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  1. William Wilson (Fantasy and Horror Classics) by Edgar Allan Poe | | Booktopia
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He wisely decides to leave the bedroom to escape from its glowing baleful eyes. At first he is too scared to move, but he eventually steels himself to do so, and makes a few faltering steps towards the door leading out of the bedroom, never taking his eyes off the staring serpent.

William Wilson (Fantasy and Horror Classics) by Edgar Allan Poe | | Booktopia

Brayston stumbles into some bedroom furniture and falls over. He lies almost paralysed, expecting the snake to lunge at him, but instead it seems to hypnotise him and Brayston moves towards the snake, feet first. When newlyweds find the cottage of their dreams in the English countryside, they are warned that long-ago owners, two evil knights, always return on Halloween night.

A traditional American 19th century ghost story narrated from three different points of view. The opening testimony is that of Joel Hetman Junior, who tells a court of enquiry about how he received the shocking news that his own mother has just been murdered by an unknown strangler.


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Over several months, Joel struggles to help his father overcome his grief, and one night, as they walked in the garden, the father becomes convinced that he has seen the ghost of his dead wife. He is so frightened that he runs into the woods and he is never seen again. The second statement is that of the killer himself, a madman in an asylum who was convinced that his own wife was having an affair with another man.

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Following her, but somehow mistaking Mrs. Hetman for her, he murders her and the look in her eyes destroys what little sanity he has left. The murder victim herself, through a spiritualist medium, tells the third and concluding part of the story. She remembers her murder in graphic detail, and then being trapped in a dark, timeless limbo.

She does recall seeing her husband and calling to him, out of love, but that he was too frightened and fled, meeting his demise in some way that has put him in a similar limbo to her own. To what horrific ends will a man go to keep his wife from the arms of her lover? Set in and featuring some truly terrifying masonry! Malcolm is soon to take an exam, and wants to study for it somewhere free from distraction. So he travels to Benchurch, stays a night in the inn, and the next day finds the perfect place, an abandoned house. He asked the agent about renting a part of it; he said that it being inhabited for a while should quell some of the rumors going around about the place.

He asked the landlady Mrs. After inspecting the house, Malcolm decided he would take up residence in the great dining room.

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Malcolm settles in to study, and after a while realizes the noises the rats are making. He gets up and inspects the room; his eyes meet with those of one rat who squeaks and scampers away. He studies for a couple more hours, having gotten accustomed to the sound. Soon he realizes that the noise has stopped.

He looks around, and sees an enormous rat, baring its teeth in apparent hatred. He tries to shoo it with a poker, and the rat scurries up the bell rope, then the noise immediately begins again.


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The confession of a murderer, written hurriedly in his cell just before his execution, and as the title suggests, found soon afterwards. The story is now effectively told in flashback. The doomed protagonist is a soldier, who on returning from services overseas in , discovers that his brother is dying.

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As his brother dies, he expresses a wish that the protagonist and his wife adopt their orphaned child. The protagonist does so, but he despises the boy and the feeling appears to be mutual.

William Wilson

After an unsuccessful attempt to drown the child, the protagonist kills him with a sword, and buries the body in the garden. He is now haunted by fears that the body will somehow surface! After a day at market, a man begins to walk home across the snow covered moor. He gets lost and is worried his wife will be concerned for him. He gets invited in but the host is very odd. After having a bit of scram he decides he really ought to make a move.

William Wilson (Fantasy and Horror Classics)

The host tells him that if he hurries up he will be able to get on a coach that is due soon. The host then tells him about a horrific crash that happened a few years back involving the coach he is about to catch. By a bridge, the man notices that part of the railling has gone. Others, however, are struck by Poe's profound probing of the human psyche, his philosophical sophistication, and his revolutionary attitude toward literary language. No doubt both sides of this argument are in part true in their assessments. Poe's work is very uneven, sometimes reaching great literary heights, at other times striking the honest reader as meaningless, pathetic, or simply wrong-headed.

This is not surprising, considering the personal turmoil that characterized so much of Poe's short life. Poe was extreme in his literary views and practices; balance and equilibrium were not literary values that he prized. Scorning the didactic element in poetry, Poe sought to separate beauty from morality. In his best poems, such as "The City in the Sea" , he achieved an intensification of sound sufficient to threaten the common sense of the poetic line and release a buried, even a morbid, sense that would enchant the reader by the sonic pitch of the poem.

Defining poetry as "the rhythmic creation of beauty," Poe not only sought the dream buried beneath the poetic visionColeridge had already done thatbut also abandoned the moral rationale that gave the buried dream symbolic meaning. The dream, or nightmare, was itself the content of the verse. Some readers, however, such as T. Eliot, have found Poe's poetry extremely limited, both in its content and in its technique. While it is true that Poe was one of the few American poets to achieve international fame during the nineteenth century, critics point out that his influence on such literary movements as French symbolism and literary modernism was largely through the superb translations and criticisms of his writings by Baudelaire see Vol.

Poe's theory of the short story, as well as his own achievements in that genre, contributed substantially to the development of the modern short story, in Europe as well as in the United States.