The Raven (Penguin) Read online


  EDGAR ALLAN POE’s work defied convention, shocked readers, confounded critics, and awakened the genre of psychological horror. The selection of his writings appearing in The Raven: Tales and Poems demonstrates the astonishing power and imagination with which Poe probed the darkest corners of the human mind. “The Fall of the House of Usher” describes the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a murderer’s insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Cask of Amontillado” explore extreme states of decadence, fear, and hate. The titular narrative poem, perhaps Poe’s most famous work, follows a man’s terrifying descent into madness after the loss of a lover. “Terror is,” as Poe once wrote, “of the soul.” The Raven: Tales and Poems serves as a testament to that conviction.

  Penguin Horror is a collection of novels, stories, and poems by masters of the genre that is curated by filmmaker and lifelong horror literature reader Guillermo del Toro. Included in the series are some of his favorites: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; The Raven: Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe; The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories by H. P. Lovecraft; The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson; Haunted Castles: The Complete Gothic Stories by Ray Russell; and American Supernatural Tales, edited by S. T. Joshi and featuring stories from Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert E. Howard, and Stephen King, alongside many others. Penguin Horror reminds us of what del Toro writes in his series introduction: “To learn what we fear is to learn who we are.”



  EDGAR ALLAN POE was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, the son of impoverished actors. Orphaned when he was not yet three, Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia. After a major falling-out with his foster father in 1827, Poe left Richmond for Boston, where he published his first book of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems. He later published Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829) and Poems (1831), and began to write short stories and book reviews, gaining an editorial position at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond in 1835. Perhaps already privately married to his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm, Poe married her publicly in May 1836. By this time he had begun work on a novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, early chapters of which were published in the Messenger of January and February 1837. But on January 3, 1837, Poe lost his job (very likely owing to his drinking), and he moved to New York City, where he completed the book. Pym was published by Harper & Brothers on July 30, 1838. Poe had by then moved to Philadelphia, where he served as the editor of two periodicals and where he published a collection of short stories, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), as well as many additional stories, including “The Gold-Bug” and the first modern detective story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” In 1842 Virginia developed tuberculosis. The couple returned to New York in 1844, where Poe soon reached the peak of his fame with the publication of “The Raven” in 1845. That year also saw the publication of both Tales and The Raven and Other Poems, but Poe’s drinking led to the failure of his literary weekly, the Broadway Journal. Poe and his wife settled in Fordham, New York, where Poe continued to write and to care for Virginia until she died in January 1847. In his final years, Poe wrote some of his most celebrated poetry, including “The Bells,” “Eldorado,” and “Annabel Lee.” On October 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore.

  GUILLERMO DEL TORO is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and designer. He both cofounded the Guadalajara International Film Festival and formed his own production company—the Tequila Gang. However, he is most recognized for his Academy Award–winning film, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the Hellboy film franchise. He has received Nebula and Hugo awards, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award, and is an avid collector and student of arcane memorabilia and weird fiction.

  S. T. JOSHI is a freelance writer and editor. He has edited Penguin Classics editions of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, as well as Algernon Blackwood’s Ancient Sorceries and Other Strange Stories, Arthur Machen’s The White People and Other Weird Stories, and American Supernatural Tales. He has also written critical studies on Lord Dunsany and H. P. Lovecraft; edited works by Ambrose Bierce, Clark Ashton Smith, and H. L. Mencken; and completed a two-volume history of supernatural fiction entitled Unutterable Horror.



  Tales and Poems

  Edgar Allan Poe


  Series Editor Guillermo del Toro

  Introduction by S. T. Joshi


  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) LLC

  375 Hudson Street

  New York, New York 10014

  USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

  A Penguin Random House Company

  This selection first published in Penguin Books 2013

  Introduction copyright © S. T. Joshi, 2013

  Series introduction copyright © Necropia, Inc., 2013

  Selection copyright © Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2013

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  Poe, Edgar Allan, 1809–1849.

  [Works. Selections]

  The Raven : tales and poems / Edgar Allan Poe.

  Pages cm.— (Penguin Horror)

  “Series editor Guillermo del Toro, Introduction by S. T. Joshi.”

  ISBN: 9781101662762

  I. Toro, Guillermo del, 1964– II. Joshi, S. T., 1958– III. Title.

  PS2602 2013





  Haunted Castles, Dark Mirrors: On the Penguin Horror Series


  Introduction by S. T. JOSHI

  A Note on Texts



  Metzengerstein (1832)

  MS. Found in a Bottle (1832)

  Shadow—A Parable (1833)

  Silence—A Fable (1833)

  Berenicë (1835)

  Morella (1835)

  Ligeia (1838)

  The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)

  William Wilson (1839)

  The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion (1839)

  The Man of the Crowd (1840)

  A Descent into the Maelström (1841)

  The Colloquy of Monos and Una (1841)

  Eleonora (1841)

  The Oval Portrait (1842)

  The Masque of the Red Death (1842)

  The Pit and the Pendulum (1842)

  The Tell-Tale Heart (1842)

  The Black Cat (1842)

  The Premature Burial (1844)

  Some Words with a Mummy (1844)

  The Imp of the Perverse (1845)

  The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)

  The Cask of Amontillado (1846)

  Hop-Frog (1849)


  Dreams (1827)

  Spirits of the Dead (1827/1829)

  A Dream (1827)

  Sonnet—To Science (1829)

  Fairy-Land (1829)