Globalization Poverty Development Sustainability
It seems to me that imagination and reasoning have reached magnificent heights with some writers, especially poets. Among them, I strongly believe, the highest ever was Edgar Allan Poe. With Baudelaire I state that "le poete est souverainement intelligent, qu'il est l'intelligence par excellence, -et que l'imagination est la plus scientifique des facultes, parce que seule elle comprend l'analogie universelle...". One of those poets was Edgar Allan Poe. I reproduce here "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe" as a gesture against what Baudelaire called "la ferocite de l'hypocrisie bourgeoise", and what I personally call mediocrity, imbecility, and comprehensive intellectual dishonesty, all of which is presented as "realistic thinking". And, as we know, contemporary development studies are full of  "realistic thinking". So, let us learn something from Edgar Allan Poe!.  (Róbinson Rojas)
The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe V. 1
Volume 1 of the Raven Edition  #6 in our series by Edgar Allan Poe

VOLUME II  Contents
The Purloined Letter
The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherezade
A Descent into the Maelström
Von Kempelen and his Discovery
Mesmeric Revelation
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
The Black Cat
The Fall of the House of Usher
Silence -- a Fable
The Masque of the Red Death
The Cask of Amontillado
The Imp of the Perverse
The Island of the Fay
The Assignation
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Premature Burial
The Domain of Arnheim
Landor's Cottage
William Wilson
The Tell-Tale Heart
Eleonora                                       BACK TO MAIN INDEX
The Tell-Tale Heart.
    TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and
am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my
senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of
hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I
heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe
how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once
conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none.
Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me.
He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think
it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a
pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my
blood ran cold; and so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my
mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye
Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you
should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -
with what caution - with what foresight - with what dissimulation I
went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole
week before I killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned
the latch of his door and opened it - oh so gently! And then, when I
had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern,
all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my
head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in!
I moved it slowly - very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb
the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within
the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha!
would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was
well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously -
cautiously (for the hinges creaked) - I undid it just so much that a
single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven
long nights - every night just at midnight - but I found the eye
always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was
not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every morning,
when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke
courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and
inquiring how he has passed the night. So you see he would have been
a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at
twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.
Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the
door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never
before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers - of my
sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think
that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even
to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the
idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as
if startled. Now you may think that I drew back - but no. His room
was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were
close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could
not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily,
I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb
slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed,
crying out - "Who's there?"
I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move
a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was
still sitting up in the bed listening; - just as I have done, night
after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.
Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of
mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief - oh, no! - it
was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul
when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just
at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own
bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted
me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied
him, although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying
awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the
bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been
trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to
himself - "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney - it is only a
mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merely a cricket which has made
a single chirp." Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with
these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain;
because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow
before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful
influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel -
although he neither saw nor heard - to feel the presence of my head
within the room.
When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him
lie down, I resolved to open a little - a very, very little crevice
in the lantern. So I opened it - you cannot imagine how stealthily,
stealthily - until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of
the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture
It was open - wide, wide open - and I grew furious as I gazed upon
it. I saw it with perfect distinctness - all a dull blue, with a
hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I
could see nothing else of the old man's face or person: for I had
directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.
And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but
over-acuteness of the sense? - now, I say, there came to my ears a
low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in
cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old
man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum
stimulates the soldier into courage.
But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held
the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray
upon the eve. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It
grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. The
old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say,
louder every moment! - do you mark me well I have told you that I am
nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the
dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this
excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I
refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I
thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me - the
sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come!
With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room.
He shrieked once - once only. In an instant I dragged him to the
floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to
find the deed so far done. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on
with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be
heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I
removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone
dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes.
There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eve would trouble me
no more.
If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I
describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body.
The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I
dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.
I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and
deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so
cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye - not even his - could have
detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to wash out - no stain of
any kind - no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A
tub had caught all - ha! ha!
When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock - still
dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking
at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart, - for
what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced
themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek
had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul
play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police
office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the
I smiled, - for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The
shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was
absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade
them search - search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I
showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of
my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here
to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of
my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath
which reposed the corpse of the victim.
The officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was
singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they
chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale
and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my
ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more
distinct: - It continued and became more distinct: I talked more
freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained
definiteness - until, at length, I found that the noise was not
within my ears.
No doubt I now grew _very_ pale; - but I talked more fluently, and
with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased - and what could I
do? It was a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch
makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath - and yet the
officers heard it not. I talked more quickly - more vehemently; but
the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a
high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily
increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro
with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the
men - but the noise steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? I
foamed - I raved - I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been
sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all
and continually increased. It grew louder - louder - louder! And
still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they
heard not? Almighty God! - no, no! They heard! - they suspected! -
they knew! - they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought,
and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything
was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those
hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! and
now - again! - hark! louder! louder! louder! louder!
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! - tear
up the planks! here, here! - It is the beating of his hideous heart!"
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