illustration of a human heart lying on black floorboards

The Tell-Tale Heart

by Edgar Allan Poe

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Media Adaptations

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  • Listen & Read Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ and Other Stories is an audio-cassette recording packaged with a book. Produced by Dover Press, 1996.
  • ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ was adapted into a black-and-white film starring Sam Jaffe in 1980. It is available on video from Facets Multimedia, Chicago.
  • In 1934, ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ was made into a movie entitled Bucket of Blood starring John Kelt as The Old Man and Norman Dryden as the protagonist.
  • In 1956, producer/director Lee W. Wilder loosely adapted two of Poe’s stories,‘‘The Gold Bug’’ and ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart,’’ in his movie Manfish.
  • In 1962, ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ was made into a British movie by director Ernest Morris. Known as The Tell-Tale Heart, it also carries the alternate title The Hidden Room of 1,000 Horrors. It is available on video from Nostalgia Family Video.
  • In 1969, ‘‘The Tell-Tale Heart’’ was made into an animated film narrated by actor James Mason. A Columbia Pictures release, it is also available on video.
  • Another audio recording is available from Downsview of Ontario, Canada. Tales of Mystery and Horror features the voice of actor Christopher Lee. Produced in 1981.

For Further Reference

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Buranelli, Vincent. Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Twayne, 1961. This is a basic introduction to Poe's works, focusing primarily on his usual themes in both his fiction and poetry.

Carlson, Eric W., ed. The Recognition of Edgar Allan Poe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966. This is an invaluable collection of the best known and most influential essays on Poe and his work.

Davidson, Edward H. Poe: A Critical Study. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957. One of the most intellectually powerful and thus one of the most influential studies of Poe, Davidson's book created a new respect for his work.

Hoffmann, Daniel. PoePoePoePoePoePoePoe. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972. Although this is a highly personal and idiosyncratic consideration of Poe, it is worth reading as a psychological study of his tales.

Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1941. This is the most authoritative and most trustworthy biography of Poe.

Thompson, G. R: Poe's Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1973. An important study of Poe's use of romantic irony in his tales to create hoaxes, this work represents a new approach to Poe's fiction.

Thomas, Dwight, and David Jackson, eds. The Poe Log. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987. This is the most comprehensive biographical source for information about Poe; it includes thousands of documents and notes about his life on an almost daily basis.

Bibliography and Further Reading

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Gargano, James W. ‘‘The Theme of Time in ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’’’ In Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. V, no. 1 (Fall 1967): 378-82.

Gargano, James W. ‘‘The Question of Poe’s Narrators.’’ In College English, Vol. 25, no. 3 (December 1963): 177-81.

Robinson, E. Arthur. ‘‘Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart.’’’ In Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 19, no. 4 (March 1965): 369-78.

Ward, Alfred C. ‘‘Edgar Allan Poe: ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination.’’’ In Aspects of the Modern Short Story: English and American. University of London Press, 1924, pp. 32-44.

Further Reading
Lewis, R. W. B. Edgar Allan Poe. Chelsea House, 1997. A critical study of Poe’s works.

Quinn, Arthur Hobsons, and Shawn J. Rosenheim. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Outlines Poe’s life with special emphasis on his works.

Rosenheim, Shawn, and Stephen Rachman. The American Face of Edgar Allan Poe. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. Essays on Poe that compare his work to that of Jorge Borges and contemporaries Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Wordsworth. Other essays discuss themes such as psychoanalysis, literary nationalism, and authorial identity as it relates to his work.


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Burluck, Michael L. Grim Phantasms: Fear in Poe’s Short Fiction. New York: Garland, 1993.

Hoffman, Daniel. Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998.

Hutchisson, James M. Poe. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.

Irwin, John T. The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytical Detective Story. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Kennedy, J. Gerald. A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

May, Charles E. Edgar Allan Poe: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1991.

Peeples, Scott. Edgar Allan Poe Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1998.

Quinn, Arthur Hobson. Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe, A to Z. New York: Facts On File, 2001.

Whalen, Terence. Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses: The Political Economy of Literature in Antebellum America. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999.

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Historical and Social Context