nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

silence

with 12 comments


How many stories written by Edgar Allan Poe can you name?  Certainly ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’.  Perhaps ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and ‘The Purloined Letter’.  Perhaps ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’.

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My favorite story by Poe is ‘Silence – A Fable’, published in 1837.  As many of Poe’s tales of the macabre, after numerous readings it still has the power to send shivers along the spine.  The setting of the story is vividly portrayed with words.  These were the inspiration for my painting.

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Jane Tims (2002) ‘Silence by Edgar Allan Poe’ (acrylic on canvas, 20″ X 26″)

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The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other.

From Edgar Allan Poe, ‘Silence – A Fable’, 1837

 

‘Silence – A Fable’ describes the waters of the Zaire River and a strange man who sits on a rock along the river.  A Demon in the water, wants the man to get down from the rock.  So the Demaon sends all manner of horrors: the hippopotamus and the behemoth, and the tempest with torrential rains, thunder and lightening.  But the man will not get off the rock.  So what does the Demon do to get the man down from the rock.  You need to read the story.

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For a full text of this wonderful fable, see http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/eapoe/bl-eapoe-silence.htm

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I have a book of stories by Edgar Allan Poe that belonged to my Uncle Alec.  The stories are illustrated with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg.  These engravings are, in themselves, a study in horror.  I thought you might like to see a couple of my favorites.

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Illustration by Fritz Eichenberg of the Edgar Allan Poe story 'The Fall of the House of Usher' (Poe, 1944, Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, New York: Random House)

Illustration by Fritz Eichenberg of the Edgar Allan Poe story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (Poe, 1944, Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, New York: Random House)

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Illustration by Fritz Eichenberg of the Edgar Allan Poe story ‘The Black Cat’ (Poe, 1944, Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, New York: Random House)

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I wonder how Fritz Eichenberg would have illustrated ‘Silence – A Fable’.  Perhaps illustrations can never be as frightening as ‘… and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation’.  Just try reading the story aloud!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2015 at 7:08 am

12 Responses

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  1. BEAUTIFUL work!

    For the last year-and-a-half I’ve been working on an immense POE blog project, attempting to assemble in one place every Poe comics adaptations I can find.

    I found your page as I was doing research into “Silence”. There’s a 1968 comic from Brazil which I just discovered had 4 Poe stories in it (via a selling site), but no art on “Silence”. Via my research, I just discovered Poe did both a poem and a short story, and I have no idea WHICH is in the comic. So I was looking around for various illustrations to include as “extras” until it turns up.

    It is absolutely astonishing HOW MANY versions of some stories there are in existence– and more coming all the time! So far, I have stories from 1944-79 posted, and am currently working on a PILE of them from the late 60s.

    It all starts here… enjoy!

    http://professorhswaybackmachine.blogspot.com/2015/02/poe-1943.html

    Liked by 1 person

    Henry R. Kujawa

    June 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    • Hi Henry. Awesome! I had a look at your blog, at ‘The Raven’ particularly. It is great to have these in one place. ‘Silence’ is definitely my favourite Poe story. The first on I ever read was ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’. I will have a further look and leave you some comments. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 14, 2016 at 7:10 pm

  2. I am going to have to look for my book of stories by Poe (which is not nearly as nice as yours, nor is it illustrated). I don’t remember ‘Silence – A Fable.’ Reading the words to go with your painting changed the whole feel of the images.

    Liked by 1 person

    Robin

    March 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    • Hi Robin. If Silence is not in your book, it is easily found on line. Enjoy! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      March 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

  3. You do such a great job of holding tensions in your own writing and in referencing the work of others. The painted interpretation of the quote is marvelous. What an intriguing blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Steel

    March 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

  4. What a treasure you have! I wish my eyes would allow me to read more on the screen and off. 😦
    Your drawings/paintings/presentations are always so well done. Always a pleasure to read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    ladysighs

    March 9, 2015 at 7:37 am


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