Friday, March 10, 2023

Andrew Barger, “Frances Osgood’s Connections to Edgar Allan Poe’s Couplet and the Stuart Manuscript of ‘Eulalie,’” Poe Studies


My most recent Poe article was published by Johns Hopkins Press. You can check it out here: Andrew Barger, “Frances Osgood’s Connections to Edgar Allan Poe’s Couplet and the Stuart Manuscript of ‘Eulalie,’” Poe Studies, 55 (2022): 109-25 

What's it about? General notions regarding Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Sargent Osgood are that an intertextual relationship between the poets lasted approximately one year before the infamous letter scandal broke them apart. Antithetical to these notions, it now appears that Osgood attempted to renew her relationship with Poe in summer of 1847 by publishing a pseudonymous effusion to him. "To — — —," provocatively signed "Anna F. Allan," calls out to Poe to strike his "wild lyre once more" for her. Given no apparent response, the following month another uncharacteristic Osgood poem, titled "Zarifa," was published. From this poem, Poe appears to have adapted a line for an unpublished couplet written on the back of the Stuart manuscript of "Eulalie." "Zarifa" demonstrates the manuscript was in Poe's possession at the time of the poem's publication, and it gives—with some confidence—an earliest date for Poe's couplet.

#ScholarlyPoeArticle #PoeArticle #PoeFrancesOsgood #FrancesOsgood #ZarifaPoem #JohnsHopkinsPress #EulalieArticle

Monday, March 6, 2023

Edgar Allan Poe Short Biography


Edgar Allan Poe: An Appreciation
William Heath Robinson

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–never more!”

This stanza from “The Raven” was recommended by James Russell Lowell as an inscription upon the Baltimore monument which marks the resting place of Edgar Allan Poe, the most interesting and original figure in American letters. And, to signify that peculiar musical quality of Poe’s genius which inthralls every reader, Mr. Lowell suggested this additional verse, from the “Haunted Palace”:

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
   Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
   And sparkling ever more,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
   Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
   The wit and wisdom of their king.

Born in poverty at Boston, January 19 1809, dying under painful circumstances at Baltimore, October 7, 1849, his whole literary career of scarcely fifteen years a pitiful struggle for mere subsistence, his memory malignantly misrepresented by his earliest biographer, Griswold, how completely has truth at last routed falsehood and how magnificently has Poe come into his own, For “The Raven,” first published in 1845, and, within a few months, read, recited and parodied wherever the English language was spoken, the half-starved poet received $10! Less than a year later his brother poet, N. P. Willis, issued this touching appeal to the admirers of genius on behalf of the neglected author, his dying wife and her devoted mother, then living under very straitened circumstances in a little cottage at Fordham, N. Y.:

“Here is one of the finest scholars, one of the most original men of genius, and one of the most industrious of the literary profession of our country, whose temporary suspension of labor, from bodily illness, drops him immediately to a level with the common objects of public charity. There is no intermediate stopping-place, no respectful shelter, where, with the delicacy due to genius and culture, he might secure aid, till, with returning health, he would resume his labors, and his unmortified sense of independence.”

And this was the tribute paid by the American public to the master who had given to it such tales of conjuring charm, of witchery and mystery as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Ligeia”; such fascinating hoaxes as “The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall,” “MS. Found in a Bottle,” “A Descent Into a Maelstrom” and “The Balloon Hoax”; such tales of conscience as “William Wilson,” “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-tale Heart,” wherein the retributions of remorse are portrayed with an awful fidelity; such tales of natural beauty as “The Island of the Fay” and “The Domain of Arnheim”; such marvellous studies in ratiocination as the “Gold-bug,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Purloined Letter” and “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” the latter, a recital of fact, demonstrating the author’s wonderful capability of correctly analyzing the mysteries of the human mind; such tales of illusion and banter as “The Premature Burial” and “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether”; such bits of extravaganza as “The Devil in the Belfry” and “The Angel of the Odd”; such tales of adventure as “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”; such papers of keen criticism and review as won for Poe the enthusiastic admiration of Charles Dickens, although they made him many enemies among the over-puffed minor American writers so mercilessly exposed by him; such poems of beauty and melody as “The Bells,” “The Haunted Palace,” “Tamerlane,” “The City in the Sea” and “The Raven.” What delight for the jaded senses of the reader is this enchanted domain of wonder-pieces! What an atmosphere of beauty, music, color! What resources of imagination, construction, analysis and absolute art! One might almost sympathize with Sarah Helen Whitman, who, confessing to a half faith in the old superstition of the significance of anagrams, found, in the transposed letters of Edgar Poe’s name, the words “a God-peer.” His mind, she says, was indeed a “Haunted Palace,” echoing to the footfalls of angels and demons.

