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Dark Illustrations Of Edgar Allan Poe's World That Will Bring Out Your Sinister Side

Sometimes we open a book and discover not only beautiful words that paint pictures in our minds, but also breathtaking illustrations that only add character to our imagination. Some belong to far off worlds, while others remind us of the colorful dreams we had as children. Then there are a limited few that seem to be painted with the same brush that colors our nightmares and fears. With only a few details like a crumbling dark tower, an empty alleyway in the middle of the night, or a stranger looking through our window, the artist reaches out of the page to take us on a wild terrifying ride.

In 1922, Hugo Steiner Prag, a famous Czech illustrator based in Leipzig drew the images for the German release of a collection of poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Only a few years later, on the brink of Second World War, Steiner Prag lost his position at the university because of being of Jewish descent. He moved to Prague and then Stockholm to escape the conflict, and eventually in 1941 he immigrated to the United States, where he lived until his death in 1945. While living in New York, he was a professor at New York University and produced an exhibit for the New York Public Library.

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Here are some of the illustrations he created to go with the words of the Bostonian writer.




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I reach’d my home — my home no more —

For all was flown that made it so —

I pass’d from out its mossy door,

In vacant idleness of woe.

There met me on its threshold stone

A mountain hunter, I had known

In childhood but he knew me not.

Something he spoke of the old cot:

It had seen better days, he said;

There rose a fountain once, and there

Full many a fair flow’r rais’d its head:

But she who rear’d them was long dead,

And in such follies had no part,

What was there left me now? despair —

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A kingdom for a broken — heart.

“Tamerlane”, 1827





It was many and many a year ago, 
In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know 
By the name of Annabel Lee—

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“Annabel Lee”, 1849






The waves have now a redder glow- 
The hours are breathing faint and low- 
And when, amid no earthly moans, 
Down, down that town shall settle hence, 
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, 
Shall do it reverence. 

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“City By The Sea”, 1831




The breeze ―the breath of God―is still―
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy ―shadowy― yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token―
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

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“Spirits by the Sea”, 1829




 The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."

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“The Masque of The Red Death”, 1842



   Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; 

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 

Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow 

From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— 

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— 

Nameless here for evermore. 

“The Raven”, 1845






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Be silent in that solitude, 

   Which is not loneliness—for then 

The spirits of the dead who stood 

   In life before thee are again 

In death around thee—and their will 

Shall overshadow thee: be still. 

“Spirits of  the Dead”, 1827
















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