Poe is famous for his tales of terror and horror. For over 150 years, readers have reveled in the suspense and shock of his “grotesques,” stories steeped in disease, destruction, and death. “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” were originally printed in publications designed to reach sizeable numbers of readers—the “gift book” and the mass-market magazine.
Here they are accompanied by exquisitely illustrated editions that brought the tales up to date for later readers. An 1899 edition of “The Pit and the Pendulum” includes sinister drawings by Symbolist artist William Thomas Horton. A 1919 edition of Tales of Mystery and Imagination contains a menacing illustration for “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Harry Clarke, a disciple of the Arts and Crafts Movement. For an edition of The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe published in 1894-95, English artist Aubrey Beardsley produced this Art Nouveau drawing for “The Fall of the House of Usher.” And in 1931, American cartoonist Abner Epstein interpreted the story anew with his haunting imagery.