source: personal copy
author: Edgar Allan Poe
first line: MISERY is manifold.
Berenice is a favorite short story by the master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe.
How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? – from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born.
A man named Egaeus narrates this one and he tells of his family and the mansion he lives in. His mother died in his home and he was born there. He and his cousin Berenice grew up together and planned to marry, although he says he never really loved her.
During the brightest days of her unparalleled beauty, most surely I had never loved her. In the strange anomaly of my existence, feelings with me, had never been of the heart, and my passions always were of the mind.
Egaeus tells of periods of monomania that he goes through, obsessing for hours over things like a shadow or lamp flame. He falls into trance-like fugues during these times.
Berenice falls ill and the narrator begins to really obsess with her teeth. (Let me randomly mention now that teeth and eyeballs make my skin crawl.)
I won’t ruin the rest of the story with spoilers, but it creeps me out and every time I read it I get goosebumps.
Thank you Edgar Allen Poe. These short stores are perfect for dipping into during cool Fall evenings.
Read Berenice online for free here.
This has been part of R.I.P. X