In celebration of his birthday (albeit a couple of weeks late), Tell-Tale Heart is an evening dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe.
Held at the Spotted Dog (Digbeth) on Friday 6th Feb, the one off event will consist of readings, films and the occasional cupcake to honor the literary figurehead. Doors open at 7:30pm with free entry all night.
Widely known for his gothic short stories (alongside an occasional accreditation for the defining the fiction detective genre) Edgar Allan Poe also contributed a significant portfolio of poems, literary criticism and satire in his relatively short life as a writer.
Indeed Poe’s first published short story, Metzengerstein, is an ambiguous prod at the then popular gothic genre – prompting questions around the original MO behind much of the author’s more recognised works. Poe was also prominent in the burgeoning periodical and newspaper industry of the nineteenth century, both in the UK and USA, and published much of his work though publications he contributed to or edited.
But it is Edgar Allan Poe’s dark tales that stand as the man’s legacy, with works such as The Raven (Poe’s first published success – albeit not a ‘tale’), The Fall of the House of Usher , The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit & the Pendulum and the Tell-Tale Heart still cited as influences with the kings of horror today.
And whilst the Cravens and Cronenbergs can respectfully pastiche the sound of skin against metal or muffled screams behind brick, many of Poe’s prominent and recurring themes, such as death, torture, isolation, insanity and being buried alive, are often attributed to the chaotic and self destructive life the author led. Orphaned at an early age, and consistent in his struggle with alcohol abuse (which directly claimed the life of his older brother and arguably claimed his own), Poe’s personal life was far from a happy one.
Later estranged from his foster family and ‘abandoned’ by the prominent women he knew, through death or desertion, Poe manifested a conflict with the world around him – falling out with many of his literary peers and accumulating a history of professional misconduct.
And despite laudable aims to live solely off his writings, Poe’s professional pretentions to start his own literary journal were never realised. His family and love live were perpetually unstable, in many cases due to his alcohol abuse, and the man now immortalized as the ‘master of macabre’ was found dead in suspicious circumstances at the age of forty.
But Edgar Allan Poe’s work lives on – influencing each cultural generation after the man himself passed away.
So sandwiched between his actual birthday (Jan 19th) and the auspicious Friday the 13th, what better way to celebrate the dark side of both literature and humanity than with The Tell Tale Heart: Edgar Allen Poe at the Spotted Dog (Digbeth) on Fri 6th Feb.
Just watch out for a muffled du, dumm… du, dumm… du, dumm as you walk alone to the bathroom.
For more information on Tell-Tale Heart: Edgar Allen Poe, at the Spotted Dog (Digbeth) an Fri 6th visit, http://www.spotteddog.co.uk/events/1119/the-tell-tale-heart-edgar-allan-poe/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/341593309358984/
For more about the Spotted Dog, including a full programme of events, visit http://www.spotteddog.co.uk/