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The Premature Burial

The Premature Burial is a horror short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. The story begins with the narrator bringing up cataclysms like the Lisbon Earthquake and the Plague of London and all of the death and destruction they caused. He starts with this background to emphasize how people are naturally drawn to these horrific events, but also to explain that even with these horrors, it's individual deaths that seem more poignant and painful: 'the ghastly extremes of agony are endured by man the unit, and never by man the mass.' Our individual deaths are what haunt people, and the narrator capitalizes on this, while also asking the eternal question of where the soul goes upon death. The narrator goes on to tell stories about men and women who were accidentally interned before they were actually dead. In one example, a congressman's wife had taken ill and supposedly died. The doctors pronounced her dead and had her placed in the family burial vault… In contrast with the majority of Poe's stories, which involve a first-person narrator describing their contact with situations of Gothic horror, The Premature Burial deals with the psychological effects of the frightening experiences of others on an ordinary person who in the end faces only imagined suffering. Listen online to free English audiobook "The Premature Burial” on our website to experience Edgar Allan Poe's novel.

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