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  • Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Karen Coats
Poe, Edgar Allan Poe: Stories and Poems; ad. and illus. by Gareth Hinds. Candlewick, 2017 120p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-8112-8 $22.00
Paper ed. ISBN 978-0-7636-9509-5 $14.00 R Gr. 6-9

The stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe have always had textual appeal; in this graphic treatment of four adapted and abridged stories and three poems, Hinds explores their visual potential as well. Beginning with “The Masque of the Red Death, ” he gives readers a gruesome visual understanding of how the Red Death disease got its name before chronicling the protagonist prince’s frenzied and ultimately futile attempts to ward off death with antic displays of life. The vaults of “The Cask of Amontillado” are imagined through a visual invocation of the cata-combs of Paris, while the grisly imagery of “The Tell-Tale Heart” is both powerfully evoked and effectively restrained. Though the art retains the poem’s melancholy mood, the imagery that accompanies “Annabel Lee” is lighter in both color and content, while “The Bells” is a study in stark visual contrasts and “The Raven” offers a vision of Poe’s own imaginative process throughout the poem’s progression. “The Pit and the Pendulum” proves the standout of the collection for both pacing and visual impact, making use of line, color changes, and perspective shifts to highlight the agony and suspense of the prisoner’s circumstances. Throughout his interpretations of the stories, Hinds picks out scene-setting phrases and provides a few definitions of arcane usages. Hinds codes each tale with miniature icons that indicate the recurrent thematic motifs readers will find in each story—for instance, a coffin for premature burial, a skull for death, a keyhole for confinement, etc. With each treatment, Hinds remains true to, and even enhances, Poe’s injunction that the power of a short piece should lie in its “unity of effect.” Notes on the stories conclude the book.



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