Read The Oval Portrait by Edgar Allan Poe Online


In this story of artistic obsession, a wounded man finds shelter in an abandoned ch�teau in the Appenines and with his valet settles into a small apartment in a remote turret. The oddly shaped room is full of paintings, and on his pillow the man finds a small book that appears to tell their stories. One painting in particular, of a beautiful girl, holds him spellbound, andIn this story of artistic obsession, a wounded man finds shelter in an abandoned ch�teau in the Appenines and with his valet settles into a small apartment in a remote turret. The oddly shaped room is full of paintings, and on his pillow the man finds a small book that appears to tell their stories. One painting in particular, of a beautiful girl, holds him spellbound, and, consulting the history book, he learns the startling secret of the oval portrait’s extraordinary execution.A pioneer of the short story genre, Edgar Allan Poe’s stories typically captured themes of the macabre and included elements of the mysterious. His better-known stories include “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”.HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library....

Title : The Oval Portrait
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 2183989
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 24 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Oval Portrait Reviews

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-04-13 18:35

    Since there are dozens of reviews already posted here, in the spirit of freshness I will focus on how Edgar Allan Poe uses this tale to convey the power of art and aesthetic experience for both artist and viewer. Below are my observations along with several of the author’s quotes.The narrator enters a room situated in a remote turret of a Italian mountain chateau, a room filled with tapestry and trophies “together with an unusually great number of very spirited modern paintings, in frames of rich golden arabesque.” This framing of works of art is no accident – by its very nature, art is a world apart; no matter how realistic, what is contained within the frame requires a viewer’s attention and imagination to be seen properly.“Long – long I read – and devoutly, devoutly I gazed.” The act of devotion traditionally appertains to religion, but, for such art aficionados of the nineteenth century as the narrator, in a very real sense, art took the place of religion. And, similar to religious and mystical experience, his art gazing evaporates the everyday experience of time. He tells us, “Rapidly and gloriously the hours flew by and the deep midnight came.” The narrator’s experience reflects what many eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Frederick Schiller and Arthur Schopenhauer refer to as "the disinterested state," a mind-set whereby we transcend the muck and grime of our petty, self-preoccupied day-to-day concerns and soar to the crystal clear psychic sky of universal beauty.Then the narrator’s attention turns more directly to the oval portrait and he spends an hour riveted on what he sees, such riveted attention moving him to intense emotional and psychological depths. We read, “I had found the spell of the picture in an absolute life-likeliness of expression, which, at first startling, finally confounded, subdued, and appalled me.” This is the potency one encounters when totally committing to the art object; in his case being, in turn, startled, confounded, subdued and appalled, states made all the more vivid by the rarefied, ethereal air of aesthetic experience; indeed, his senses and neurological pathways are washed clean and opened like floodgates for the expressive force of the lifelike portrait of the artist’s young, beautiful wife. Additionally, the mood set by the candles of the candelabra and the dark night only adds to the piquancy of his astonishing experience.When the narrator turns to the page discussing this painting and its history, we read along about a “passionate, wild and moody man" taking glory in his work, an artist who painted day and night over many weeks and who “took a fervid and burning pleasure in his task." However, the artist’s obsession in conferring life to his painting has a price: the more alive and vital his painting, the more life is drained from his tender, young wife, a process the artist, in his obsessive fervor, completely fails to register. This transference of energy crescendos with the final brush stroke - the painting springs fully to life at the exact moment of his young wife’s death.So, what are we to make of this tale? Is the painter an evil man as some reviewers might suggest? Any reader who has been touched by the muse and participates in the creative life of art, music or literature knows there are sacrifices to be made, usually sacrifices made by the creative artist himself or herself but there are times when others are impacted, either willingly or unwillingly. Where do we draw the line? We certainly don’t want to live in a flat, vapid, humdrum artless world but should such sacrifices be made as in Poe’s tale? How we answer this question is a telling sign of who we are as individuals and who we are collectively as a society.

  • Carol
    2019-04-13 15:16

    In this haunting nineteenth century work by POE, a wounded man finds shelter in an abandoned room filled with portraits, and upon reading the nearby book of their history, THE OVAL PORTRAIT of a beautiful young woman seems to come alive and mesmerize the man as he learns the dark secret of her existence.So tragic.

  • Quirkyreader
    2019-04-02 15:15

    This is a good creeper from Poe.

  • Exina
    2019-04-12 17:07

    The narrator "takes refuge in an abandoned castle and discovers a room with a series of paintings accompanied by a small book describing them. His attention is attracted by an oval portrait depicting a young woman of rare beauty."The story is eerie and tragic, and despite its shortness, fully captivates the reader.

