The Premature Burial.


The Illustrations to Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by Edgar Allen Poe, by Harry Clarke, 1919.  Click for full size.

Deep, deep, and for ever, into some ordinary and nameless <em>grave</em>.

Deep, deep, and for ever, into some ordinary and nameless grave.

Comments

  1. says

    Looking at something like that, it’s easy to see why people went through a serious phase of being terrified of premature burial. Speaking of, Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson is an excellent read.

  2. says

    Oh fuck yes. When I do look at it, I get stuck on that face, and all the emotions which go with it. I tend to the somewhat claustrophobic side of life, and this kind of thing, oh, *shudder*. I hate the idea of being trapped.

  3. Onamission5 says

    It evokes all the horror it was intended to, for sure.

    And then… there’s two more coffins beneath the unfortunate victim. I know it’s a graveyard, but it does beg the question, did they suffer the same fate?

  4. says

    There’s something off about the two corpses underneath. They aren’t in proper coffins, they are in what are almost rounds of thin wooden slats, which are propped open at the ends with more slats. I don’t know if that relates to the story, because it’s been 50 years since I read this book, and this story would not have been a favourite by any means. Anyroad, they don’t look like normal burials at all.

    Hell, I don’t even remember the plot of this story. Well, that doesn’t help at all. It looks like Clarke took license to give this depiction all the horror the story did not have.

  5. vucodlak says

    What gets to me is the bowing of the lid. I can’t help but imagine it gets little lower with each inhalation, as the soil presses eagerly down on the unfortunate occupant. The air getting thicker, more poisonously stale, harder to breath with every exhalation until it feels like warm, moist wool.

  6. vucodlak says

    @ Caine, #11

    Heh, sorry. I’ve had moderate asthma since birth, which was then compounded by toxic smoke inhalation when I was wee lad. Did you know that you can get poison ivy on the inside if you breathe smoke from a fire full of the stuff? I didn’t. The smoke smelled real nice and the day was freezing cold, so I just next to the fire and breathed deep.

    Combine the asthma and the damage from that with serious environmental allergies, and every spring for a few years I’d spend a couple of weeks in severe respiratory distress. I always felt a little bit like I imagined being buried alive would feel, towards the end of your air.

    But hey, it’s nice distraction from last night’s long, involved apocalyptic dream. It wasn’t nukes or a mysterious vanishing this time, but fungus. Mold was killing of all the animals, most definitely including humans. People going all gray-green and fuzzy, like old bread. Swelling up and exploding in clouds of lethal spores like human puffballs. Ick.

    I hate mold. Mold makes me wheeze.

  7. says

    Vucodlak:

    But hey, it’s nice distraction from last night’s long, involved apocalyptic dream. It wasn’t nukes or a mysterious vanishing this time, but fungus. Mold was killing of all the animals, most definitely including humans. People going all gray-green and fuzzy, like old bread. Swelling up and exploding in clouds of lethal spores like human puffballs. Ick.

    Gods, that reminds me of this awful B-movie (more like F), about some people (I think navy people, on a submarine) who get stuck on an island somewhere, which is populated by weird fungus/shroom people, who are homicidal, of course.

  8. says

    Admittedly my claustrophobia is very mild and usually not interfering with my being able to function completely normally, but I do not like even to look at this picture any further. So I will not.

    Sometimes the power of artistic expression can be too good for comfort.

  9. vucodlak says

    @ Caine

    Matango! I got that for my birthday last year, though I haven’t watched it yet. I know it’s certain to be terrible, but it’s the kind of terrible I like, and I’d been looking for it (at a reasonable price) for years.

  10. says

    Vucodlak, I hope you enjoy it! Watching the trailer refreshed my memory, I had it mixed up with a different flick. Matango wasn’t all that bad as B-movies go. I was sorry the whole movie wasn’t available, I would have happily watched it again. There was a pathos to the film which was quite effective in the end. I have a fondness for old scifi and horror flicks.

  11. vucodlak says

    @ Caine, #19

    I have a fondness for old scifi and horror flicks.

    Me too. I’m not sure where I first read about this one, but I have a special weakness for ‘tragic monster’ films, and it sounds like Matango falls into that category. It doesn’t hurt that Ishirō Honda directed it; I’ve enjoyed most of the movies of his I’ve seen. Even his lightest kaiju films tend to have a bit more depth than “rubber-monster stomps city.” Not that wouldn’t watch them anyway.

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