The Tell-Tale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe
(Bantam Classics, Mass Market Paperback, 9780553212280, 448pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 1983
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Edgar Allan Poe remains the unsurpassed master of works of mystery and madness in this outstanding collection of Poe's prose and poetry are sixteen of his finest tales, including "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "William Wilson," "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "Eleonora". Here too is a major selection of what Poe characterized as the passion of his life, his poems - "The Raven," "Annabel Lee," Ulalume," "Lenore," "The Bells," and more, plus his glorious prose poem "Silence - A Fable" and only full-length novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
In his short, troubled life Edgar Allan Poe originated the mystery story, brought new psychological depth to the tale of horror, and made inimitable contributions to Romantic poetry and literary criticism. Born in Boston in 1809 to itinerant actors, Poe was orphaned as an infant and sent to live with a Richmond merchant, John Allan. Allan sent him to the University of Virginia in 1826, but Poe withdrew because of gambling debts. In 1830, with his first book of poems already published, he entered West Point but was dishonorably discharged the next year. In 1835 Poe was chosen editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. Poe was already established as an author when, in 1845, the publication of "The Raven" made him famous. He began to lecture, engaged in a celebrated feud with Longfellow, and became sole proprietor of his own magazine, Broadway Journal. But in 1846 the magazine went bankrupt, and in 1847, after years of suffering, Poe's wife died of consumption. His ill health and drinking worsened. In October 1849 he was found semiconscious outside a polling place in Baltimore; a few days later he died without regaining consciousness.
Ignored for the most part by his countrymen, he was idolized by the French Symbolists, who thought of him as the first modern poet and helped to win him the recognition that is now his.