Now that I’m back at uni, things will be getting a lot (A LOT) quieter on my blog. As well as having to study three novels a week, write assignments and all sorts of other things, blogging will be on the back burner for a little while. As much as I hate this, it’s a fact.
However, each Wednesday (which is my day off), I’ll try and post reviews of the subject matter we’ve been studying. This week was a selection of Poe’s short stories; The Purloined Letter, Man of the Crowd and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
The Man of the Crowd
Length: 9 pages.
The Man of the Crowd is a pretty self-explanatory title. An unnamed man is sat in a coffee-shop after recovering from an illness (unmentioned), when it suddenly becomes very busy. The gas lights have just been turned on, so it is about dusk.
“Soon, however, I descended to details and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance.”
He sees every kind of person; gentlemen and laborers, Jews, “modest young girls” and “the loathsome”, the “wrinkled”. He sees a man of around sixty-five to seventy that peaks his interest. He follows him:
“Hurriedly putting on an overcoat, and seizing my hat and cane, I made my way into the street, and pushed through the crowd in the direction which I had seen him take; for he had already disappeared. With some little difficulty I at length came within sight of him, approached, and followed him closely, cautiously, so as not to attract his attention”.
He follows him for a whole night; “It was now nearly day-break”. And for another whole day:
“As the shades of the second evening came on, I grew wearied unto death, and, stopping fully in front of he wanderer, gazed at him steadfastly in the face.” We’ve reached the climax. The wanderer does not notice the unnamed narrator. He stops following him.
The Purloined Letter
Length: 11 pages.
Set in Paris, on a dark “gusty evening in the autumn of 18-“. The Minister has stolen a document, a letter from “the royal boudoir”. The police have searched everywhere in the Minister’s house, even taken the furniture apart. Dupin is a detective, whom the police have approached after they struggled to find the letter. He’s sort of like the first Sherlock Holmes; a bit kooky, extremely clever, bordering on genius, is very self-assured and rarely gets it wrong.
Murder in the Rue Morgue
Length: 25 pages.
This is the first story in which the reader meets Dupin. The narrator met Dupin in a bookstore whilst they were searching for the same book, one that was unknown to many other people. They met in two more bookstores on different occasions and began to talk. Dupin is from a rich, well-known family but cares little about money. He moves into the narrator’s house.
An old woman has been killed in the Rue Morgue; she had her head cut off. The police are going nowhere with their search. Dupin has proved that he has a sharp and he has a few ideas about what happened to this woman. The neighbours who entered the house after hearing screams claimed that a low-pitched voice was speaking in French, but there was another high-pitched voice that the Spaniard, Frenchman, Englishman and Italian could not place. Can Dupin solve this case like he always does?
I actually quite enjoyed all his short stories. They were all fairly short, easy to read but interesting as well.
Overall rating: 4/5