds. He escaped into his dream world in his poems and in many of his finest stories. Poe himself said that he was a dreamer. Think, he said, think of that moment when you are about to go to sleep, but are mot yet sleeping. You dream strange dreams. If you go to sleep you forget them. Poe claimed that he could come near to sleeping and then call himself back to the real world, remembering the dreams of the half world from which he had just come. These, he said, were the materials of some of his writings. If he said it, we may believe that it is true. But in addition to that, he filled his poems and his stories with the dreams he dreamed when not asleep yet. Poe began his career as a poet and composed or revised poems throughout his career. A tone of amused distance can be detected even in poems that critics consider serious. However, these elements coexist with themes that are more typical of the Romantic Movement, such as dreams and nightmares.
As it was mentioned, Poe’s creative life coincides with the period of Romanticism in American literature, and this was the age of Romanticism in Europe. And American still considered Europe to be the best source of new ideas. One of the most important Romantic ideas was the escape from reality, poems and stories could take people out of real life into a dream world where they felt and say and heard things that never were and never will be.
And besides, it was the time, when the United States went through some of the greatest changes in its history of the 19th century it was still mainly a country of farmers. Trade and manufacturing were growing more important with each decade but it was not until the 1870’s that a majority of Americans were making a living in non-farming occupation. In the middle of the century Negro slavery was still fact of American life. But after Civil War the nation entered a period of vast commercial expansion. Railroads Stretched form one end of the country to the other. Factories were built. Cities grew bigger. Fortunes were made. Edgar Poe was against the business, which was made mot to the favor of the country, he was a son of his century and an American patriot and tried to rise the American people’s level of beauty and to prove that the poetry might exist in America. He wrote about it in his article “Poets and American Poetry”. He didn’t separate himself from that that created railways, factories, he said “we” about “all” who could create both a locomotive and poetry.
Poe handled such material through images and tropes designed to signify uncertain states of consciousness represented as lakes, seas waves, and vapors.
Nearly all Poe’s criticism on poetry was written for the magazines for which he worked. Although the pieces were published intermittently, they reflect a remarkable coherent self-conscious view of poetry and the creative process. Poe wrote “The Philosophy of Composition” to explain how he composed “The Raven”. The essay opposes the romantic assumption that the poet works in a “fine frenzy” of pure inspiration. Instead, Poe wrote a carefully deliberate account of poetic creation. The essay analyses the central role of “effect” the conscious choice of an emotional atmosphere that is more important than incident, character, and versification. Poe also offered his famous pronouncement that the death of a beautiful woman is the most poetical topic in the world. In “The Poetic Principle” (1850).
Poe clamed that poetry works to achieve an elevating exciting of the soul, an emotional state that could not be long sustained. He further declared that a long poem is a contradiction in terms.
Poe believed that a poem’s emotional impact was enhanced by music or “sweet sound”. He thus devoted considerable attention to techniques of versification, especially in his essay. “The Rationale of Verse” (1848)
Poe’s “Sonnet To Science”(1829) subtly shows how beauty is destroyed by the coldness of the modern scientific intellect. “To Helen”(1831) is a brilliant example of precision and balance and perhaps Poe’s classic poetic statement on the idealization of women.
Despite its theatrical effects and stylistic flaws, “The Raven” (1845) is Poe’s best-known poem and one of the most famous works in American literature. If treats his favorite theme, the death of a beautiful woman.
This theme also appears in “The Sleeper” (1841) and “Ulalume” (1847). In all three poems, Poe chose elaborate musical and metrical effects, aspects of his verse that have been widely criticized and parodied.
Reflecting his interest in musical effects, Poe made no rigid distinction between music and poetry. “Eldarado” (1849), which originated as a song of the American West about the California gold rush, is an outstanding example. Poe went beyond the poem’s topical mature. The theme is universalized, as a knight learns that the true Eldarado is a wealth beyond this world.
The brilliance of Poe can be seen in the two poems “Israfel” and “Annabel Lee”. The poems are as melodious as Bryant’s but more dramatic in their effects. “Israfel” is Poe’s poetic apology for himself, while “Annabel Lee” mourns the death of a beautiful girl, a recurring subject in Poe’s writing.
