Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe

"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe (1843, 10 pages)

Stories About Cats Day-Part I

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 to 1849-Boston, Massachusetts, USA) is one of pioneers of the short story.    His work is part of the Gothic horror tradition and he is considered the creator of the detective story.   He is a tremendously influential author and all of his work is part of the canon.

I have previously posted on his  "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The. Tell Tale Heart.      Poe lived a short very troubled life (there is some background information on him in my prior posts).   His work shows a fixation on madness, death, drugs and alcohol.  

I have wanted to read more of Poe's short stories for some time.    Almost everyday I check East of the Web: Short Storiesn to see what is their short story of the day.    Yesterday it was Poe's "The Black Cat".   Given that I am a sucker for any work with "cat" in the title I decided I wanted  to read it.    

"The Black Cat" is a very scary story.   I ended up hating the central character in the story because of his cruelty to his cats.    Poe creates a powerful atmosphere of impending doom in the story.    He also makes reference to alcoholism as a disease.   I do not want to tell the plot of the story as that will spoil the fun for those who have not yet had the pleasure of reading "The  Black Cat".

"The Black Cat" is very knowing in its treatment of the mind set of a guilt ridden alcoholic.    The lead character, to me, was a very unsympathetic figure.    I did not see the surprise ending coming but I liked it a lot when I read it.   

The Short Stories of Poe are fundamental reads for any lover of the form. "The Black Cat" is perfectly written and kept me very interested throughout.

Mel u


Kris said...

I thought I'd read all Poe's work - he was my first foray into 'grown up' literature - but I either didn't, or can't remember reading The Black Cat. I will have to read it for sure! Thanks for posting this.

Mel u said...

Kria-thanks for stopping by-I hope you enjoy this story-do you have a favorite Poe?

Mel said...

I will read this story later tonight. Maybe not such a good idea if it is really creepy :) Many thanks for post.

Mel said...

Did read it, with my beautiful cat asleep on my lap. Like Tell Tale Heart, the final scene packs a strong punch doesn't it?

Mel u said...

Mel-glad you read and enjoyed the story-cat lovers are going to react strongly to it

Fred said...

Mel u,

One of my favorite Poe tales.

If you're interested in stories about cats and the fantastic, I would recommend _Magicats_, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois.

It includes stories by superb writers: Gene Wolfe, Stephen King, Fritz Leiber, Cordwainer Smith, Ursula LeGuin, and Manley Wade Wellman.

Unknown said...

i absolutely love this story. i use it in class to address poe (most have already read cask, house of usher, pit and pendulum, but don't know this one), gothic romanticism and the unreliable narrator...great stuff!!! so glad to read a post about it!

Mel u said...

Fred-yes I am interested in short stories featuring cats-thanks very much for your suggestion

Stephanie Hasty-I am just starting to read Poe-I will soon read your suggestions and I thank you as always for your comments