Sunday, December 31, 2017
Egaeus is obsessed with Berenice's teeth and for days he drifts in and out of awareness, constantly thinking about them. He imagines himself holding the teeth and turning them over to examine them from all angles. At one point a servant tells him that Berenice has died and shall be buried. When he next becomes aware, with an inexplicable terror, he finds a lamp and a small box in front of him. Another servant enters, reporting that a grave has been violated, and a shrouded disfigured body found, still alive. Egaeus finds his clothes are covered in mud and blood, and opens the box to find it contains dental instruments and "thirty-two small, white and ivory-looking substances" – Berenice's teeth.
"Berenice" was Poe’s first tale of psychological terror and it has continued shaped the horror genre to this day. What inspired it? What made it so different? Why are horror writers still influenced by it?
The Poe Museum's new exhibit, Berenice: Poe's First Horror Story, will explore the answers to these questions as well as the literary themes, patterns, and history of this important piece.
This exhibit runs from September 28th until December 31st and is included with museum admission.