miércoles, 28 de enero de 2009

The Cask of Amontillado

"The Cask of Amontillado"
by Edgar Allan Poe
USA, 1846

How it starts: "The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge."
How it ends: "In pace requiescat!"

Apuleius' digressionary effusiveness notwithstanding, there's something to be said in favor of that other type of writer who can get his message across with as little wasted space as possible. Poe's seven-page "The Cask of Amontillado," for example, has always struck me as one of the most economical short stories ever, but I'd forgotten just how much of a pleasure it was to read until I picked it up again recently. The outwardly affable but inwardly calculating narrator, the Buñuelesque humor about the difference between a trowel-wielding mason and the brotherhood of freemasons, and the exquisitely controlled balance between madness and menace all add up to a perfect tapas dish for those who'd agree that revenge is a dish best served cold. Rating: 5/5 stars. Source: The Portable Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. Gerald Kinney). New York: Penguin, 2006, 208-214.

Are you a Poe fan? Tell me about it.
Want to see what the Los Angeles Times had to say about Peter Ackroyd's new Poe biography a few days ago? Read about it.

2 comentarios:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more. At a time when words were not used economically, think Dickens, Poe wrote so much with so little. I think I have a love/scared relationship with Poe, his works are so good they live with me, but they're not soothing bed time material.

  2. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the visit--I loved your comment about the "love/scared relationship" you have with Poe because the guy, as talented as he was, was obviously just a little bit creepy as a person as well as a writer. Trying to figure out what's autobiographical and what's pure invention in any writer's works is always dicey, but my particular uncertainty about these things with Poe somehow makes his fiction even more unsettling than it would be otherwise--which is saying a lot!