One of the most remarkable things about the pair of poems is their melody. They are sinkable, not as a popular or concert song is, but with a wild kind of word music. As we read these lines, aloud or to ourselves, we will probably be able to understand why Poe was considered so skillful a poet. The rhythms of “Israfel” are rapid; the lines move fast. The beat is strong and skillfully varied. The vowel sounds are higher than in ordinary writing, helping to make the voice that reads them sound like a musical instrument such as the harp.
It is worth nothing that the above mentioned poems have nothing to do with America. Unlike those of some of his contemporaries, Poe’s subjects and themes were either universal or exotic. He had little interest in the topical or everyday occurrences, seeking instead to avoid factuality or logical clarity that would make a poem understanding to the common intellect. For the most part, Poe’s poems do not truly illuminate they are not expected to have plot. He continually emphasized estrangement, disappearance, silence, oblivion, and all ideas which suggest nonbeing. If was the idea of approximating nothingness that most excited him in his own poetry and that of other poets.
Here below I want to present Edgar Poe’s two selections.
In the motto, taken from the Koran, Poe took a few liberties with the description of Israfel by adding the words, “Whose heart strings are a lute”. The words were probably suggested by a passage in a poem, “Le Refus” by the French poet, Beranger (1780-1857). The song embodies Poe’s wish for a beauty superior to that of earth, more approaching the divine. The final stanzas voice the poet’s despair at the restritions of his environment. The poem first appeared in Poe’s Poems (1831) and was carried several times in later editions.
“And the angel Israfel, whose heart-
Strings are a lute, and who has the
Sweetest voice of all God’s creatures,”-
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
“Whose heart-strings are a lute”,
None sing so widely well
As the angel Israfel,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
Of his voice, all mute.
In her highest noon,
The enamored moon
Blushes with love,
While, to listen, the red Levin
(With the rapid Pleiades, even,
Which were seven,)
Pauses in Heaven.
And they say (the starry choir
And the other listening things)
That Israfeli’s fire
Is owing to lyre
By which he sits and sings-
Of unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod,
Where deep thoughts are a duty,
Where Love’s grown-up God,
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star
Therefore, thou art not wrong,
Israfel, who despisest
An unimpassioned song;
To thee the laurels belong,
Best bard, because the wisest!
Merrily live, and long!
The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit-
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
With the fervor of thy lute-
Well may the stars be mute!
Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
Is a world of sweets and sours;
Our flowers are merely-flowers,
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky”
This poem, which was the last on Poe wrote, is believed by many critics to be an idealization of his wife, Virginia Clemm, who died in 1847. It was published posthumously in the New York “Tribune” of October 9, 1849. In six stages of alternating four and three stress line, the poem has been called “the culmination of Poe’s lyric style in his recurrent theme of the loss of a beautiful and loved woman”
2.4 Annabel Lee
“It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;-
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love than was more than love-
I and ma Annabel Lee-
With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven
Covered her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:
Yes! That was the reason (as all men know:
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of course who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And also, all the night ride, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea-
In her tomb by the side of the sea”.
Now what Edgar Poe wrote about himself in his “The Philosophy of Composition”,
“There is a radical error, I think, in the usual mode of constructing a story. Either history affords a thesis or one is suggested by an incident of the day or, at best, the author sets himself to work in the combination of striking events to form merely the basis of his narrative designing, generally, to fill in with description dialogue, or authorial comment, whatever crevices of fact, or action, may, from page to page, render themselves apparent. I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect. Keeping originality always in view for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so readily attainable a source of interest I say to myself, in the first place, of the innumerable effects, or impressions of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall, I, on the present occasion, select?” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly, a vivid effect, I consider whether, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.
The strict subordination of artistic means to poetic conception created the beauty and harmony of Poe’s verses, which made Bodler admire, and Rahmaninov compose music for Poe’s “Bell”, and Valeriy Brussov the translator of Poe’s poems do investigations about the greatest poet of New America, whom he considered to be “A hopeless realist”
Edgar Poe and American short story.
