Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 65

finis par
comprendre que ce que j'avais de mieux a faire, c'etait d'etre liberal,
et ainsi je leur accordai huitres et tortues. Leurs queues, au taux
legislatif, me procurent aujourd'hui un honnete revenu; car j'ai
decouvert une methode avec laquelle, sans avoir recours a l'huile de
Macassar, je puis arriver a quatre coupes par an. Je fus enchante de
decouvrir aussi, que ces animaux s'habituaient bien vite a la chose, et
preferaient avoir la queue coupee qu'autrement. Je me considere donc
comme un homme arrive, et je suis en train de marchander un sejour de
plaisance sur l'Hudson.




L'ENSEVELISSEMENT PREMATURE


Il y a certains themes d'un interet tout a fait empoignant, mais qui
sont trop completement horribles pour devenir le sujet d'une fiction
reguliere. Ces sujets-la, les purs romanciers doivent les eviter, s'ils
ne veulent pas offenser ou degouter. Ils ne peuvent convenablement
etre mis en oeuvre, que s'ils sont soutenus et comme sanctifies par la
severite et la majeste de la verite. Nous fremissons, par exemple, de
la plus poignante des "voluptes douloureuses" au recit du passage de
la Beresina, du tremblement de terre de Lisbonne, du massacre de la
Saint-Barthelemy, ou de l'etouffement des cent vingt-trois prisonniers
dans le trou noir de Calcutta. Mais dans ces recits, c'est le
fait--c'est-a-dire la realite--la verite historique qui nous emeut. En
tant que pures inventions, nous ne les regarderions qu'avec horreur.

Je viens de citer quelques-unes des plus frappantes et des plus fameuses
catastrophes dont l'histoire fasse mention; mais c'est autant leur
etendue que leur caractere, qui impressionne si vivement notre
imagination. Je n'ai pas besoin de rappeler au lecteur, que j'aurais pu,
dans le long et magique catalogue des miseres humaines, choisir beaucoup
d'exemples individuels plus remplis d'une veritable souffrance qu'aucune
de ces vastes catastrophes collectives. La vraie misere--le comble de la
douleur--est quelque chose de particulier, non de general. Si l'extreme
de l'horreur dans l'agonie est le fait de l'homme unite, et non de
l'homme en masse--remercions-en la misericorde de Dieu!

Etre enseveli vivant, c'est a coup sur la plus terrible des extremites
qu'ait jamais pu encourir une creature mortelle.

Que cette extremite soit arrivee souvent, tres souvent, c'est ce que ne
saurait guere nier tout homme qui reflechit. Les limites qui separent la
vie de la mort sont tout au moins indecises et vagues. Qui pourra dire
ou l'une commence et ou l'autre finit? Nous savons qu'il y a des cas
d'evanouissement, ou toute fonction apparente de vitalite semble cesser
entierement, et ou cependant cette cessation n'est, a proprement parler,
qu'une pure suspension--une pause momentanee dans l'incomprehensible
mecanisme de notre vie. Au bout d'un certain temps, quelque mysterieux
principe invisible remet

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
Page 1
” If any justification were necessary, it is to be found both in the unique literary interest of the essay, and in the fact that it is (or purports to be) a frank exposition of the modus operandi by which “The Raven” was written.
Page 2
” I cannot think this the precise mode of procedure on the part of Godwin—and indeed what he himself acknowledges, is not altogether in accordance with Mr.
Page 3
Here I say No, at once.
Page 4
My next thought concerned the choice of an impression, or effect, to be conveyed; and here I may as well observe that, throughout the construction, I kept steadily in view the design of rendering the work universally appreciable.
Page 5
which is experienced in consequence of contemplating “the beautiful.
Page 6
” In observing the difficulty which I at once found in inventing a sufficiently plausible reason for its continuous repetition, I did not fail to perceive that this difficulty arose solely from the pre-assumption that the word was to be so continuously or monotonously spoken by a human being—I did not fail to perceive, in short, that the difficulty lay in the reconciliation of this monotony with the exercise of reason on the part of the creature repeating the word.
Page 7
” I had to combine these, bearing in mind my design of varying, at every turn, the application of the word repeated; but the only intelligible mode of such combination is that of imagining the Raven employing the word in answer to the queries of the lover.
Page 8
Had I been able, in the subsequent composition, to construct more vigorous stanzas, I should, without scruple, have purposely enfeebled them, so as not to interfere with the climacteric effect.
Page 9
The room is represented as richly furnished—this, in mere pursuance of the ideas I have already explained on the subject of beauty as the sole true poetical thesis.
Page 10
A Raven, having learned by rote the single word, “Nevermore,” and having escaped from the custody of its owner, is driven at midnight, through the violence of a.
Page 11
It is this latter, in especial, which imparts to a work of art so much of that richness (to borrow from colloquy a forcible term) which we are too fond of confounding with the ideal.
Page 12
_] [Illustration] And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.
Page 13
” [Illustration] But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Page 14
_] [Illustration] Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore.
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2.