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The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Stories…
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The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Stories (originale 1842; edizione 1995)

di Edgar Allan Poe (Autore)

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Edgar Allen Poe is seen today as one of the greatest practitioners of gothic and detective fiction that ever lived, and popular culture is replete with references to him. In "The Pit and the Pendulum," one of his most famous short works, a condemned man is judged guilty by the Spanish Inquisition and sentenced to die. Locked away in a pitch-black cell, he soon discovers a pit in the center of the room, a watery grave at its base. Above him hangs a large, razor-sharp pendulum. As the man is slowly tortured, he must face either the pit or the pendulum.… (altro)
Utente:ednasilrak
Titolo:The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Stories
Autori:Edgar Allan Poe (Autore)
Info:Penguin Books (1995), Edition: Later Edition, 64 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Voto:****
Etichette:project-book, 1001btrbyd

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The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Stories di Edgar Allan Poe (1842)

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I've previously written that regardless of what or who came before, it all really starts with Lovecraft and I stand by that. However, that said, I've been a huge Poe fan my entire life and I feel that he's generally more famous for a reason -- he's damn good! I love his work and I think he was very original in many of his works, including this one, but I subjectively feel Lovecraft did him one better, if only subtly. In other words, for me, Lovecraft is 1A and Poe is 1B. Together, they're simply unbeatable. Very recommended! ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 14, 2020 |
I love Edgar. I know of no one else who can paint with words as well as he. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |
I love Edgar. I know of no one else who can paint with words as well as he. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |


At age twelve I was given my first introduction to the world of literature by my mother who read me Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum. I can still vividly recollect living through the horrors of the chamber with the unnamed narrator, wondering why Christian monks would construct such a room and why Christian monks would inflict such torture. I still wrestle with a number of the story’s themes.

SADISM
Why do such a thing? The story’s torture chamber is not a makeshift construction slapped together; rather, with its pendulum descending in mathematical precision and its collapsing metal walls turning red hot, to assemble such a bizarre, intricate room would take sophisticated engineering, huge resources and lots of time, perhaps years. What does such a room say about the Western monastic tradition and the mentality of monks?

In The Distant Mirror, The Calamitous 14th Century author Barbara W. Tuchman richly portrays the psychology of these chaotic, disorderly times. For example, she writes, “In village games, players with hands tied behind them competed to kill a cat nailed to a post by battering it to death with their heads, at the risk of cheeks ripped open or eyes scratched out by the frantic animal’s claws. Trumpets enhanced the excitement. Or a pig enclosed in a wide pen was chased by men with clubs to the laughter of spectators as he ran squealing from the blows until beaten lifeless. Accustomed in their own lives to physical hardship and injury, medieval men and women were not necessarily repelled by the spectacle of pain but rather enjoyed it. It may be that the untender medieval infancy produced adults who valued others no more than they had been valued in their own formative years.”

Nowadays, we have a name for “untender infancy”: child abuse. We also have a word for enjoying the spectacle of pain inflicted on others: sadism. Of course, the effects of child abuse and living in a society accepting sadism as the norm would not disappear when men became monks. What undoubtedly added fuel to this psychological fire was a religion and theology giving a central place to guilt and sin and thus turning men against their own bodies and, more specifically, again their own sexuality.

Reaching absolute conclusions about the mindset of peoples living centuries ago can never be an exact science, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to understand how such a life in such a time would produce a population of dark, twisted people. Poe’s tale takes place in 1820s not the 1350s, but how much did the psychology of the monasteries really change in these years?

ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
In the beginning stages of the narrator’s ordeal, he conveys the following, “Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound – the tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and motion and touch – a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the mere consciousness of existence, without thought – a condition which lasted long.”

Teachers within the various yoga and Buddhist traditions talk about the "consciousness of existence, without thought," that is, the gap between thoughts. In such a gap between thoughts we are given a glimpse of the ground of being, pure awareness of space. This awareness can be developed through meditation or occasionally experienced through such things as hallucinogens, trance, or, as with the narrator of Poe’s tale, extreme emotional states.

FEAR
Adding to the fear of actual physical suffering, there is the fear we project with our minds and imaginations. The narrator’s imagination is afire: “And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of Toledo. Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated – fables I had always deemed them – but yet strange and too ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterranean world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited me?” Fear thrives on our projecting into the future: whatever pain or agony we are currently experiencing, there is always the ever-present possibility our plight will become worse.

HOPE AND GOOD FORTUNE
The narrator is forever hopeful and it’s the narrator’s hope coupled with his fear and sufferings that gives the tale its emotional depth and breath. And, as it turns out, good fortune or what we more commonly call ‘luck’ follows the narrator at three critical junctures in the tale. Oh, Fortuna, if we could all have such good fortune and luck at critical points in our own lives!


“I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness - the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
“El Pozo y el Péndulo” es un relato corto que nos narra en primera persona el dolor, sufrimiento, desesperación, ansiedad, abandono, horror, angustia, vacío y la falta de esperanzas del protagonista, quien se ve encerrado en un calabozo de tortura, puesto allí por la Inquisición Española. En este calabozo a nuestro protagonista no le espera más que la muerte, está sentenciado por un acto que nunca se describe, pero sabemos cuál es la consecuencia.

Oscuridad, ratas, hambre, sed, un pozo y un péndulo… ¿lanzarse al pozo y morir rápidamente en su profundidad? ¿Esperar a que descienda el péndulo con sus movimientos y sonidos particulares?

Poe atrapa al lector con un relato breve pero de un lectura continua, sin interrupciones, Poe nos coloca en sus manos y acapara toda nuestra atención; nos secuestra emocionalmente hablando.

Un relato que parece ser predecible y que aún así puede llegar a sorprender. “El Pozo y el Péndulo” es una de las bases de la literatura de terror, una que debemos leer si nos gusta el género o la literatura en general, Poe es un genio y lo deja implantado en otra de sus tantas obras. ( )
  JorgeLC | Apr 28, 2018 |
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This edition of The Pit and the Pendulum together with three other stories, The Black Cat, The Tell-tale heart and The Premature Burial, was published in 1995 as one of the small Penguin 60s series to mark the 60th anniversary of Penguin Books. Most, if not all, of the other collections of Poe's stories under this title contain more stories. Please do not combine this collection with others of different content.
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Edgar Allen Poe is seen today as one of the greatest practitioners of gothic and detective fiction that ever lived, and popular culture is replete with references to him. In "The Pit and the Pendulum," one of his most famous short works, a condemned man is judged guilty by the Spanish Inquisition and sentenced to die. Locked away in a pitch-black cell, he soon discovers a pit in the center of the room, a watery grave at its base. Above him hangs a large, razor-sharp pendulum. As the man is slowly tortured, he must face either the pit or the pendulum.

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