While describing Edgar Poe’s creative activity we can’t help mentioning about the American short story development of the 19th century, as it was the time when the writer created his best short stories, when readers were enjoyed by his highlights.
From the beginning of time, man has been interested in stories. For many thousands of years stories were passed from generation to generation orally, either in words or in song. Usually the stories were religious or national in character.
There were myths, epics, fables, and parables. Some famous examples of story-telling of the Middle Ages are “A thousand and one nights”, Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and Boccachio’s “Decameron”.
Perhaps it can be said that the short story is well suited to American style of life and character. It is brief (If can be read usually in a single sitting). It if concentrated (The characters are few in number and the action is limited).
Dr. J. Berg Esenwein in his book “writing the short story” defines the short story as follows:
“A short story is a brief imaginative narrative, unfolding a single predominating incident and a single chief character; it contains a plot, the details of which are so compressed, and the whole treatment so organized, as to produce a single impression”.
A good shorts story should (1) narrate an account of events in a way that will hold the reader’s interest by its basic truth; and (2) it should present a struggle or conflict faced by a character or characters. The plot is the narrative development of the struggle as it moves through a series of crises to the final outcome. The outcome must be the inevitable result of the traits of the character involved in the struggle or conflict.
The short story is the literary form to which the United States made early contributions. In fact, early in 19th century America, the short story reached a significant point in its development. Three American writers were responsible for this development; Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allan Poe. It was the latter who defined the literary form in his review of Hawthorne’s “Twice-Told Tales”.
In his review, Poe asserts that everything in a story or tale every incident, every combination of events, every word must aid the author in achieving a preconceived emotional effects. He states that since the ordinary novel cannot be read at one sitting, it is deprived of “ the immense force derivable from totality.” For Poe the advantage of the short prose narrative over the novel was that it maintained unity of interest on the part of the reader, who was less subject to the intervention of “wordily interests” caused by pauses or cessation of reading as in the case of a novel.
“In the brief tale, however, “ Poe states, “the author is enabled to carry out the dullness of his intentions, be it what may, During the hour of perusal the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control. There are no external or extrinsic influences resulting from weariness or interruption”.
Poe felt that the writer of short stories should conceive his stories with deliberate care in order to achieve “ a certain unique or single effect”, beginning with the initial sentence of the story. According to Poe, the short story writer should not form his thoughts to accommodate his incidents, and thereby destroy the possibility of establishing the pre-conceived single effect, so mush desired.
Poe’s chief work, thus, was done as a critic. But it is for his stories that he remembered today, and for some pf his poems, especially “The Raven”. These were the writings people liked best in his own time. Poe wrote his stories with so much skill, that they seemed real, at least for a few minutes until the reader reached the end of the story and dropped back into the cold reality of his everybody life. Poe himself stated that he wrote horror stories because that was what people wanted to read. He wrote them because he knew they would bring him fame. And they did.
While the enormous popularity of Edgar Allan Poe’s famous short stories and poems continued highlight his creative brilliance, Poe’s renown as the master of horror, the bather of the detective story, and the voice of “The Raven” is something of a mixed blessing. Today, Poe is known, read and appreciated on the basis of a comparatively narrow body of work, roughly a dozen tales of half as many poems. For the novice reader, these favored texts offer easy (but still challenging access to Poe’s most exemplary writing, entry into his uniquely terrifying world, and intriguining connections to facets of their author’s tragically disordered life. The total effect of all this is compelling, and Poe himself would certainly approve. He wrote for the masses, using his learned artistry to reach the common people of his day and to then elevate their minds while intensifying their emotional reactions, Poe was not averse to the commercial sensationalism either; he wrote several “hoaxes” as news and later capitalized on his personal notoriety for bookings on the foremost literary stars in the firmament of popular American culture. A century and half after death, Poe is instantly identifiable, stands without rival, and remains immensely enjoyable. In his normal frame of mind, at least, Poe would have been deeply amused by the widespread adulation and fame he has enjoyed in posterity.
