Edgar Allan Poe is one of America's most famous, and most misunderstood, men of letters. As this book shows, he was much more than just a horror writer.
He made his living, such as it was, with his pen, so he did all sorts of writing. He wrote satire, comedy, poetry, adventure and gothic stories. He was also one of the originators of the mystery genre, along with being an inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle. Poe was also known as a literary critic; others may have disagreed with him, but they could not discount his arguments. He did not write easy-to-read, "tabloid" fiction; his stories required some effort on the part of the reader.
The stories that one would expect in any Poe collection are here, like "The Purloined Letter," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Masque of the Red Death." Included is one of his many satires, looking exactly like a newspaper article describing a successful trans-Atlantic trip by balloon. In the 1840s, the public was abuzz with talk of balloon trips across the Atlantic greatly shortening the travel time. Poe simply took that national obsession and ran with it.
With illustrations by Harry Clarke, this book is very much worth reading. It's good for scholars and researchers looking for lesser-known Poe works. It's good for those who enjoy 19th Century writing. It's also good for those who like a variety of really good writing. It gets two thumbs-up.