Penguin.com (usa)

The Portable Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe - Author

J. Gerald Kennedy - Editor

J. Gerald Kennedy - Introduction by

ePub eBook | $16.99 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9781440627248 | 688 pages | 03 Oct 2006 | Penguin Classics | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
Additional Formats:
Summary of The Portable Edgar Allan Poe Summary of The Portable Edgar Allan Poe Reviews for The Portable Edgar Allan Poe An Excerpt from The Portable Edgar Allan Poe

A fully revised collection of Poe's work

The first new edition of this landmark anthology since 1945 presents a more complicated, perverse, and culturally engaged Poe. Along with the author's familiar masterworks in poetry and fiction, this new Portable Poe includes satirical tales that reflect his critique of American culture.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —
 Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
 Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
 This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"— here I opened wide the door; —
 Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" —
 Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; —
 'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
 Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning— little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
 With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered— not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
 Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
 Of 'Never — nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
 Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
 She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! — prophet still, if bird or devil! —
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by horror haunted— tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!"
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil — prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting —
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!— quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
 Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
 Shall be lifted — nevermore!

The Portable Edgar Allan Poe Introduction by J. Gerald Kennedy
Chronology
A Note on Texts

Tales

Predicaments
MS. Found in a Bottle (1832)
A Descent into the Maelstrom (1841)
The Masque of the Red Death (1842)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1842)
The Premature Burial (1844)
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)

Bereavements
The Assignation (1834)
Berenice (1835)
Morella (1835)
Ligeia (1838)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)
Eleonora (1841)
The Oval Portrait (1842)

Antagonisms
Metzengerstein (1832)
William Wilson (1839)
The Tell-Tale Heart (1843)
The Black Cat (1843)
The Imp of the Perverse (1845)
The Cask of Amontillado (1846)
Hop-Frog (1849)

Mysteries
The Man of the Crowd (1840)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)
The Gold-Bug (1843)
The Oblong Box (1844)
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains (1844)
The Purloined Letter (1844)

Grotesqueries
The Man That Was Used Up (1839)
The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether (1845)
Some Words with a Mummy (1845)

Poems

The Lake—To—(1827)
Sonnet—To Science (1829)
Fairy-Land (1829)
Introduction (1831)
"Alone" (1875)
To Helen (1831)
The Sleeper (1831)
Israfel (1831)
The Valley of Unrest (1831)
The City in the Sea (1831)
Lenore (1843)
Sonnet—Silence (1840)
Dream-Land (1844)
The Raven (1845)
Ulalume—A Ballad (1847)
The Bells (1849)
A Dream within a Dream (1849)
For Annie (1849)
Eldorado (1849)
To My Mother (1849)
Annabel Lee (1849)

Letters

To John Allan, March 19, 1827
To John Allan, December 22, 1828
To John Allan, January 3, 1831
To John Allan, April 12, 1833
To Thomas W. White, April 30, 1835
To Maria and Virginia Clemm, August 29, 1835
To Philip P. Cooke, September 21, 1839
To William E. Burton, June 1, 1840
To Joseph Evans Snodgrass, April 1, 1841
To Frederick W. Thomas, June 26, 1841
To Frederick W. Thomas, February 3, 1842
To T. H. Chivers, September 27, 1842
To Frederick W. Thomas and Jesse E. Dow, March 16, 1843
To James Russell Lowell, March 30, 1844
To Maria Clemm, April 7, 1844
To James Russell Lowell, July 2, 1844
To Evert A. Duyckinck, November 13, 1845
To Virginia Poe, June 12, 1846
To Philip P. Cooke, August 9, 1846
To N. P. Willis, December 30, 1846
To Marie L. Shew, January 29, 1847
To George W. Eveleth, January 4, 1848
To George W. Eveleth, February 29, 1848
To Sarah Helen Whitman, October 1, 1848
To Annie L. Richmond, November 16, 1848
To Frederick W. Thomas, February 14, 1849
To Maria Clemm, July 7, 1849
To Maria Clemm, September 18, 1849

Critical Principles

On Unity of Effect
On Plot in Narrative
On the Prose Tale
On the Design of Fiction
The Object of Poetry (from "Letter to B—")
"The Philosophy of Composition"
The Effect of Rhyme
"The Poetic Principle" (excerpts)
American Criticism

Observations

Literary Nationalism
"Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison-House"
American Literary Independence
The Soul and the Self
Imagination and Insight
Poetical Irritability
Genius and Proportionate Intellect
Reason and Government
Adaptation and the Plots of God
Works of Genius
National Literature and Imitation
Language and Thought
Magazine Literature in America
The Name of the Nation
The Unwritable Book
Imagination
Art and the Soul
Superiority and Suffering
Matter, Spirit, and Divine Will

Notes
Selected Bibliography