The rub is that we may be temped to stop here and neglect the breath and he depth of Poe’s contributions to western Literature. Poe, in fact, wrote nearly seventy short works of fiction. He duly credited with creating the detective story genre and with transforming the Gothic mystery tale of the Romantic period into the modern horror or murder stories centered in the outlying regions of human mind and experience. But he also wrote several comic and satirical pieces, literary parodies, sketches, and experimental stories, including “A Descent into the Maelstone” and his novella “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”. His most famous poems “The Raven”, “Ulalume,” “The Bells”, “The City in the Sea” were enormously influential. These famous verses were behind a powerful wave of enthusiasm for Poe that arose among the leading writers of Europe during his own lifetime, spread there of the around the word, and was sustained through the “discovery” of existential “human condition” themes in his short stories generations later.
2.5 Characteristics of Edgar Poe’s short stories
“Tales of Groteque and Arabesque” his first collection of short stories Edgar Poe titled “Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque”. The title of the work makes the reader enter the field of fantasy, created by the writer. Edgar Poe’s stories are Grotesque and Arabesque indeed. As W. Shakespeare said “who will name the child by his right name”, whether he is a man or a work of art? Evidently, it is the child’s parent or author who is able to do it best, when we speak about the work of art. But both the parent and the author has not only the nation of the child they produced, but their own mysterious idea, their own wish, and their own hopes. Groteque and Arabesque – is an exact name, but it is more the outward appearance, the way and manner than the gist of the phenomenon. Some authors and critics call Edgar Poe’s stories “horrible” ones. But we can certainly call them “tales of mystery and horror”
The famous Russian writer M. Dostoevsky, said about Edgar Poe’s “strangeness” his Grotesque and Arabesque: “If is Edgar Poe, who is extremely strange, though with the great talent”. Sometimes it seems that this or that Poe’s grotesque was written in the traditional spirit of Gothic novel, in spirit of genre of “mystery and horror” and then it occurs that it is parady to him. The real example of this is the story “Sfinx”:
A man came from New York to the place of his relative and lives in a separate comfortable cottage on the bank of Gudzon River. One day, on the sunset of a hot day, he was sitting at the open window, which overlooked the beautiful bank of the river and the distant hillside. And suddenly he saw there something incredible awful monster descending fast from the top and soon disappear in the thick forest at the foot. If was a huge monster, and the most surprising thing was the picture of its “skull scarily of half of a chest” Before it disappeared, it had uttered “unexplainable sorrowful” sound, and the man, who was telling the story, bell on the ground without feeling. The story about mystery and horror, and at the same time at the next page exposure of “the trick”, that is the explanation: how such an awful monster appeared before the story-teller. It occurred that it was only some kind of an insect “sfinx dead head”, which inspired the people superstitious horror with its sad squeaking and also with the emblem of death on its chest.
The insect got into a cobweb, which was made by a spider behind the window and the eyes of the sitting man at the window, designed it to the bold slope of a distant hill.
“Fear has large eyes”, the image of the monster illusion created by the psychological state of the story-teller, sharpened with the horror the epidemic of cholera was being rife in New York, “the disaster was spreading” and “in the wind itself, when it was flowing from the South. . . a stinking breath of death was imagined” (The real event of the beginning of 30y of the 19th century was reflected in “sfinx” it was the epidemic of cholera in New York, spread in Europe. )
“Sfinx” is both “a horrible “ story and a parody, there is essential for Edgar Poe motive of the social satire expressed, as though by the way, in the sharp form of appreciating the real American democracy. The story teller’s relative, whose “serious philosophical mind was far away from fantasy” pointed out the idea, that the investigation mistakes come from human mentality to underestimate or to overestimate the importance of the object which was investigated because of wrong defining his distant. For instance, he said in order to value in a right way the influence, which the real democracy may have on the humanity, it’s necessary to take into consideration for how long distance the epoch when we may carry out this influence. Dostoevsky pointed out one peculiars feature in Edgar Poe, which differs him from other writers it is his power of imaginat ion.