“No man,” Poe himself wrote, “has recorded, no man has dared to record, the wonders of his inner life.”

In these twentieth century days-of lavish recognition-artistic, popular and material-of genius, what rewards might not a Poe claim!

Edgar’s father, a son of General David Poe, the American revolutionary patriot and friend of Lafayette, had married Mrs. Hopkins, an English actress, and, the match meeting with parental disapproval, had himself taken to the stage as a profession. Notwithstanding Mrs. Poe’s beauty and talent the young couple had a sorry struggle for existence. When Edgar, at the age of two years, was orphaned, the family was in the utmost destitution. Apparently the future poet was to be cast upon the world homeless and friendless. But fate decreed that a few glimmers of sunshine were to illumine his life, for the little fellow was adopted by John Allan, a wealthy merchant of Richmond, Va. A brother and sister, the remaining children, were cared for by others.

In his new home Edgar found all the luxury and advantages money could provide. He was petted, spoiled and shown off to strangers. In Mrs. Allan he found all the affection a childless wife could bestow. Mr. Allan took much pride in the captivating, precocious lad. At the age of five the boy recited, with fine effect, passages of English poetry to the visitors at the Allan house.

From his eighth to his thirteenth year he attended the Manor House school, at Stoke-Newington, a suburb of London. It was the Rev. Dr. Bransby, head of the school, whom Poe so quaintly portrayed in “William Wilson.” Returning to Richmond in 1820 Edgar was sent to the school of Professor Joseph H. Clarke. He proved an apt pupil. Years afterward Professor Clarke thus wrote:

“While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet. As a scholar he was ambitious to excel. He was remarkable for self-respect, without haughtiness. He had a sensitive and tender heart and would do anything for a friend. His nature was entirely free from selfishness.”

At the age of seventeen Poe entered the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. He left that institution after one session. Official records prove that he was not expelled. On the contrary, he gained a creditable record as a student, although it is admitted that he contracted debts and had “an ungovernable passion for card-playing.” These debts may have led to his quarrel with Mr. Allan which eventually compelled him to make his own way in the world.

Early in 1827 Poe made his first literary venture. He induced Calvin Thomas, a poor and youthful printer, to publish a small volume of his verses under the title “Tamerlane and Other Poems.” In 1829 we find Poe in Baltimore with another manuscript volume of verses, which was soon published. Its title was “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Other Poems.” Neither of these ventures seems to have attracted much attention.

Soon after Mrs. Allan’s death, which occurred in 1829, Poe, through the aid of Mr. Allan, secured admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Any glamour which may have attached to cadet life in Poe’s eyes was speedily lost, for discipline at West Point was never so severe nor were the accommodations ever so poor. Poe’s bent was more and more toward literature. Life at the academy daily became increasingly distasteful. Soon he began to purposely neglect his studies and to disregard his duties, his aim being to secure his dismissal from the United States service. In this he succeeded. On March 7, 1831, Poe found himself free. Mr. Allan’s second marriage had thrown the lad on his own resources. His literary career was to begin.

Poe’s first genuine victory was won in 1833, when he was the successful competitor for a prize of $100 offered by a Baltimore periodical for the best prose story. “A MSS. Found in a Bottle” was the winning tale. Poe had submitted six stories in a volume. “Our only difficulty,” says Mr. Latrobe, one of the judges, “was in selecting from the rich contents of the volume.”

