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Ligeia


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Edgar Allan Poe (1809—1849) American short-story writer, poet, and critic

Conqueror Worm

 

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Tale by Poe, published in 1838 and reprinted in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840). The poem “The Conqueror Worm” was not included in the tale until 1845.

An aristocratic young man marries Ligeia, a woman of strange, dark beauty and great learning. They are deeply in love, and share an interest in the occult, until a wasting illness triumphs over Ligeia's passionate will to live, and she dies. In melancholy grief, her husband leaves his lonely home on the Rhine to purchase an English abbey, where he grows mentally deranged under the influence of opium. He marries fair-haired Lady Rowena Trevanion, although they are not in love, and Rowena soon dies in a strange manner. Her husband watches by the bier and sees signs of returning life in the body, but considers these to be hallucinations. At last she rises to her feet and loosens the cerements from her head so that masses of long black hair stream forth. When she opens her eyes, he realizes that the lost Ligeia's will to live has triumphed, for she has assumed what was formerly the body of Rowena.

Subjects: Literature.


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