Friday, September 11, 2009

Poe Fridays: The Spectacles

The short story The Spectacles was the Poe Fridays choice for this week. You can read it here.

This is an amusing story that takes a couple pages to get going but then it's quite quick and humorous. The narrator is a young man who is quite vain and refuses to wear spectacles to improve his poor vision. He is at the opera with a friend and notices a woman of exquisite form up in a box. He decides that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and that it is love at first sight. He then attempts to meet her but is thwarted by not having an introduction. He writes her a letter but nothing more can be done properly. Eventually he throws propriety to the wind and finds her on a twilight walk and professes his love. She takes him to a dark salon and eventually agrees to marry him on one condition -- that he begin wearing spectacles. He says he will start on the day they are married which they decide should be the next day. They marry before dawn and what follows is somewhat predictable but still hilarious!

This was a strangely lighthearted piece for Poe. There was no gruesome side to it and in fact the ending was better than the narrator deserved. Perhaps Poe was doing well at this point and had a temporarily brighter outlook on life.

We will postpone next week's Poe Fridays due to the festivities of BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week). Our next date will be September 25 and the selection will be the first of our seasonal stories, The Premature Burial.

Not letting vanity make a fool of me,


  1. I know that I know that I know that I've read this story before but I cannot recall much about it for the life of me. I'll be digging into my Poe this weekend for Short Story Sunday and I think I'll start with this one because it sounds like a fun one that I need to be reminded of.

    If you are not doing so, please post links to your Poe Fridays on the R.I.P. Review Site. Short Story Sundays is really just a name that rolls off the tongue. If you read any R.I.P. related short stories and post about them I'd love to see you link to them over there to give readers a chance to pop over here.

  2. YAY! I'm caught up, thank heavens. My post is up here -

    I really liked this week's story - it was funny!

  3. Carl - I didn't recognize it either. It was a pleasant surprise. And I will be sure and add my Poe links to the RIP site.

    Elizabeth - Great! Good to have you back.

  4. Sorry, just came upon this. It's my hope that, as you continue poring through Poe's oevre, it becomes clearer that Poe's horror is only a small portion of his work (less than 1/3 of his prose). Humor stories like "The Spectacles" are quite common in Poe's collected works. I'd be happy to recommend some if you'd like.

  5. Thanks, Rob. Yes, we've seen quite a bit of variety so far in the stories and poems I've randomly chosen. My favorite funny one for some reason was Why The Little Frenchman Wears His Hand in a Sling. I couldn't stop chuckling.

    I hope you head back through the archives!