During the fifteen years of his literary life Poe was connected with various newspapers and magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia and New York. He was faithful, punctual, industrious, thorough. N. P. Willis, who for some time employed Poe as critic and sub-editor on the Evening Mirror, wrote thus:

“With the highest admiration for Poe’s genius, and a willingness to let it alone for more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by common report to expect a very capricious attention to his duties, and occasionally a scene of violence and difficulty. Time went on, however, and he was invariably punctual and industrious. We saw but one presentiment of the man-a quiet, patient, industrious and most gentlemanly person.

“We heard, from one who knew him well (what should be stated in all mention of his lamentable irregularities), that with a single glass of wine his whole nature was reversed, the demon became uppermost, and, though none of the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his will was palpably insane. In this reversed character, we repeat, it was never our chance to meet him.”

On September 22, 1835, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, in Baltimore. She had barely turned thirteen years, Poe himself was but twenty-six. He then was a resident of Richmond and a regular contributor to the “Southern Literary Messenger.” It was not until a year later that the bride and her widowed mother followed him thither.

Poe’s devotion to his child-wife was one of the most beautiful features of his life. Many of his famous poetic productions were inspired by her beauty and charm. Consumption had marked her for its victim, and the constant efforts of husband and mother were to secure for her all the comfort and happiness their slender means permitted. Virginia died January 30, 1847, when but twenty-five years of age. A friend of the family pictures the death-bed scene–mother and husband trying to impart warmth to her by chafing her hands and her feet, while her pet cat was suffered to nestle upon her bosom for the sake of added warmth.

These verses from “Annabel Lee,” written by Poe in 1849, the last year of his life, tell of his sorrow at the loss of his child-wife:

I was a child and she was a child,
   In a kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago;
   In this kingdom by the sea.
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea,

Poe was connected at various times and in various capacities with the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Va.; Graham’s Magazine and the Gentleman’s Magazine in Philadelphia.; the Evening Mirror, the Broadway Journal, and Godey’s Lady’s Book in New York. Everywhere Poe’s life was one of unremitting toil. No tales and poems were ever produced at a greater cost of brain and spirit.

Poe’s initial salary with the Southern Literary Messenger, to which he contributed the first drafts of a number of his best-known tales, was $10 a week! Two years later his salary was but $600 a year. Even in 1844, when his literary reputation was established securely, he wrote to a friend expressing his pleasure because a magazine to which he was to contribute had agreed to pay him $20 monthly for two pages of criticism.

Those were discouraging times in American literature, but Poe never lost faith. He was finally to triumph wherever pre-eminent talents win admirers. His genius has had no better description than in this stanza from William Winter’s poem, read at the dedication exercises of the Actors’ Monument to Poe, May 4, 1885, in New York:

“He was the voice of beauty and of woe,
Passion and mystery and the dread unknown;
  Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow,
Cold as the icy winds that round them moan,
  Dark as the eaves wherein earth’s thunders groan,
Wild as the tempests of the upper sky,
  Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of angel whispers, fluttering from on high,
And tender as love’s tear when youth and beauty die.”

In the two and a half score years that have elapsed since Poe’s death he has come fully into his own. For a while Griswold’s malignant misrepresentations colored the public estimate of Poe as man and as writer. But, thanks to J. H. Ingram, W. F. Gill, Eugene Didier, Sarah Helen Whitman and others these scandals have been dispelled and Poe is seen as he actually was-not as a man without failings, it is true, but as the finest and most original genius in American letters. As the years go on his fame increases. His works have been translated into many foreign languages. His is a household name in France and England-in fact, the latter nation has often uttered the reproach that Poe’s own country has been slow to appreciate him. But that reproach, if it ever was warranted, certainly is untrue.

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944), English cartoonist and illustrator, published the above short Poe biography in 1900. Below is the cover for Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe's Life where I being Poe to life using his actual letters to his contemporaries and many loves.

