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Thread: Poe Short Story Discussion Group

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Poe Short Story Discussion Group



    As promised I will not start the first story until September, but I thought I would get the thread opened up. And I thought a good way to introduce this thread was an introduction to some of Poe's theories about writing the short story.

    Edgar Allen Poe's theory of the short story revolves around the idea that the work must, above all else, possess a "unity of effect or impression." The story must therefore tend toward a central and all important effect which serves as a unifying quality for the story as a whole. The author's tone, and choice of events must thus be carefully selected and crafted in such a way as to bring about this desired effect. This "effect," he asserts, must be both "novel"and "vivid." Another way of looking at this theory suggests that the author must compose the story with the conclusion, or denouement, constantly in mind. That is, each choice made in the construction of the narrative must contribute to the dominant and pre conceived effect so as to lend the story a sense of consequence. Poe argues that the incidents which compromise the story must be invented and fashioned with one impression in mind. It is this ultimate design that is the essential quality of the short story.
    Poe defined short stories as unified works of fiction that could be read in a single sitting. For him, this uninterrupted experience of the fictional world was key to the reader's experience of a short story (as opposed to that of a novel or an epic poem).
    A skillful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he than invents such incidents-he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. ~ Edgar Allan Poe, review of Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales. Graham's Magazine, 1842

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Sense it is comming to the end of the month, and the weakend is upon us, I thought I would release the first story for September's discussion for anyone who would like to read it over the weakend.

    I have choosen a personal favorite of mine.

    Ligeia

    Oneline text: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/POE/ligeia.html

    On Monday I will post an official introduction to the story

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    http://almatrafij.blogspo HerGuardian's Avatar
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    Thanks for starting the thread. By the way, our weekend has ended here in Saudi Arabia cause they are on Thurs and Fri but I'm free the coming two days to read it especially that it's a short one.
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    dum spiro, spero Nossa's Avatar
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    ^^ Yeah my weekend too ended today...lol. But it's all good, I have lots of time
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    Fan of Norman, Poe, Doyle LC_Lancer's Avatar
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    "Another way of looking at this theory suggests that the author must compose the story with the conclusion, or denouement, constantly in mind. "
    Strange comment. Some writers, myself included, let the story evolve with only a vague outline of the story set in stone.
    My weekend is just beginning so I will try to read it.
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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    If anyone does not get the chance to read it, I will give people time, I just thought I would give a heads up on the story to give people the option to read it in advance.

    Ligeia is not too long, about 12 pages.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  7. #7
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC_Lancer View Post
    "Another way of looking at this theory suggests that the author must compose the story with the conclusion, or denouement, constantly in mind. "
    Strange comment. Some writers, myself included, let the story evolve with only a vague outline of the story set in stone.
    My weekend is just beginning so I will try to read it.
    Yes that is true, but that was Poe's idea of what a short story should be and how it should be written, but I myself do not write that way. And I know others do not as well. Many let the story unfold as it goes.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Thanks for the heads up! The timing for this works out perfectly. I have some things that need my attention this weekend, but after that I can concentrate more on my reading then.

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    Of Subatomic Importance Quark's Avatar
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    DM, are you going to post sections of the story like we do in the other threads, or can we post on any part of the story? There isn't a right or wrong way to do it, but I want to make sure I'm not doing something annoying if I post on something we haven't covered yet.
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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I thought maybe at first I would just get everyones general thoughts on the story, and people can discuss elements of it they really want to talk about and bring up, and than maybe later I can start to focus on more specific parts of it. But the discussion is not to offically start untill Monday when I post a formal introduction to the story.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    http://almatrafij.blogspo HerGuardian's Avatar
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    I finished reading it and waiting for the discussion. It's so poe's style.
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    http://almatrafij.blogspo HerGuardian's Avatar
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    You can say a nice acting of the story

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cHDdvmBZtc
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  13. #13
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Oh thanks for posting that link. I will have to look into it, I am sure others will find it interesting.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  14. #14
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    I found this interesting interpitation of the story. It does have some strong langauge

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvrsR_f-99k

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    Ligeia



    Ligeia: Harry Clarke: 1889-1931

    One of the things I really like about this story, is that it is so full of depth and mystery, there is such rich symbolism which can be unfolded, deep layers beneath the surface.

    There is more than one way that this story can be read. It is not conclusive, this story can become many different possible stories, and the text can offer proof to each view point.

    One can view the story as being truly a horrifying tale of the supernatural, if one takes the narrator for his word.

    If one doubts the narrators account of the events, the story can be viewed as more physiological, a story about a grief-stricken mans terrifying opium induced hallucination.

    One could even question if the Lady Ligeia ever truly existed at all, or if from the very beginning she was always a dream? vision? Phantom?

    There have been some who have suggested the story was a metaphor for the authors relationship with the muse.

    There are many different impressions one could come away with from reading this story.

    Story Overview

    Warning: This contains spoliers to the story, so if you have not read the story yet, you may not wish to read the overview untill you have done so


    The story Ligeia is the tale of a man who meets his mysterious and beautiful one true love the Lady Ligeia, though he knows not her past, nor where she came from, he is enamored with her. She is a woman of unique beauty and unique learning, and during their days together, she sets to educating him.

    But their time together is shortened when she falls ill. He is devastated by her death, and can never forget his beloved Ligeia, he turns to using opium, until he eventually decides to marry again, but his new wife the Lady Rowena, but his new wife he loathes and is temperamental with. She too falls ill and suffers the same fate as Ligeia.

    During his vigil of the Lady Rowena's body, he imagines that he sees her begin to stir and that life returns to her. Desperate and not knowing what to do, he tries to revive her, until, the fateful moment comes when Rowena's body rises from the dead, he realizes it is not Rowena he is looking at but his beloved Ligeia.
    Discussion of the story may now begin.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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