This fantastic collection of Poe's short stories remains one of the most popular and best-selling audiobooks sold at TheAudioBookStore.com.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary. . . " begins the first line of his lengthy poem, "The Raven."
While not a short story, this familiar and often recited poem is beloved by people from all over the world and is synonymous with mystery, horror and foreboding.
Why did Poe write so many dark, dreary and even grotesque poems and short stories?
Poe has answered that question before, "All my life was midnight dreary," he has said.
Poe virtually invented an art form -- the short story. He claimed that each story should have as its aim one primary effect. For him, that effect was horror, and his short stories certainly conjure up that dramatic effect in generation after generation of readers and listeners.
Poe wrote to be listened to.
Even more than his ability to elicit a response of horror Poe was able to use the English language in a way unlike any other poet, especially when it comes to the sound of the language.
People perceive their world through the senses of sight, taste, smell, touch and sound. Shakespeare used the sounds of words, the rhyming possibilities of words and the rhythms produced when he put words into phrases. The results are works of art, creating "thrilling, chilling, filling" sounds and thoughts listeners had seldom heard before.
Note: Older biographies of Poe aren't always factual, largely because one of his supposed "friends" wrote a biography that lied about him in an unflattering manner, and that biography served as a definitive one for decades. People looking for information on Poe should bear this in mind before assuming the worst of him.
Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts to a family of actors. Performing in theaters was a questionable profession at that time period, especially for a woman. As a young child, he watched his mother perform the role of "Juliet," every evening, scenes in which she plunged a dagger into her breast and died -- over and over again. In truth, his mother did die when she was very young.
His life after that was filled constant shuffling from foster family to foster family, finally being sent away to be boarding school in England. He lived an adult life of poverty and loss, particularly of the women who entered his life, most of whom died early.
The grief and confusion that accompanied these things in his life filter into all of his works.
There is no better way to enjoy Poe's works than to listen to them, except, perhaps, to listen to them on a dark and dreary evening.