  • Jim
    2019-04-11 18:10

    This is a short-short, only two pages, but manages to pack one story inside another &, unfortunately, left me unsatisfied. The ending was too obvious, too early, & lost its impact. It's a cool idea no matter how it is interpreted; (view spoiler)[either as a vampiric artist, sucking the life of the beauty into the portrait, &/or the way the addiction of a spouse drains the life of the other.(hide spoiler)] They're not mutually exclusive, but could be.I looked it up on Wikipedia because of something another reviewer mentioned, that it was an inspiration for The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Wiki article agrees & the dates seem to bear it out. Read the story first, though. The Wiki article is a major spoiler. can read this story for free at Project Gutenberg. It's the very last story in Volume 1 of THE WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE IN FIVE VOLUMES, The Raven Edition. If you just want the story itself, it's available here to read online:

  • Niloufar Mosleh
    2019-03-25 21:31

    بیرون را نابود کن تا درون را ببینی ..درون را نابود کن آنگاه است که روح را خواهی دید.....

  • Melika Khoshnezhad
    2019-04-20 16:30

    ترجمه‌ی فارسی این داستان:این داستان خیلی خیلی کوتاهه ولی می‌تونه روزها شما رو مشغول خودش کنه. فضای تاریک و هنرمندانه‌‌ی گوتیکش شما را مجذوب می‌کنه و مدت‌ها بعد از تموم شدنش دلتون می‌خواد هی بهش فکر کنید. این داستان کوتاه الهام‌بخش اسکار واید در نوشتن کتاب «تصویر دورین گری» بوده که بدون شک یکی از محبوب‌ترین کتاب‌های منه.

  • Vicho
    2019-04-01 13:28

    Es el retrato oval el retrato de la muerte? o es en realidad de la vida?Tuve la sensación de estar leyendo Dorian Gray meets Drácula, un caso de vampirismo con un pintor que "absorbe" la belleza de su esposa en la pintura. Una reflexión de cómo tendemos a prestar mayor atención a la representación de la realidad que a la realidad misma y no nos damos cuenta de lo mucho que hemos gastado tiempo en una ilusión, hasta ver la realidad morir frente a nuestros ojos.

  • Kathy Worrellツ
    2019-04-05 13:26

    I chuckled. I don’t think that was supposed to be the proper response.

  • Scarlet Cameo
    2019-03-26 16:29

    Un cuento que, de tan corto, te deja deseando más. El final aunque abrupto se puede inferir a la mitad del relato, pero que hace un trayecto tan apasionado que es dificil no engancharse. Por momentos recuerda al Retrato de Dorian Gray (más bien, el Retrato de Dorian Gray recuerda a este cuento. Mea culpa por haber leído primero a Wilde) aunque la intensidad con la que escribe Poe hace que la esencia se sienta diferente.

  • Andrei Tamaş
    2019-04-23 17:35

    Artistul sacrifică totul pentru artă. "Nuvela" (după cum a fost denumită) este de factură romantică şi reprezintă o anomalie a Meşterului Manole în domeniul pictural. "El era o fire pasionată, studios, auster, care, de fapt, se căsătorise dinainte cu Arta. Ea, iubind şi îndrăgind totul; urând doar Arta care-i era rivală."

  • Wilier
    2019-03-29 19:32

    Absolutamente insano, este cuento es uno de mis favoritos.No diré nada, solo léanlo.

  • Brian
    2019-04-08 20:13

    A short, Poe-goth piece. A man creates a portrait of his wife and locks her away until he finishes. You can't, in my opinion, ever lose with Poe's style, but if you'd like to watch a quick short about it, follow the link below. Watching this made me see the sad, heart piercing truth of the irony of this man's love for his art, and his wife, and the love that wins out in the end. So hurtful, but uplifting, goth-weirdness-- Poe.

  • Emilia Ann
    2019-04-24 15:34

    Poe has done it again! I love all of his work, and this was no exception. My only complaint is that it was far too short. I could have read an entire novel about the man in the chateau and the artist and his bride.

  • Ahmed Oraby
    2019-04-14 17:23

    أفتكر إني من حوالي عشر سنين أو يمكن أقل بشوية، شفت فيلم بريطاني (هكذا أوحى لي وجه بطلة الفيلم) شبيه لهذه القصة. قصة لطيفة، وكالعادة بو مزعج، ولطيف

  • Jarrett
    2019-04-15 21:23

    One of the themes in "The Oval Portrait" is submissiveness. The wife in the book didn't like what the painter was doing but she did it anyway. She also did it with a smile because she knew that it was something that her husband loved to do.A symbol in the short story is "love" even though the wife didn't like what her husband was doing she helped him anyway showing that she had a greta love for him.I think that what Edgar Allan Poe was trying to say is that if you love some but don't lie what they love to do then do it anyway even if you don't like it, and do it for them.

  • Claudia
    2019-04-02 14:16

    Despite being a short story, it's intense and captivating. It's a wonderful story

  • necromancer
    2019-04-13 20:20

    Edgar Allan Poe never fails to astound me with his work; the ending, especially, was equal parts horrifying and fitting, and entirely amazing.

