Tales of Mystery and Imagination

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Tales of Mystery,and Imagination,E D G A R ALLAN POE. Retold by Roland John,Series Editors Andy Hopkins and Jocelyn Potter. Pearson Education Limited,Edinburgh Gate Harlow,Essex C M 2 0 2JE England. and Associated Companies throughout the world,ISBN 0 582 498058. First published in the Longman Simplified English Series 1964. First published in Longman Fiction 1993,This edition first published 2001.
NEW EDITION,Copyright Penguin Books Ltd 2001,Typeset by Pantek Arts Ltd Maidstone Kent. Set in 11 14pt Bembo,Printed in Spain by Mateu Cromo S A Pinto Madrid. All rights reserved no part of this publication may be reproduced stored. in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means. electronic mechanical photocopying recording or otherwise without the. prior written permission of the Publishers, Published by Pearson Education Limited in association with. Penguin Books Ltd both companies being subsidiaries of Pearson Pic. For a complete list of the titles available in the Penguin Readers series please write to your local. Pearson Education office or to Marketing Department Penguin Longman Publishing. 5 Bentinck Street London W 1 M 5 R N,Introduction v. William Wilson 1,The Gold Bug 10,The Fall of the House of Usher 25.
The Red Death 34,The Barrel of Amontillado 38,The Whirlpool 43. The Pit and the Pendulum 53,The Stolen Letter 62,Metzengerstein 73. The Murders in the Rue Morgue 79,Activities 100,Introduction. You have won and I have lost But from now on you too are dead. You existed in me and this body is your own See how completely you. have through my death murdered yourself, The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe are often strange wild and. highly imaginative Many of them examine in an extremely. detailed way the dark side of human existence In his time Poe. was a very original writer His stories communicate a world of. terror that comes straight from the depths of his own troubled. William Wilson 1839 is set in England where Poe also went. to school It is a disturbing story about the struggle between the. good and bad sides of a young man s character, The Gold Bug 1843 is one of Poe s most popular stories.
selling over 300 000 copies in its first year The story shows how. clear thinking can make sense of things we do not at first. understand In this case the clear thinking leads to the discovery. of immense treasures, Another strange and very frightening story is The Fall of the. House of Usher 1839 The character Roderick Usher has often. been compared with Poe himself both lived in continual fear of. death and kept apart from human company, Two more shocking stories in which death claims victory are. The Red Death 1842 and The Barrel of Amontillado 1846. The Whirlpool 1841 is an adventure story set on the. Norwegian coast in which the main character experiences. terrible fear and lives to tell the tale, The Pit and the Pendulum 1843 describes in horrible detail. the cruelty of human beings to each other and examines fear and. hopelessness at the point of death, Metzengerstein is one of Poe s early tales Set in Hungary it is. a story about the power of evil, The Stolen Letter and The Murders in the R u e Morgue.
1841 are mystery stories featuring C Auguste Dupin on whom. other great fictional characters such as Conan Doyle s Sherlock. Holmes were later modelled, The American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe was. born in Boston in 1809 He hardly knew his parents who were. both actors his father left when Edgar was a baby and his mother. died before he reached the age of three John Allan and his wife. Frances took the young boy into their home and brought him up. as their own child Between 1815 and 1820 he lived in Scotland. and England where he did well in his studies at a private school. near London Returning to America he went to study languages. at the University of Virginia in 1826 He was an excellent. student but John Allan never sent him enough money to live on. Poe turned to playing cards for money to help him buy the. books and clothes he needed but lost so much that he was forced. to leave the university after a few months, Poe was determined to become a professional writer against. John Allan s wishes and the two quarrelled He left home and. went to Boston where he joined the army In 1829 he left the. army and moved in with his aunt Maria Clemm and her. daughter Virginia John Allan died in 1834 leaving nothing to. the person he had treated as a son, Forced to make his own way in life Poe managed to get a job. with a newspaper called the Southern Literary Messenger A year. later he married Virginia who was then only thirteen years old. He had begun to drink heavily and problems with alcohol stayed. with him for the rest of his life He left his job and went to New. York He worked for different papers there and in Philadephia. and wrote and sold the short stories for which he became. famous In spite of his success he did not always receive much. money for his work and he and his family were often hungry. Virginia developed a serious disease and after five long years of. illness she died in 1847, In 1849 Poe met a Mrs Shelton and they made plans to marry. He drank less and for a time it seemed that his troubles were. over But the wedding did not take place he started drinking. heavily again and he had no money In October of the same year. The first books of Poe s to appear in 1827 and 1829 were two. collections of poetry These were not very successful and he. began to write short stories for magazines The first collection of. these Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque appeared in 1840 In the. years that followed Poe became increasingly well known as a. story writer and more collections of stories appeared in 1843 and. 1845 He also continued to write poetry and in 1845 produced. The Raven and Other Poems The Raven a cry for lost love made. him extremely famous and it has become one of the best known. poems in American literature, Poe s work includes science fiction mystery and crime stories.
