have to say I opened this book with great excitement.
I have often heard Poe described as the master of horror, but his stories cover several different genres. If anything I'd say Poe was a romantic, and on more than one occasion I wondered if he was bi-sexual as he describes male and female with equal amounts of fervency.
In The Narrative of 'A Gordon Pym of Nantucket', he describes a relationship between two men that transcends the boundaries of a platonic friendship. Arthur's relationship with Augustus, a boy two years his senior, is described as 'intimate' and mentions more than once that they slept in the same bed. There seems to be no other reason for mentioning this than to let the reader know that he was not opposed to same-sex relationships. Homosexuality at that time was an imprisonable offence.
Throughout his works, Poe writes in French or German as well as English. He was an intelligent man and he liked his readers to know this, but it would have been nice for him to translate the meaning in English, as he omits to do so on more than one occasion.
I found he used too many words and made the stories long and hard going. For instance in 'The Thousand' and 'Second Tale of Scheherazade':
"The king's curiosity, however, prevailing, even over his sound religious principles, induced him for this once to postpone the fulfilment of his vow until the next morning, for the purpose and with the hope of hearing that night how it fared in the end with the black cat (a black cat I think it was) and the rat."
I am sure there was an effortless way of saying: 'The king didn't kill Scheherazade that night because he wanted to find out what happened to the black cat and the rat'. Oh yes, so there is, and I just did it.
Poe uses a lot of long words, and it comes across as pretentious.
I did get engrossed in many of his stories because he tells a good tale. Because he is 'Poe', his works are a must for the library of any literary buff or even any avid reader.
I'd give it an overall 7/10, but I'd say if you like to class yourself as an avid reader, then you have to read it along with the works of Shakespeare.