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"The Tell-Tale Heart"

Yesterday was the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, who was born on January 19, 1809. Poe is one of my childhood favorites, so I marked the occasion by re-reading "The Tell-Tale Heart", the first Poe story that I ever encountered. The story is a masterpiece of tightly-wound mania, and remarkably short and concise given Poe's penchant for long-winded, florid prose. If you haven't read the story in a while, do yourself a favor and read it again. It's truly great.

My wonderful fourth-grade teacher, Patrick Murphy, read "The Tell-Tale Heart" aloud to our enraptured class. It was one of many reading choices (Beowulf and Shakespeare were others) which seemed pretty advanced for fourth graders (and my class wasn't exactly packed with intellectuals), which was one of the things I loved about Mr. Murphy. He never underestimated or talked down to us, and encouraged us to pursue our passions, even if that meant we were out of our desks for much of the school day. He was one of the best teachers I ever had.

January 20, 2013 in Books, Personal | Permalink


Thats one inspiring teacher.

Poe was the first venerable writer I ever loved. I never encountered his work in class, but I did for some reason buy a Scholastic Books paperback in fourth or fifth grade, followed by a Washington Square Press paperback (still have it).

Posted by: Michael Leddy at Jan 20, 2013 1:02:27 PM

I've had teachers like that. Worth far more than they can ever be compensated.

Posted by: Paul Lamb at Jan 20, 2013 7:07:02 PM

Michael, I think I also had that Scholastic edition as a kid, though at some point it was supplanted by a sturdy hardcover edition including fantastic illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

Posted by: Pete at Jan 22, 2013 8:48:04 AM