10 Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe | TheReviewGeek Recommends

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic who pioneered the detective fiction genre and helped popularize short stories. He is best known for his Gothic and macabre themes and dark romanticism style.

Poe’s literary works have had a profound impact on American and international literature. Here are 10 of Poe’s best and most popular books and stories. As usual, your thoughts are welcome in the comments below:

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven

“The Raven” is arguably Poe’s most famous work. First published in 1845, this narrative poem tells the story of an unnamed narrator who is mourning the loss of his love, Lenore. One night, a raven flies into his chamber and perches above his door. The raven can only say one word, “Nevermore,” which plunges the narrator into despair.

With its musical rhythm, supernatural atmosphere, and themes of loss and longing, “The Raven” epitomizes Poe’s melancholy style. The poem’s haunting refrain of “Nevermore” is one of the most recognizable lines in literature. “The Raven” was an instant popular sensation when it was first published.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Tell-Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of Poe’s best-known short stories. First published in 1843, it is told by an unnamed narrator who tries to convince the reader of his sanity while describing a murder he committed. The victim was an old man with a “vulture eye” who lived with the narrator.

After carefully planning the crime, the narrator sneaks into the old man’s room one night and murders him. He dismembers and hides the body under the floorboards. When the police arrive to investigate, the narrator welcomes them in, knowing that the body is too well hidden to be discovered. However, he starts to hear a faint heartbeat coming from under the floorboards, which grows louder and louder until the narrator confesses his crime, convinced that the police must also hear the tell-tale heart.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher

First published in 1839, this short story epitomizes Poe’s Gothic horror style. The unnamed narrator visits his childhood friend Roderick Usher at his decrepit, gloomy mansion. Roderick and his sister Madeline, the only remaining members of the Usher family, are ill and slowly losing their grip on sanity.

The narrator tries to cheer his friend by reading to him and painting with him. However, Madeline soon dies of her mysterious illness and is entombed in a vault beneath the house. The grief-stricken Roderick’s mental state continues to deteriorate. A few days later, a storm arises and Roderick reveals that he has heard Madeline stirring in her tomb. Suddenly, she appears in the doorway, covered in blood, having clawed her way out of her coffin.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Cask of Amontillado

First published in 1846, this macabre short story is set in an unnamed Italian city during Carnival season. The narrator, Montresor, wants to get revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman who has insulted him. Montresor meets Fortunato and tells him he has obtained a rare barrel of Amontillado sherry. He lures Fortunato into the catacombs below the city with the promise of tasting the wine.

Wandering deep into the tunnels, Montresor finds a niche in the wall and chains Fortunato inside. Fortunato laughs weakly, believing it is a joke, but Montresor starts walling up the niche. As he lays the last few bricks, sealing Fortunato in, Montresor can hear Fortunato moaning in terror and trying to escape. Montresor leaves his victim to die alone behind the brick wall.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Masque of the Red Death

First published in 1842, this allegorical horror story follows Prince Prospero and his wealthy friends as they try to avoid a deadly plague called the Red Death. They lock themselves inside Prospero’s luxurious abbey, holding a masquerade ball one night.

Prospero has decorated the rooms of the abbey in different colours, all except the ominous black room. As the night goes on, a mysterious figure dressed as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each room. Prospero angrily confronts this uninvited guest, but he falls dead on the spot. The other revellers then die one by one as the Red Death infects them.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Pit and the Pendulum

First published in 1842, this story is told by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition in Toledo. He is sentenced to death and finds himself in a pitch-black dungeon. A deep circular pit in the centre nearly claims his life. When he is brought before the Inquisitors again, they sentence him to death as a heretic.

He is strapped to a wooden table as a pendulum with a sharp blade swings back and forth over him, slowly descending and promising to slice him in two. As the blade nears his chest, he sees a way to escape but nearly falls into the pit again. Rats swarm over him as the walls become red-hot and start moving inward to crush him.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Published in 1841, this pioneering detective story introduces Poe’s detective character C. Auguste Dupin. Set in Paris, the story opens with the brutal murder of a mother and daughter found dead inside their locked 4th-floor apartment.

The daughter’s body is stuffed upside-down into the chimney, and the mother’s body is mutilated and decapitated. Dupin is intrigued by the bizarre, seemingly unsolvable case.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Black Cat

Another macabre short story, “The Black Cat” was published in 1843. The narrator describes how alcoholism warped his character and led him to abuse his pets and eventually murder his wife. The story opens with the narrator in jail the day before his scheduled execution.

He recounts how he used to have a great fondness for animals, especially a black cat named Pluto. But after becoming an alcoholic, his personality changed for the worse. He began mistreating his wife and Pluto, eventually gouging out the cat’s eye in a fit of rage.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
The Purloined Letter

Another story featuring detective C. Auguste Dupin, “The Purloined Letter” was published in 1845. In this mystery, the Prefect of the Parisian police asks Dupin for help regarding a puzzling case. An important government letter has been stolen from the royal apartments and is being used for blackmail.

The Prefect has searched the apartment of the main suspect, Minister D, but cannot find the letter even though he is sure it is hidden there. Dupin takes the case and through clever reasoning deduces that the letter has been hidden in plain sight rather than concealed in a difficult spot.

Best Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
Annabel Lee

One of Poe’s last poems, “Annabel Lee” was published shortly after his death in 1849. This ballad tells of the love between the narrator and a beautiful young woman named Annabel Lee. They were childhood sweethearts and their love was so strong that it was noticed and envied by the angels in heaven. However, their happiness is short-lived as Annabel Lee falls ill and dies.

Despite her death, the narrator’s love for Annabel Lee remains unwavering. He sleeps next to her tomb every night, still feeling connected to her even in death. The poem explores themes of love, loss, and the power of memory.

There we have it, our list of 10 best stories by Edgar Allan Poe. What do you think about our picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below:


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