  • Viji(Bookish endeavors)
    2019-04-22 19:17

    A wonderful short story. A man stays overnight in a chateau where he happens to see an oval portrait of a lady,brimming with life. It was so lively that he had to close his eyes. He then reads the story of that portrait. It was of a lady who was the lover of the painter. He became deeply immersed in his work and continued painting her for days. "He would not see that the tints which he spread upon the canvas were drawn from the cheeks of her who sat beside him." When he finished his work, he says "this is indeed life itself" only to find that the the person whom he was painting is dead. The dedication of the artist is what impressed me in this story. An above-average read with a good plot.

  • Lou
    2019-04-20 17:28

    I believe that all women over which wrote Poe are strange. All are beautiful and they die in strange way. With this short story, horror is combined with romanticism and art. It is an excellent combination.

  • Jose Moa
    2019-04-04 16:32

    The extreme love for the art and for his beautiful wife and his excesive dedication to portrait her with absolute reality ,in the end carries and exausts the life from his wife towards the portrait

  • Vaishali
    2019-03-27 16:28

    Unbelievable premise... Poe obviously never painted anything in his life, or knew any painters. We always refer to the subject, back and forth!

  • Fernando
    2019-04-23 20:06

    ¿Por qué me da la sensación de que Oscar Wilde pudo haberse inspirado en este cuentos de Poe para escribir El retrato de Dorian Gray?

  • Damaris Muñoz
    2019-04-20 20:18

    Sin duda lo hubiese disfrutado más si no fuera un proyecto escolar Para ser una historia que es clasificada en el rango de terror, no da mucho miedo. Lo que sí, presume la característica prosa muy acercada a la lírica poética que históricamente identifica a Edgar Allan Poe.Su literatura es arteLas descripciones y la continuidad del suspenso son adecuados, bien mantenido el misterio, pero el punto de quiebre no provoca mucha emoción, pues al ser únicamente contado como un hecho externo pierde la sensibilidad que le pueda causar al lector.En lo consiguiente, otra gran obra característica de Poe.

  • Amreen Siddiqui
    2019-04-05 16:07

    I love the way this book starts and I am a fan of Poe's writing.Be it the descriptions of room, the mental situations of the characters, the detailing of each thought of the narrator, the position of every object in the surrounding, the light, the sound, everything adds to the surreal experience of reading his works.*Spoiler*I love the way the story ends with just a sentence informing the death of the wife. Even though, great deal was spoken about the portrait and its creation. The final last twist of the death was given no more than the few words and that's how Poe leaves you at the end of each of his stories.

  • Maria(Mhemnoch)
    2019-03-30 14:25

    No sé por qué me empeño en leer relatos cortos si no son lo mío... bueno, sí lo sé jejeje. Porque tengo un ratito y lo quiero aprovechar leyendo.Poe, como siempre, narra muy bonito, pero me esperaba el final desde el principio.

  • Mikita SG
    2019-03-24 19:19

    Wow... estoy impresionada de como en un cuanto tan corto te enganche tan rapido con ganas de querer mas. Edgar Allan Poe OKEY I see you...

    2019-04-05 14:11

    It is only in Poe's writings that I live the joy of indescribable beauty!

  • Kikijanika
    2019-04-08 16:27

    I haven't read Poe very much so I can't really compare this short story to his other work but this was an ok story for me. *SPOILER ALERT* It's a story of a man who finds himself spending a night in a room full of paintings and a book describing these paintings. The man feels especially drawn to an oval portrait of a young woman. When he checks the book for what's written about the portrait he finds out the sad story about the painter and the girl in the picture. The girl was the painter's wife who felt like she couldn't compete with his husband's art when it came to his love and devotion. So when her husband wanted to paint her portrait and got more and more absorbed in his work, the woman started slowly wasting away, eventually dying. It's kind of a sad story and even tough it's short it captures the reader from the very beginning and keeps its hold until the end. Also despite it's short length it does not feel incomplete. of course, there would be much more to the story that would be interesting to know and the contents of the story could be easily explored further, but even this short story feels like it's providing a necessary closure for the reader to able to let go. An interesting piece of work I wouldn't mind learning more about.

  • Natalie
    2019-04-23 15:15

    A wounded traveler chances upon an abandoned chateau. He establishes himself in a room that is covered with paintings. With one twist of his candelabra he catches sight of a mysterious oval painting. The traveler is struck by the life-like quality of the young lady portrayed in the painting. In a small booklet he finds the story of the enigmatic painting. An artist frenetically paints the love of his life. So desperately does he paint that he doesn't notice what is happening to his model. He doesn't see the life seeping away, all he can see is the brilliant lifelike qualities of his masterpiece.This story was appropriately spooky. When I think of Poe, this is what I think of. The setting, the mood, the psychological terror...that's Poe.