Friday, July 17, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Devil in the Belfry

This week's Poe Fridays short story is The Devil in the Belfry. If you haven't read it yet, you can find it online here.

This was a strange little story (is there any other kind with Poe?) about a tiny Swiss town called Vondervotteimittiss. This town exists in a small circular valley and has remained the same for as long as anyone can remember. Everyone lives in identical little houses and they all look the same. They focus their lives on two things -- cabbages for sauerkraut and timepieces. Their pride and joy is the large seven-sided clock tower in the center of town. It sets the pace of their lives. One day, a strange man comes to town and basically destroys the entire place by doing one thing ... making the clock strike thirteen times at noon. This throws the whole town into turmoil and the narrator asks if anyone is willing to go to the town to set things straight.

This was a very odd one indeed. It was amusing it its descriptions of a strange little town that is truly out of time. The only action in the story is in the last few paragraphs. Poe's stories are usually slow starters but this one almost never got going. I'm not really sure what the point or moral would be either. I am really interested to hear the other reactions out there to this one!

I think I need something a little more concrete for next week so let's do the short story Morella.

Letting go of my time obsession a bit,


  1. How funny...I was just in Switzerland and came across some little towns that I can imagine this type of thing occurring in!

  2. Timepieces are fascinating, and make wonderful images.

  3. Laura - How fun! So it's not unbelievable for a town to sit unchanged for hundreds of years ...

    Maggie - I agree. They are constant but unique.

  4. It was definitely a bit strange. I think finding out that it was some sort of weird response-piece by Poe helped it make more sense to me.

    I'm not sure if I will be able to post for the next couple of weeks due to vacations, but I'll catch up when I'm home again. =)

  5. Elizabeth - We'll miss you while you're away. You're a good reading partner!

  6. Here's my link . . . yep late again!