#PoeBiography #LifeofPoe #CoffeewithPoe #PoesLife #AndrewBarger #EdgarAllanPoeLife

Saturday, March 4, 2023

"Scared as You" by The Cure - Unofficial Lyrics by Andrew Barger


"Scared as You" is an instrumental by The Cure they placed on the band's Wish 30 Year Deluxe Anniversary Album. It brings to mind "Fear of Ghosts" that the band curiously scratched from Disintegration. Yet songs by the band have a way of coming back around later, as both of these have done.

Like I am doing for all the instrumentals on Wish 30 Year Deluxe Anniversary Album, here are the unofficial lyrics I penned for "Scared as You."

Scared as You

I wonder

where the sea goes in December,

when the sky turns burnt umber,

before darkness settles in,

and I am feeling those pangs

of being alone again.

I wonder

where the ghost of my ghost lives

in mansions unholy.

Knowing he still is, 

and I am fading away;

I am fading away.

Fading away.

Fading away.

Fading away.

#CureDeluxeInstrumentals #ScaredasYouTheCure #RobertSmithScaredasYou #WishAnniversaryAlbum #Wish30thAnniversary #UnofficialCureLyrics

Friday, March 3, 2023

Witchcraft Classics: Best Witch Short Stories 1800-1849 Cover Reveal by Andrew Barger


Witchcraft Classics: Best Witch Short Stories 1800-1849

I am (witchy) excited to reveal the cover of the latest anthology that I have edited. This time I have explored, and uncovered, classic witch stories from the first half of the nineteenth century.

In the coming days I will reveal the stories I picked for the collection. Click here to preorder this witch book that will be on sale on March 17, 2023!

#BestWitchStories #ClassicWitchStories #BestWitchShortStories #ClassicWitchShortStories #WitchBook #NewWitchBook #WitchAnthology #WitchCollection

Thursday, March 2, 2023

First Werewolf Short Story by a Woman - A Story of Weir-Wolf by Catherine Crowe

Catherine Crowe

A Story of a Weir-Wolf

Catherine Crowe arguably wrote the first werewolf short story by a female. It was republished in The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Werewolf Anthology for the first time nearly 175 years since its original publication. Crowe also wrote a few novels, with the Adventures of Susan Hopley being her most popular. Yet it is Crowe’s association with scary short stories for which she is remembered today.

Two years after “A Story of a Weir-Wolf” appeared in the May 16th, 1846 (vol. III) issue of James Hogg’s magazine Hogg’s Weekly Instructor, Crowe published a collection she titled “The Night-Side of Nature, or Ghosts and Ghost-seers.” It is a solid compilation of supernatural short stories from real life events. Unfortunately, her werewolf story that begins “on a fine bright summer’s morning” was not contained in “The Night-Side of Nature” and was apparently never re-published by Crowe after it appeared in Hogg’s Weekly Instructor. Thankfully the story will live on. Like any werewolf, it shapeshifted. Less than a decade later, the author had a terrible bought of insanity.

In 1854, at the age of 64, Crowe was found naked wandering the streets of Edinburgh. This is how Charles Dickens described the event on March 7, 1854.
“Mrs Crowe has gone stark mad–and stark naked–on the spirit-rapping imposition. She was found t’other day in the street, clothed only in her chastity, a pocket-handkerchief and a visiting card. She had been informed, it appeared, by the spirits, that if she went out in that trim she would be invisible. She is now in a mad-house and, I fear, hopelessly insane. One of the curious manifestations of her disorder is that she can bear nothing black. There is a terrific business to be done, even when they are obliged to put coals on her fire.”
In 1876—four years after Crowe’s death—William Forster produced a play called “The Weirwolf: A Tragedy” that he made clear was “from a story by Mrs. Crowe” in the printed script. This appears to be the first werewolf play taken from a werewolf story written by a female.

#CatherineCrowe #crowewerewolfstory #classicwerewolf short stories #firstwerewolfstorybyawoman #bestwerewolfstories

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Review of "What Was It" by Fitz James O'Brien


Fitz James O’Brien

A number of Irish horror writers appear in The Best Horror Short Stories 1850-1849: A 6a66le Horror Anthology. Fitz James O’Brien is one of them. He was born in Cork, Ireland. His father was an attorney and O’Brien later attended Dublin University where Joseph Le Fanu published many of his fantastic horror stories in The Dublin University Magazine. O’Brien subsequently moved to the United States where well-known publications like the New York TimesVanity Fair, and Harper’s Magazine discovered his supernatural fiction.

