Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poe Fridays (on Saturday)

This week's Poe selection is the short story Ligeia. You can read the full text here.

This week's unnamed narrator marries Ligeia, the perfect example of everything good, beautiful, intelligent, etc. They share a few blissful years, and then Ligeia dies. After a short time, and the purchase of an abbey, our narrator marries Lady Rowena, also beautiful, but whom he does not love. Rowena is the opposite of Ligeia - fair rather than dark, scared of the narrator rather than in love. She becomes ill, and soon dies. Then, in an typically Poe twist, the narrator witnesses the dead Rowena resurrect in the body of Ligeia.

Can you sense me shaking my head as I write this? I think what I've been most surprised about in this year of reading Poe is how he seems to write the same story over and over again. Here we have the death of a beautiful young women (as seen in The Fall of the House of Usher, Berenice, and Morella), resurrection (again, The Fall of the House of Usher and Morella), and drug use, which is in countless stories. He changes up the details, but so much of the main themes are the same - perhaps that's why, at this point in the year, I have a hard time holding interest in the stories.

This story, however has received quite a bit of critical acclaim, so it is perhaps one of his best. I found it to be somewhat long, and I didn't really feel the gothic mood that I think Poe was attempting to portray.

Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.

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