There is one peculiar feature in his imagination, which we never have met in other writers the power to describe everything in full details, which is able to make the reader believe the possibility of event even if it is impossible or has never happened yet. His power of imagination made Edgar Poe mystification widely the reader with great success. The example of such mystification is Edgar Poe’s “Story with Air Ball” in which the fiction about the flight of the air ball from Europe to America turned out to be so real, that it challenged sensation. Edgar Poe could tell about the state of human soul with surprising power, very often the soul full of horror, which Edgar Poe felt himself.
Edgar Poe is the creator of wonderful satirical grotesque in which he laughed at unchangeable and impatient for him human defects. The action of the story “Four beast in one” (1836) takes place in bible time, but the ideas expressed by the author is modern. Poe describes satirically cowardice and nonentity of the evilest and the basest characteristic. He opposes the wild whims and cruelty of despots, the intentions of cretins to humiliate and insult human dignity of surrenders and his own too. The most characteristic that wild despots are presented in Edgar Poe’s story in beasts’ masks.
The American “businessman” in Poe’s description is a self-satisfied blockhead and nonentity; he hates gifted and talented people. The author picked carefully comic details while creating the grotesque image of a businessman.
Poe’s comic scope is very wide from ruthless satirical grotesque to soft and inoffensive humor. There are much vigor and reckless and high spirits in Poe’s comic stories; a smart joke makes dance even 80-years old of aged old woman.
Poe published over seventy short stories in his short life. His best short stories deal with either logical reasoning, as in his defective stories, or terror, as is the case of “The Cask Of Amontillado”.
Poe’s tales of terror are perhaps, more widely known to the general reader than his defective stories.
Poe’s short narrative prose style as found in the two categories characteristic of his fiction has widely influenced the form and purpose of the short story, not only in the United States, but also around the world.
“The Cask of Amontillado” (Together with “The Tell –Tale Heart”) best illustrates Poe’s terror stories and the clarify with which he develops his own method. Every word in his short story contributes towards the single effect of terror which the story conveys. To these two stories we also may add “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839). The story is a portrait of a suffering artist isolated from the tides of life. Subtle psychological meanings can also be found in “Ligea”, “the Black Cat”, and “William Wilson”. In all these tales, bizarre and frightening details and events conceal Poe’s subtle probing of the warfare he observed in the human soul.
In “The Cask of Amontillado” we may recognize the actual experiences of Poe. From the first Edgar Poe story a person reads, the seed is planted that grown into the question of whether or not the author was as twisted as his stories. Historical accounts of the man and his life show that he was raised by the Allan family after his parents death and historical accounts present him as being brought up in a series of private schools and relative comfort. He was a gambler, a heavy drinker, and an alleged drug addict. He was what would have been referred to in the Victorian age as a near-do-well.
In his stories “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” Edgar Poe analyze with the great exactness the change of killer’s psychology, that reckless moving from wild gladness to indescribable fear and despair. The author describes the awful scenes of murder without any secrets and not concealing all details.
Here now, let’s observe the scene of murder, which the teller had planned before hand in the story “The Tell-Tale Heart”. The teller wasn’t a mad man, because a mad man cannot plan. The whole week he had fun truing to kill his victim and only on the eighth day he did it.
“During all that week \was as friendly to the old man as \could be and warm, and loving.
Every night about twelve o’clock slowly opened his door. And when the door was opened wide enough put my hand in and then my head. In my hand \held a light covered over with a cloth so that no light showed. And I stood there quietly. Then carefully, I lifted the cloth, just a little, so that a single, then small light fell across that eye. For seven night\did this, seven long nights, every night at midnight. Always the eye was closed, so it was impossible for me to do the work. For it, it was not the old man I felt I had to kill; it was the eye, his Evil Eye. And every morning \went to his room, and with a warm, friendly voice \ asked him how he had slept. He cold not guess that every night, just at twelve, I looked in at him as he slept.
The eighth night I was more than usually careful as I opened the door. The hands of a clock move more quickly than did my hand. Never before had \felt so strongly my own power; I was now sure of success.
The old man was lying there no dreaming that I was at his door. Suddenly he moved in his bed. You may think I became afraid. But no. The darkness in his room was thick and black. I knew he could not see the opening of the door. I continued to push the door, slowly, softly. I put in my hand, with the covered light. Suddenly the old man sat straight up in bed and cried, “who’s there???!”
