The Pit and the Pendulum
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Members' Rating: from 28 Ratings
Edgar Allen Poe’s 1842 Pit and Pendulum is the story of a prisoner trapped in solitary confinement during the Spanish Inquisition. The prisoner’s cell is completely dark and, unable to make sense of his surroundings without light or sound, the prisoner collapses. When his eyes open, the prisoner makes a horrifying discovery. A deep and deadly pit lies at the center of the tiny space, promising certain death if the prisoner were to fall. As he contemplates this grim prospect, the prisoner notices something else he did not see before: a pendulum with a sinister blade swings sickeningly back and forth overhead. As we read on, we find that these two horrible threats are not the only ones the prisoner will have to face. How will he ever survive? Sentence yourself, if you dare, to thrills and chills in this work by one of literature’s greatest horror writers.
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Soon after his birth in Boston, Massachusetts, Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) lost both of his parents. The young Poe went to live with a couple from Virginia, where he went to school and eventually to college. Poe only briefly attended university before dropping out to embark on a short-lived stint in the military. While still quite young, Poe published his first book of poems, Tamerlane, and discovered that in writing, he had found direction for his life. Poe began to produce short stories and non-fiction prose for various publications in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Over the years, his work enjoyed increasing popularity. In the 1830s, Poe wrote many of his most famous works, including some of the very first examples of detective fiction, a genre that he is credited with inventing. His gothic tales of murder and mystery, among them The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Masque of the Red Death, thrilled readers in America and Europe. Poe’s poetry was also well received in his lifetime, and he published what is perhaps his most famous poem, The Raven, in 1845. Almost as if it was a strange tale of his own making, Poe’s untimely death continues to be the subject of much speculation to this day. In the middle of the night in October of 1849, Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in a delirious and weakened state. Wearing clothes that did not belong to him and calling out to an unidentified person named “Reynolds,” Poe died in a Baltimore hospital a few days later. Poe’s legend lives on today, with readers all over the world delighting in his enigmatic and haunting tales and devoted fans regularly paying their respects at his gravesite in Baltimore.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
Impia tortorum longos hic turba furores Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit. Sospite nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro, Mors ubi dira fuit vita salusque patent.
[Quatrain composed for the gates of a market to be erected upon the site of the Jacobin Club House at Paris.]
I WAS sick -- sick ...
Ratings for 'The Pit and the Pendulum' by Poe, Edgar Allan