He was also a poet and wrote a number of poems in the scary short story genre including “The Gory Gnome” and “The Demon of the Gibbet.” In 1853, his first short story, “The Two-Skulls,” possessed elements of horror.

The subsequent years 1858 and 1859 were watershed years for O’Brien’s fictional short stories in the horror and fantasy genres. His most popular was “The Diamond Lens” (1858), published in the Atlantic Monthly, which tells of a secret world found under a microscope. He also penned that same year “From Hand to Mouth,” which is a precursor to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) in surrealistic fiction. In 1859 the Atlantic Monthly also printed O’Brien’s “The Wondersmith” where dolls are brought to life in a macabre fashion.

That same year is when O’Brien published one of the best horror stories for the last half of the nineteenth century in “What Was it? A Mystery.” The short horror story employs the first use of invisibility in a horror story and perhaps the first in fiction. Invisibility would be used in the stories of many great authors.

In 1881 Bram Stoker published “The Invisible Giant.” “What Was it?” also influenced Guy de Maupassant’s “Le Horla” (1886) and H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man (1897), the popular author of the next story.

“What Was It?” shows that the power of the unseen can be the most frightening of all. It is the second oldest story in this collection and plays its part in the annals of monster horror.

The story was a smashing success. As one editor put it, “Would you believe me, such an impression did this story make upon the American public, that inside of six week’s (sic) time, (20,000) twenty thousand letters came to the Harpers’ (sic) office, full of queries and requests for further news.”

“What Was It?” is set in New York on Twenty-sixth Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.


Like Andrew Barger's Facebook page for new announcements:

#WhatWasIt #BestHorrorShortStories #invisibility #whatwasitstory #invisiblehorror

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Best Vampire Short Stories First Half of the Nineteenth Century Edited by Andrew Barger

With Teeth

As one might expect from the stories in this annotated, best vampire story anthology, teeth were used prominently in the nascent development of the vampirism mythos. And due to the human-monster theme, vampire stories developed more quickly and became more robust from both story and character development than other genres during the period in question, such as werewolf and ghost stories; so much so that they triumphed over most novels in this respect. Yet many claim that short stories are a lesser art form than the novel.

Does time bolster art and transform it into something more robust? Certainly as the aging of a Bordeaux brings out complexities of character unknown in newer wines, so too does the novel offer a bouquet of characters that are impossible to foster in the limited pages of a short story. Characters like certain wines take time to develop, and in this aspect deference must be given to the novel in whatever modern form it may take.

Where critics of short fiction often err, however, is assuming that more pages equate to greater literary art. It’s been claimed Earnest Hemmingway said that the phrase “Baby carriage for sale – slightly used” is the best thing he ever wrote.

The literary world is marred with dead trees and terrible, fat novels. Does length equal creativity and originality? Do pages equal greatness? Does size matter in fiction? Edgar Allan Poe, the same author who formed the foundation of the modern short story, claimed just the opposite. He preferred a complete tale that could be consumed in one sitting without interruption of the reader’s concentration.
And it was the same Edgar Allan Poe who likely never penned a vampire story given the research I conducted for Coffee with Poe: A Novel of Edgar Allan Poe’s Life. If a reader has to stretch their imagination to determine if a character is a vampire, then it is likely not a vampire.

Teeth play a telling role (as does the presence of blood) in many vampire tales. Because of this a number of anthologist have placed Poe’s “Ligeia” in their collections in the hopes that if the tale is put in a substantial number of vampire anthologies it will be transmogrified into a vampire story. This is certainly a misapplication in a story where the supposed vampire never comes in contact with another vampire. When Ligeia dies and is subsequently brought back to life through Rowena’s body, the unnamed protagonist touches her and she moves away, again displaying no lust for blood. Before her death, Rowena is given a cup of reddish liquid that could easily be wine or a potion concocted by the protagonist. There is no evidence that anyone’s blood was spilt. The only other hint of vampirism comes when Rowena’s lips part on her deathbed to display a line of “pearly teeth.”

