Teaching with an anthology is a fantastic way to cover a great deal of ground while keeping the content fresh and exciting. With 33 of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous works, Prestwick House's Literary Touchstone Classic: The Best of Poe is the perfect fit. Whether you're looking for examples of literary essentials like irony and symbolism, or lesser recognized techniques like bomphiologia or anadiplosis, Poe's stories and poems will both fulfill your English Language arts needs and captivate your students along the way.

Poe unique writing style combines elements of Gothic and romantic fiction. As your students read, encourage them to identify characteristics of both. For Gothicism, focus on the motifs of death, madness, isolation, and supernatural presence. For romanticism, draw attention to descriptions of beauty, as well as themes related to love and love lost. Scholars also attribute the beginning of detective fiction to Poe's disturbing tales. Compare "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" or "The Purloined Letter" to modern detective works like those of Agatha Christie or Tana French. Ask your students to consider how the genre has evolved over time.

Often referred to as "the architect of the modern short story," Poe also wrote many famous poems, including "The Raven" and "Annabel Lee." You can use Poe-try to teach your class about poetic structure and technique—meter, internal rhyme, spondee, connotation, and imagery, for instance.

If you agree that Poe really is "An Enigma," learn more about his chilling tales below!

Summary of The Best of Poe

Key Facts

  • Publication Date: 2006 (anthology); 1820s-1850s (original publication of Poe's works)
  • Length: 232 pages
  • Recommended Grade Band: 10-11

This collection of Poe's greatest hits includes "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Raven," "The Cask of Amontillado," and 30 other works.

Content Warning: Some texts contain violence.

What Your Students Will Love About The Best of Poe

  • The mysterious and dark tone of each selection
  • Learning through short works rather than long, daunting texts
  • Poe's distinctive writing style

Potential Student Struggles With The Best of Poe

  • Identifying the more obscure literary devices Poe uses

Learning Objectives for The Best of Poe

  • Identify characteristics of Gothic and romantic genres.
  • Learn how Poe's personal relationships influenced his work.
  • Consider the question of insanity of many of Poe's fictional characters.
  • Define "detective fiction" and identify which of Poe's works fall into this genre; compare these works to modern detective fiction.
  • Understand specifics of poetic structure and intent.

Literary Elements in The Best of Poe

  • Anadiplosis
  • Allegory
  • Allusion
  • Bomphiologia
  • Foreshadowing
  • Irony
  • Meter
  • Personification
  • Paradox
  • Rhyme
  • Symbolism
  • Theme

Major Themes in The Best of Poe

Death – Poe's stories are filled with murder and dark imagery.

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Revenge – Poe often focuses on the nature of revenge.

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Guilt – The powerful emotion of guilt is perhaps most famously portrayed in "The Tell-Tale Heart."

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Other Resources for The Best of Poe