Edgar Allan Poe

Adapted Classics "Hop-Frog" rated ideal format for Middle School Readers

Adapted Classics "Hop-Frog" rated ideal format for Middle School Readers
by Jerome Tiller
Midwest Book Review (MBR) thinks we adapted Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog into an ideal format for middle school readers, a review that you can scroll down to find on their "Literary Shelf". In their opinion. the lightly modified text and the striking black-and-white illustrations are two reasons why Hop-Frog is an excellent tool to introduce middle-school readers to the amazing world of classic literature.

We greatly value their opinion. Midwest Book Review is an on-line book review magazine well-respected in the book trade. They selectively review books by small publishers and independent authors. Small players in the book trade, such as ourselves, seek reviews from MBR since almost all review journals will only review books from large publishers.

The first-person opening of Thou Art the Man

by Jerome Tiller
The first person opening of Edgar Allan Poe’s Thou Art the Man had to go, so I went ahead and cut it. I promised an excuse for this in our last blog. Here you have it: I did it for our audience. I adapt classic short stories, primarily for modern, middle school readers, by adding illustrations. But I also slightly modify the narratives. I do both for the sake of the audience, especially for the youngest segment of our readers. And I do some of it because both they and I are modern.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Point of View

by Jerome Tiller
Edgar Allan Poe’s point of view is predictable. He almost always uses a first-person narrator to tell his stories. However, only one of the three stories we collected for Poe Illustrated uses the first-person point-of view in the way Poe typically did. But what does that matter? Master story-teller that he was, Poe always knew exactly what he was doing to create the effect he desired. And that’s one reason he will always remain relevant.

Three (Classic) Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

by Jerome Tiller
Three Stories by Edgar Allan Poe is the subtitle for Poe Illustrated, the latest addition to our Adapted Classics collection. I feel I need to mention the subtitle of our Poe Illustrated since there are other Poe Illustrated books out there. I believe all of them are graphic stories, identical to graphic novels in structure. If so, that sets them apart from all the stories we publish in our Adapted Classics collection.

Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic

by Jerome Tiller
Edgar Allan Poe was not sarcastic. In my last blog, posted April 10, I said Edgar Allan Poe was sarcastic. And I claimed Poe’s sarcasm was funny. I stand corrected. Going by the two dictionaries I use for reference, sarcasm is not funny. Sarcasm intends to hurt with mocking ridicule. Both dictionaries agree on that.

So that makes me dead wrong for saying Poe use sarcastic humor in the example I chose to demonstrate his humor. Either Poe wasn’t being sarcastic, or the excerpt I used wasn’t humorous. Intent to hurt cannot be funny, even when someone’s ego deserves to be chopped down to size. I don’t think I can have it both ways. The dictionaries have corrected me. A little deeper Still,...

Edgar Allan Poe was not ...

by Jerome Tiller
Edgar Allan Poe was not a humorist. Edgar Allan Poe was not a comic genius. Poe did not want his readers to die laughing—or leastwise probably not; he was, after all, a poor, starving artist and would need them to continue purchasing the magazines that published his stories. But Edgar Allan Poe was funny. He had a sense of humor and knew how to use it. Poe, being Poe, slyly inserted his humor into the framework of detective stories and macabre tales.

Poe’s humor was almost entirely sarcastic. Sarcasm falls within the form of humor called wit, which is defined as mental trickery. I addressed the subject of wit in a previous blog about Mark Twain’s humor.

But why try to thoroughly describe Poe’s...

Edgar Allan Poe Humor for Middle School

by Jerome Tiller
Whether Edgar Allan Poe’s humor will suit middle school students is a matter for middle school students to decide. I would encourage middle school students to search for the humor in Poe’s stories. I think they will like his humor when they find it.

If middle school students were to analyze almost any Poe story, even his tales of terror, they would likely find some humor either simmering along the surface or inserted between the lines. A Poe humor search would make a good middle school homework assignment. Then a great classroom discussion likely would follow. I’d bet that discussion would be fun for students and teachers alike.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Thou Art the Man, a detective story on the surface, features...

Poe's Hop-Frog - Middle-School Lesson Plan

by Jerome Tiller
I imagine Edgar Allan Poe’s Hop-Frog would fit well in some middle-school lesson plan. I can only imagine, however. Today’s lesson plans are probably tied closely to education standards and achievement tests. I am not a teacher. I do not know enough about the teaching vocation to speak authoritatively about standards or testing. Still, if teachers have the flexibility to use literature to stir classroom discussion, 'Poe’s Hop-Frog' has much going for it as a vehicle for that.

I discussed objections to exposing middle-grade readers to 'Hop-Frog' in two earlier posts. To reiterate, just because Hop-Frog, a very sympathetic character, violently revenges maltreatment by his tormentors does not mean that violent revenge is justifiable. Whether revenge can ever be justified, however,...