Many of the tales are based on experiences of fear and sadness in. his own unfortunate life The stories in this collection are among. the best examples of his writing,William Wilson, Let me call myself for the present William Wilson I am ashamed. to tell you my real name which is known and hated all over the. world Because of my evil life I no longer enjoy the love and. honour of others and I have no ordinary human hopes or. expectations, I shall not describe the later years of my life which were full of. misery and unforgivable crime I suffered at one time from a. sudden tendency to evil intentions as all desire for goodness. seemed quite suddenly to leave me Men usually grow evil by. degrees but I passed directly from simple dishonesty to the. blackest crime I want to describe the one chance event that. caused this terrible condition The shadow of death is over me. now and it has softened my spirit I need the sympathy and. perhaps the pity of other people I want them to look for. something in my story that might lessen the shame of my guilt I. hope they will agree that no one has ever before been tempted as. I have It is certain that no one has ever given in to temptation as. I have At this moment I am dying from the effects of a wild and. terrible experience, My family has always produced men of strong imagination. and uncontrolled emotion often of violent temper and I am no. exception As I grew up these faults developed and caused. serious worry to my friends and great harm to myself My. parents could do little to change my ways because they. themselves had the same weaknesses and my voice became law at. home Since I was a boy therefore I have been able to do very. much as I liked, My earliest memories of school life are connected with a large. old house in an English village I was a pupil at this school for five. years from my tenth birthday It was at that time and in that place. that I experienced the first uncertain warnings of my terrible. future The full and active mind of a child needs no outside. interests to amuse it and my schooldays provided more real. excitement than pleasure or crime have ever given me. The unusual qualities of my character soon gave me a position. of leadership among my school friends I gained influence over. all the other boys of about my own age except for one This. one boy was a pupil who although not a relative had the same. first name and surname as my own This was not really very. strange because my name was a common one in this story I have. called myself William Wilson which is not very different from. my real name, Well my namesake was the only boy who was my equal in the.
class and in the sports and quarrels of the playground He alone. refused to accept my opinions and obey my orders and he got in. the way of my plans at every possible opportunity, Wilson s opposition annoyed me very much Although I did. not show it in public I secretly felt that I feared him I could not. help thinking that my endless struggle to avoid defeat by him. proved that he was better than I But none of our companions. recognized this none even guessed that Wilson and I were. competitors I knew that he wanted to keep our struggle private. He did not share the sense of direction or strength of will that. drove me on he wanted no power for himself His only purpose. seemed to be to annoy me and spoil my success There were. times though when I could not help noticing that he showed a. certain sympathy for me which was not wholly welcome. because it seemed to mean that he was sorry for me. It was just an accident that Wilson and I started school on the. same day and as I have said he was not connected with my. family in any way But I was surprised when I heard by chance. after leaving school that he was born on 19 January 1813. which is exactly the date of my own birth, Although I was always anxious about Wilson I did not really. hate him It is true that nearly every day we had a public quarrel. and that he always allowed me to defeat him while at the same. time managing to make me feel that he had deserved the victory. But although we could never really be friends we were never. violent enemies It is not easy for me to describe how I felt about. him I disliked him I feared him I had some respect for him But. more than anything he interested me, I soon realized that the best way of attacking Wilson was to. make fun of him But he was not easy to make fun of In fact I. was forced to make use of his one particular weakness in order to. stay ahead This weakness was his voice For some reason. perhaps a disease of the throat he could not raise his voice at. any time above a very low whisper I showed no mercy I am afraid. in joking about this unfortunate condition, Wilson got his revenge in many ways and he upset me more. than I can say One of his habits was to copy me in every detail. and he did this perfectly It was an easy matter for him to dress in. the way I dressed He was soon able to copy my movements and. general manner In spite of the weakness in his speech he even. copied my voice He could not produce my louder sounds of. course but the key it was exactly mine After a time his strange. whisper became the perfect model of my own voice The success of all. this may be imagined when I say that we were the same size and. as alike in appearance as two brothers, The only comfort that I could find in this situation was that.
no one else seemed to notice it Wilson himself was the only one. who laughed at me Why the whole school did not sense his plan. notice it being put into action and join in the laughter was a. question that I could not answer Perhaps the success the. perfection of his copy was what made it so difficult to recognize. Wilson had another habit that made me very angry He loved. to give me advice He gave it in a way that seemed to suggest that. I badly needed it I did not like this at all and I refused to listen. But I must admit now that none of his suggestions were mistaken. or unwise His moral sense was far greater than my own In fact I. might have been a better and a happier man if I had more often. accepted him as my guide, As it was I grew more and more to dislike his unpleasant. interruptions But it was not until the end of my stay at the. school that I really began to hate him It was at about this time. that I had a strange experience with him We had had a more. than usually violent quarrel and because he had not expected to. see me he spoke and acted in an unusually open way I. discovered in his voice his manner and his appearance something. which first surprised me and then deeply interested me I sensed. that I had known him before in some distant past perhaps or. in some earlier life The feeling it was more a feeling than a. thought disappeared as quickly as it came and I mention it now. simply because it was the last time I spoke to him at school. One night just before I left the school I decided to try to play. one more joke on him While everyone was sleeping I got up. and carrying a lamp went to Wilson s bedroom I opened the. curtains around his bed and saw that he was sleeping I looked. and as I looked a feeling of icy coldness flowed through my body. first name and surname as my own This was not really very strange because my name was a common one in this story I have called myself William Wilson which is not very different from my real name Well my namesake was the only boy who was my equal in the class and in the sports and quarrels of the playground He alone

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