Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tales: Ligeia


(originally published September 1838 in Baltimore American Museum. Republished February 1845 in New York World with added poem “The Conqueror Worm”)

Thought by Poe himself to be his greatest work, this haunting tale, like “Morella” and “Berenice”, centers on the idea of someone—specifically, a woman—coming back from the dead. Ligeia, the narrator's wife, is a woman of startling beauty and remarkable inner strength. After she dies, the narrator remarries, but does not love his new wife (Rowena), and keeps her confined to a strange room in the house. Missing Ligeia, the narrator sinks deep into depression. Rowena gets sick, and also dies. Watching her corpse, the narrator begins to detect signs of life returning. But is it Rowena who is returning, or is it someone else? 

Summary written by Taylor Colegrove, May 2011. Title links to the full text of the 1845 version of the story.

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