Sunday, July 20, 2014

Did Edgar Allan Poe Write a Ghost Story?


Edgar Allan Poe is America's forefather of Gothic literature and responsible for its most popular poem, "The Raven." I have argued in a past post that Poe did not (unfortunately) write a vampire story. But what about a ghost story? Poe had a mostly pitiful life where he suffered through poverty (much of it self-inflicted for his art) and the deaths of his mother, father, foster mother, foster father (John Allen), wife (Virginia Poe), former fiancee (Sarah Helen Whitman) and close friends. Who better to write a ghost story than the forefather of Goth who had lost so many relatives?

In my view he wrote at least four ghost stories:

1835 Morella;
1838 Ligeia;
1842 The Mask of the Red Death (Included in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849); and
1842 The Oval Portrait.

Arguments have been made (spoiler alert) that the revived sister in The Fall of the House of Usher is a ghost, and I get that. She is either someone who was laid to rest by her brother when she was near death (ala The Premature Burial) or locked away, which explains Roderick Usher's nervous condition. Anyway, yes Poe did write a ghost story or two or four. All are fantastic and worth a slow read.







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