Yes, it would be nice for this fifty year period, this cradle of all vampire short stories in the English language, to include a vampire tale by Edgar Allan Poe. But the sad answer is that Poe never penned a vampire story. Poe’s only reference to vampires were in his poems. “Tamerlane” references a vampire-bat and “To Helen” calls out vampire-winged panels. Articles about the vampire motif in “The Fall of the House of Usher” have been disorganized and unconvincing. Essays about a volitional vampire in “Morella” have . . . well . . . sucked. The ponderous dissertations that seek to attribute the protagonist’s lust for teeth to a vampire fixation in “Berenice” have felt chompy. Vampires do not lust for teeth, rather blood. A Poe story listed in the Table of Contents for an anthology boosts sales. Nevertheless, in the case of vampire anthologies, Poe’s inclusion is misdirected.

Unlike the pure horror story genre in The Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849, where Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote five of the dozen tales selected and the ghost story genre where Poe, Hawthorne and Irving collectively penned forty percent of tales in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849, American writers (apart from one) are sadly lacking from authorship of the vampire stories for this period as they are for the werewolf genre. The top purveyors in these genres all hail from Europe apart from a few limited exceptions.
This makes sense given the rise of vampire legends throughout Europe, especially countries touching the Carpathian and Harz Mountains. In the April 1819 issue of the New Monthly Magazine “The Vampyre; A Tale” was published as the first vampire short story originating in the English language. The ruminations of a plot for the story were constructed by Lord Byron; yet it was fleshed out and ultimately written by John Polidori, his physician, on a literary dare. Lord Byron, in turn, got the idea from tradition and folktales. The state of the vampire legend before this story was best laid out in an article published in The Monthly Review of May 1819:

“The superstition, on which the tale is founded, universally prevailed less than a century ago, throughout Hungary, Moravia, Silesia, and Poland; and the legends to which it gave rise were not only believed, but were made the subject of learned disputations by the divines and physicians of the times. In Dr. Henry More’s Philosophical Works, and in Calmet’s Dissertation on Apparitions, may be found many interesting particulars relating to this fancy; and in the latter is an ample account of its origin and progress. It was imagined that men, who had been dead for some time, rose out of their graves and sucked the blood of their neighbours, principally the young and beautiful: that these objects of their attack became pale and livid, and frequently died; while the vampyres themselves, on their graves being opened, were found as fresh as if they were alive, and their veins full of good and florid blood, which also issued from the nose, mouth, and ears, and even through the very pores of the skin. The only mode of arresting the pranks of these tormentors was by driving a stake through the heart of the vampyre; a practice frequently adopted, and during the performance of which, we are told, he uttered a horrid groan. The body was then burned, and the ashes thrown into the grave.”

In John Polidori’s foreword to “The Vampyre” we learn that much of the vampire legend bubbled up through poetry and European legend as did many of the tales found in The Best Werewolf Short Stories 1800-1849. Yet not all of them. In 1679 “The Blood-Drinking Corpse” was published from a posthumous collection by Pu Songling (1640-1715) titled Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. He was an educator whose hobby, apparently, was to write down popular Chinese folktales. When he died he had collected nearly 500 of them. One of the first English translations was in 1913 and it can be presumed that none of the authors in this collection had access to it.

In response to “The Vampyre,” came the quick publication of “The Black Vampyre, a Legend of St. Domingo” by American, Robert Sands. And from there the vampire mythos fluttered off in the English language, darting from one short story to the next until in 1847 the novel Varney the Vampire, or the Feast of Blood was serialized in a London Penny Dreadful. Fifty years later the world received one of the best horror books ever written--Dracula by Bram Stoker.

From folktales to poetry to short stories to novels, the vampire mythos has developed into the robust, character-driven genre we have today—and it has done so with teeth. In my anthology are what I consider the best vampire short stories published in the first half of the nineteenth century in the English language. I hope you enjoy them.

