Poe and the Voice of Monomania

Poe, with his gallery of monomaniacs, may be the most influential writer of obsessional horror in the English language. The horror lies not just in the macabre action but in the cadence and diction of his narrators, their way of speaking. How did you hear the narrator of Berenice or Ligeia? Next week, your project will be to create an obsession monologue of your own. For this class, as a warm up, record yourself reading the last part of “Berenice,” beginning with “I found myself sitting in the library. . .” and continuing to the end.

  • Post your recording to the google folder for your group, linked below. Put your name in the title (Michael Newbury–Berenice recording, for example).
  • Upload a separate one or two paragraph document saying what you heard in Poe and why you read as you did (Michael Newbury–Berenice paragraph, for example). This way the two files will sit next to one another.
  • Go back and listen to the recordings of others in your group before we meet. They should only be about 3 minutes each.

Group [1][2][3][4]

Here are a couple of professional performers (Dr. John and Vincent Price) reading “Berenice.” If you’re interested, have a listen. The two are very different.

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