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Editorial Reviews

A pioneer of the horror genre, Edgar Allan Poe was a chilling explorer of humankind’s most primal fears. In "The Premature Burial", Poe delves into one such commonly held terror.

An unnamed narrator describes his struggle with "catalepsy", which causes him to fall into a deep sleep. This condition leads to his fear of being buried alive. As the story progresses, the narrator obsesses over anecdotes from others who were buried alive.

David Ely makes this story of dread believable (and infinitely scarier) with his rich voice and matter-of-fact tone.

Publisher's Summary

The Premature Burial is a horror short story on the theme of being buried alive, written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Fear of being buried alive was common in this period and Poe was taking advantage of the public interest.

In The Premature Burial, the first-person unnamed narrator describes his struggle with "attacks of the singular disorder which physicians have agreed to term catalepsy," a condition where he randomly falls into a death-like trance. This leads to his fear of being buried alive ("The true wretchedness," he says, is "to be buried while alive."). He awakens one morning to find his worst fears realized!

©1844 Works of Edgar Allan Poe; (P)1985 Jimcin Recordings

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