#BestVampireStories #ClassicVampireStories #VampireShortStories

Monday, January 16, 2023

T7 by The Cure Unofficial Lyrics by Poet Andrew Barger

The Cure released Wish 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition album on November 25, 2022. It includes 24 previously unreleased tracks. And all of Curedom did a little happy dance. Robert Smith admitted that he had difficulty with the words (poetry), resulting in many of the new tracks being instrumentals. This struck me as unfortunate for someone I believe to be one of the best living poets, of the one I have read. The words of “Lovesong,” from Disintegration are beautiful in their simplicity and immensely compelling. “Plainsong,” from the same album, is a sonnet by Robert Smith to his wife, Mary. Here are my thoughts on “Plainsong.”

Wish 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition has several instrumentals and one is “T7.” We will have to wait for Robert Smith to tell whether it means Track 7, which I assume it does. Below is a poem (unauthorized) I wrote to accompany the music of “T7” by The Cure.


Climb on top. Make me feel important again, wanted again, relished again, fit again. Climb on top. Make me feel loved again, attractive again, physical again, loved again. Like nights of old. And then I will leave through the crimson door.

#songsfromalostworldlyrics #curelostworldlyrics #T7lyrics #T7RobertSmith #WishT7 #curenewalbumlyrics #robertsmithinstrumentals #thecureinstrumentals

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Raven in AI by Chat GPT


Best Horror Stories 1800-1849 Anthology

I asked Chat GPT to write a poem in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. This is what the artificial intelligence program produced. It is not surprising that it is a riff on "The Raven." "As the midnight clock struck four," is the most curious line of the bunch. AI is no Edgar Allan Poe, to no surprise! What do you think?


Once upon a midnight dreary,

As 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 someone gently rapping,

Rapping at my chamber door.

"'Tis some visitor," I muttered,

"Tapping at my chamber door -

Only this, and nothing more."

But the rapping, it grew louder -

Louder still, and ever louder,

Till I feared that it would shatter

All the silence of the night.

And at once, the door flew open,

And the raven, with a croak of "Nevermore",

Flew into the room with a flutter

And perched upon my bedpost with a cackle of delight.

I shuddered at the raven's presence,

And the ominous word it spoke,

For I knew my soul was haunted

By a sorrow I could not evoke.

And as the raven sat there staring,

With its beady eyes so black,

I knew that I would nevermore

Be free from the raven's haunting rack.

And so I sat there, weak and weary,

As the midnight clock struck four,

And the raven, with a croak of "Nevermore",

Reminded me of my sorrow evermore.

#TheRaven #TheRavenAI #EdgarAllanPoeAI #EdgarAllanPoePoem

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" Poem, an AI History


Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" is a poem that has stood the test of time, captivating readers and inspiring countless literary interpretations since its publication in 1845.

At its core, "The Raven" is a tale of loss and grief, narrated by a man who has lost his beloved Lenore. As he sits alone in his chamber, he is visited by a raven, who repeatedly utters the word "nevermore." The narrator becomes increasingly distressed by the raven's presence and its ominous message, leading him to question his own sanity.

One of the most striking aspects of "The Raven" is its use of language. Poe employs a variety of literary techniques, including alliteration, repetition, and internal rhyme, to create a sense of musicality and to enhance the overall mood of the poem. The use of the word "nevermore" as a refrain serves to heighten the narrator's sense of despair and isolation.

Another notable aspect of "The Raven" is its use of symbolism. The raven itself can be seen as a symbol of death and the narrator's inability to escape his grief. The chamber in which the narrator sits can be seen as a metaphor for his own mind, trapped in a cycle of grief and unable to move on.

In many ways, "The Raven" can be seen as a meditation on the human experience of loss and the ways in which we cope with it. It is a timeless work that continues to resonate with readers today.

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

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 marvelled 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 blessed 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 farther 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 fancy 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 lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls 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 of 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 lamp-light 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! #TheRaven #PoeRaven #EdgarAllanPoe