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Book Review

Book Cover

Edgar Allan Poe: Stories and Poems (Hardback)


Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Illustrated by: David Plunkert
Publisher: Classics Reimagined
RRP: £16.99, US $25.00, Cdn $28.00
ISBN: 978 1 59253 987 1
Publication Date: 20 November 2014

Edgar Allen Poe was a well known nineteenth century writer of macabre romantic fiction, penning such famous short stories as The Fall of the House of User, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death. He also produced a number of popular and influential poems, including his probably best known one, The Raven. Many of his stories were turned into films, albeit in an expanded format and he still remains a popular exponent of this sub genre of horror story telling.

Edgar Allen Poe Stories & Poems: Illustrated by David Plunkert (2015. 205 Pages) is part of a new series of Classics Reimagined, which takes well known classic novels and allows contemporary graphic artists and illustrators from around the world to place upon them their individual visual interpretation. Of course this isn’t the first time that Poe’s work has been accompanied by illustrations; in 1884 Gustave Doré provided a memorable plate for The Raven.

In the case of this current volume the illustrations are by Plunkert, who hails from Baltimore and is known for his Dadaist collages, which is displayed in his numerous works included in the book. Whilst this is undoubtedly a lovely book to own it does rather break the whole idea of the series as this collection of stories and poems never appeared together in Poe’s lifetime.

The book is unusually square, the paper thick, glossy and good quality. A great deal of thought has gone into the overall visual look of the book. Not only is the writing accompanied by many full page illustrations, there are also smaller ones dotted here and there.

You get thirty-two full page pictures, numerous smaller pieces, as well as two double page spreads. The larger pieces are mostly associated with the short stories, the smaller pieces pepper the poems. A lot of thought has gone into the production of the book and the illustrations extend to the pages edgings.

For textual content you get twelve of Poe’s more famous short stories, especially the ones that have been reimagined in other medium. Also included are The Tell-Tail Heart, The Cask of Amontillado and The Murders of the Rue Morgue. Following on from the short stories are twelve poems of variable lengths, including The Raven, Lenore, The City in the Sea and The Bells.

A great deal of thought has gone into this tome and should appeal to Poe fans, even though you’re likely to already own the stories and poems.


Charles Packer

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