I stood quite still. For a whole hour \did not move. Nor did hear him again he down in his bed. He just sat there, listening. Then \heard a sound, a low cry of fear which escaped from the old man. Now \ knew that he was sitting up in his bed, filled with fear; I knew that he knew that I was there. He did not see me there. He could not hear me there. He felt me there. Now he knew that Death was standing there.
Slowly little by little, I lifted the cloth, until a small, small light escaped from under it to small light escaped from under it to fall upon – light escaped from under eye! It was open wide, wide open, and my anger increased as it looked straight at me. I could not see the old man’s face. Only that eye, that hard blue eye, and the blood in my body became like ice.
Have I not told you that my hearing had become unusually strong? Now I could hear a quick, low soft sound, like the sound of a clock heard through a wall. It was beating of the old man’s heart. I tired to stand quietly. But the sound grew louder. The old man’s fear must have been great indeed. And as the sound grew louder my anger became greater and more painful. But it was more than anger. In the quite night, in the dark silence of the bedroom my anger became fear for the heart was beating so loudly that I was sure some one must hear. The time had come! I rushed into the room crying “Die! Die!” The old man gave a loud cry of fear as I fell upon him and held the bedcovers tightly over his head. Still his heart was beating; but I smiled as I felt that success was near. For many minutes that heart continued to beat. I took away the bed-covers and held my ear over his heart. There was no sound. Yes he was dead! Dead as a stone. His eye would trouble me no more! But the process of murder wasn’t over yet. The author describes how cruelty the killer dealt with the dead body of the old. He wrote: “You should have seem how careful I was to put the body where no one could find it. First I cut off the head, then the arms and the legs. I was careful not to let a single drop of blood fall on the floor. I pulled up three of the boards that formed the floor, and put the pieces of the body there. Then I put the boards down again, carefully, so carefully that no human eye could see that they had been moved” The killer thought that nobody would know about the murder, he was glad, that he wouldn’t be punished, but was his fear and horror that were the threat of revealing the murder. And that happened: “ My head hurt and there was a strange sound in my ears. I talked more, and faster. The sound became clearer” suddenly I knew that the sound was not in my ears, it was just inside my head. At that moment I must have become quite white. I talked still faster and louder. And the sound too became louder. I was a quick, low, soft sound, like the sound of a clock hear through a wall, a sound I knew well. Louder, louder, I stood up and walked quickly around the room I pushed my chair across the floor to make more noise, to cover that terrible sound. I talked even louder. And still the men sat and talked, and smiled. What it possible that they could not hear?
No! They heard! I was certain of it. They knew! Now it was they who were playing a game with me. I was suffering more than I could fear, from their smiles, and from that sound louder, louder, and louder. Suddenly I could fear it no longer. I pointed at the boards and cried, “Yes! Yes, I killed him. Pull up the boards and you shall see! I killed him. But why does his heart not stop beating? Why does it not stop!?”
The same pages of made murder we can see in the story “The Cat of Amontillado”. The main character of the story decided to kill his friend if we may say so, named Fortunato, because he as the hero said “had hurt him a thousand times and he suffered quietly.” So, he promised himself that he would make him pay for that, that would have revenge. Fortunato was a strong man, a man to be feared but he had one great weakness; he liked to drink good wine; and indeed he drank much of it. It happened, once that our hero met him in the street and he decided to treat him the wine Amantillado, and then to make his horrible murder, he took him to very strange and horrible place, where were only cold stone walls and terrible darkness.
It was really a very terrible place. “Fortunato looked uncertainly around him, trying to see through the thick darkness which pushed in around us. Here our brightly burning lights seemed weak indeed. But our eyes soon became used to the darkness. We could see the bones of the dead lying in the large piles along the walls. The stones of the walls were wet and cold”  In this terrible place our hero killed Fortunato. He bricked up him with stones, at last he head revenge, and again that fear accompanied the killer: “I heard no answer. Fortunato” I cried “Fortunato”. I heard only a soft, low sound, a half-cry of fear. My heart grew sick; it must have been the cold. I hurried to force the last stone into its position. And I put the old bones again in a pile against the wall. For half a century now no human hand has touched them. May he rest in peace!
