Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

Short Story by Edgar Allan Poe

A doctor uses mesmerization on a dying man to relieve his pain, and as an experiment in staving off death. He is more successful than anyone would hope for.

This is one of Poe's most gruesome tales and I like that about it. It's very short, and without the vivid descriptions of the body, Valdemar's eyes, and his voice, there just wouldn't be enough to it. But with these lovely, disgusting little bits it achieves Poe's One Big Effect quite successfully. The sudden end of things with only a sentence of denouement makes the tale much more effective than it would be from other authors. 4 nearly liquid masses of loathsome—of detestable putrescence out of 5.

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