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A Little Thought on Poe BY THOMAS H. COOK

I was once asked what one-word description of a book would most likely cause me to read it. Without a blink, I answered, Haunting. Why? Because I have found to my surprise that although people will often describe a book as great, they will, upon further questioning, be wholly unable to recall a single line or scene or even the basic plot of a book that, though evidently great, proved to be not in the least memorable. It is just the opposite with Poe, whose greatness, it seems to me, resides in the fact that his readers actually remember him. In poem after poem and story after story, we remember Poe. We remember that when I was a child and she was a child, these two children lived in a kingdom by the sea. We remember the Ravens bleak warning that in the end everything dissolves into the oblivion of Nevermore. We remember the beating of a tell-tale heart and the moaning and the groaning of the bells. To remember a writer in this way is to be haunted by him, to have his words and scenes and characters forever alive in your mind. That is what true literary greatness is, and it is a greatness that was Poes.

| In The Shadow Of The Master: Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe | c