BERENICE by Edgar Allan Poe
NOW AVAILABLE FREE ON SOUNDCLOUD!
Performed by Tony Tsendeas and recorded before a live audience at Westminster Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, where Poe is buried, this recitation happened on 29 June, 2013.
This short story by Poe was first published in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835. Poe drafted the story while living in Baltimore. The weird tale of obsession and monomania is narrated by a man called Egaeus who is preparing to marry his cousin, Berenice. Mentally deranged, he obsesses about his cousin who wastes away due to some loathsome, unnamed disease, particularly focusing on her beautiful white teeth. It does not end well for either of them…It is reported that readers were horrified and deeply disturbed by the violence implied by this story, and wrote angry letters to the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. Poe later published a censored version he himself created.