Friday, January 8, 2010

Poe Fridays: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

Welcome back to Poe Fridays. For this week's discussion we tackled Poe's longest story, the novella-length The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. You can read it here.

So, I have to say that this was a lot less painful than I was led to believe it would be. It got a bit silly toward the end and I skimmed a bit when he started getting too technical on cargo holds or bird rookeries but, overall, it was just an adventure story. Our main character is a young man who sets out to sea against the wishes of his family. The gist of the story is that he would have been better off staying at home. Just about any calamity that can befall one at sea, happens to our poor lad.

On a tangent, I was interested to read that one of the boy's ships chose to look for the Aurora Islands. I learned about them when I read Hippolyte's Island this past year -- the story of a man who travels alone to the islands, finds them and then returns home to write about his journey. I didn't know that they were an actual set of phantom islands.

With next week being our last Friday before Poe's birthday and therefore our last Poe Friday (although I will post a summary of everything I read on the following Friday), I am offering it as a free day -- choose whatever Poe poem or story you would like to read and write about. Maybe there was something that we have already read that you loved and want to re-read? Or have you just been following along and would like to choose one thing to read before this ends? Perhaps I've even skipped one of your favorite Poe writings and you want to remedy it now. Whatever the case, I would love to see some participation next Friday for our final celebration of this great author. And if you were wondering, I haven't decided yet what I'm going to read but I think it might be a re-read!

Choosing to stick to dry land,


  1. I've really enjoyed Poe Fridays. I didn't realize they were ending so soon ):

  2. Wouldn't you know, I only now discovered Poe Fridays! I would have loved to participate!

    "Pym" is an odd one, I'll admit, but to be fair to Poe, I don't believe he intended it as an "ordinary" novel. It is considered a pioneer in "symbolist" or "surrealist" literature, and I think the only way you can interpret the book is to think of it as "code" of some sort.

    On the other hand, Poe himself once described "Pym" as "a very silly book," so who knows?

    Have your "Fridays" covered "The Domain of Arnheim"? That's a personal favorite of mine--I blogged about it awhile back. (See below.)

  3. I thought Pym lost steam in the middle - I was quite enjoying it for the first bit, but then thought it kinda fizzled out.

    Have we read The Masque of the Red Death? I don't remember - it's my favorite Poe story. We read it in high school, and it really caught my imagination. I think that's what I'll read for next week.

  4. Lena - I'm glad you enjoyed them! I planned this as a year long project and it has been a great one.

    Undine - I'm sorry that you didn't get to participate! I will definitely check out the story you suggested because I didn't read that one in the past year.

    Elizabeth - This really was one of the most readable stories though, wasn't it? Until the end the plot was rather straight-forward.

    And we haven't done The Masque of the Red Death. I can't wait for you to write about it!