2.6 Detective stores “The Cask of Amontillado”
Edgar Poe’s “The Cask of Amantillado” is the story of revenge. Among those who have read the timeless classic “The Cask of Amantillado” by Edgar Allan Poe, some have come away disliking the story because of the speaker’s cruel act of revenge against Frotunato. This opinion is, indeed warranted for such a portrayal of delicious wickedness, however, it is important for the reader to consider the fact that Poe penned that story as a direct reflection of all things that brought him misery. The writer discusses how throughout his life, the author waged war against a multitude of overpowering entities that served to influence him in a distinctly negative manner, among them being that of alcoholism, vanity, greed and pride. Besides the element of revenge, here we can see an extremely tightly women story and how this story was a commentary by Poe on his disclaim of the aristocracy and all that they stood for, as well as his personal belief in the cruelty of society.
To Edgar Poe’s terror stories we also may refer “ The Tall of the House of Usher”. Here we see the ways in which Edgar Poe’s own background experiences, and personal beliefs are reflected. In this story the author employed literary parallels and dualism to connect events, characters and sense. The writer argues that the house is actually personified and as it gradually collapses so does the family within. The madness of an aristocrat old stock is described as the extreme subtlety of human abilities and feelings, as the result of culture, which embarked on the stage of degradation. The terror is defined by psychological state of the hero: “In his manner I saw at once, changes came and went; and I saw at once, changes came and went; and I soon found that this resulted from his attempt to quiet a very great nervousness. His actions were first too quick and then too quiet. Sometimes his voice, slow and trembling with fear, quickly changed to a strong, heavy, carefully spaced, too perfectly controlled manner. It was a family sickness he said, and one from which he could not hope to grow better but it was he added at once, only a nervous illness which would without doubt soon pass away. It showed itself in a number of strange feelings. Some of these, as he told me of them, interested me but were beyond my understanding; perhaps the way in which he told me of them added to their strangeness. He suffered much from a sickly increase in the feeling of all the senses; he could eat only the most tasteless food; all flowers smelled too strongly for his nose; his eyes were hurt by even a little light; and there were few sounds which did not fill him with horror. A certain kind of sick fear was completely his master. I fear what will happen in the future, not for what happens, but for the result of what happens. I have indeed, no fear of pain, but only fear of its result of terror! I feel that the time will soon arrive when u must lose my life, and my mind, and my soul together, in some last battle with that horrible enemy; “FEAR”. The reader is shocked by amazing conciseness revealing of the cram, made by Roderick Usher and sudden collapse of the ancient house took place at so the same time. The story begins with the narrator riding toward the estate of a friend from childhood. While describing the house, the place where the Ushers live, the writer already reminds about that light crack on the background of the building and at the end he shows how it collapses. Here is the picture, which the narrator watched: “ I again looked up from the picture of the house reflected in the lake to the house itself. A strange idea grew in my mind an idea so strange that I tell it only to show the force of the feelings which laid their weight on me. I really believed that around the whole house, and the ground around it, the air itself was different. It was not the air of heaven. It roe from the dead, decaying trees, from the gray walls, and the quite lake. It was a sickly, unhealthy air that I could see, slow moving, heavy and gray. Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I looked more carefully at the building itself. The most noticeable thing about it seemed to be its great age. None of the walls had fallen, yet the stones appeared to be in a condition of advanced decay. Perhaps the careful eye would have discovered the beginning of a break in the front of the building, a crack making its way from the top down the wall until it became lost in the dark waters of the lake. And at the end of the story the author shows how the storm fell on the house: “The storm was around me in all its strength as I crossed the bridge. Suddenly a wild light moved along the ground at my feet, and I turned to see where it could have come from, for only the great house and its darkness were behind me. The light was that of the full moon, of a blood-red moon, which was now shining through that break in the front wall, that crack which I thought I had seen when I fir
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