PodCastle Miniature 19: Cask of Amontillado

By Edgar Allen Poe
Read by Cheyenne Wright

I said to him –“My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

“How?” said he. “Amontillado, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”

“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”

“Amontillado!”

“I have my doubts.”

“Amontillado!”

“And I must satisfy them.”

“Amontillado!”

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me –”

“Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.

“Come, let us go.”

“Whither?”

“To your vaults.”

Rated R. Happy Halloween.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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25 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Rachel said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 12:16 am

    Just so people know – today’s outro is brought to you courtesy by a friend doing a last minute favor. I have bronchitis, so while my voice might go well with Halloween, it would probably also be unintelligible. Your regularly scheduled voices will return next week.

  2. 2

    Hyperion said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 7:17 am

    Best. Reading. Ever.

    PodCastle is remarkable, not only for the variegated and supernal stories presented, but for some excellent and imaginative readings as well.

    So I write what I write, not flippantly, but with full understanding of the excellent narration that has come before.

    Best. Reading. Ever.

    I refuse to argue about this.

    Not only is Cheyenne Wright’s narration a pitch-perfect reading of one of the most notoriously difficult stories to convey, but I think it actually surpasses James Earl Jones’s rendition of The Raven.

    The Cask of Amontillado is my favorite Poe story, and I cannot convey my joy to hear such a respectful resounding rendition.

    I am left in awe.

  3. 3

    ArcaneTimes » Blog Archive » PodCastle Miniature 19: Cask of Amontillado said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    [...] http://podcastle.org/2008/10/31/cask-of-amontillado/ [...]

  4. 4

    Amaster said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    I know there will be people who would say this belongs on Pseudopod, but I say it belongs right here. Poe is the only classic horror author that I like. Great job.

  5. 5

    Drey said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

    I would like to order a vial of Cheyenne’s voice. I promise to only use it to seduce the most beautiful and inaccessible of women.

  6. 6

    Wendy said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 4:33 pm

    Oooh, magnificent narration of classic Poe, just enough echo of the crypt to make it creepy, but lush enough to make it alluring as well. Wright’s voice was made for Poe.

  7. 7

    Ruy said,

    November 1, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

    My favorite Poe story, indeed. Thank you for this wonderful narration, a very special treat for this Halloween.

    Greetings from Mexico City.

  8. 8

    Luis said,

    November 2, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    Cheyenne’s voice is awesome, but if you like this story, may I be permitted to suggest listening to this alternate reading:

    http://www.theseanachai.com/2005/10/31/a-cask-of-amontillado/

    Patrick McLean (no affiliation) also makes for a great reading, and the slight audio effects adds to the suspension of belief in an already excellent story

  9. 9

    scatterbrain said,

    November 2, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

    Despite the lack of a fantastic element, I deeply enjoyed this story. But what I really can’t get over, is the fact that I was just about to read this in a book at college during my lunchbreak tomorrow! No seriously, the exact same Poe tale. Though if you think about it, in a metaphysical sense, this extremely strange coincidence is my fantastic element…

  10. 10

    Alina said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 1:42 am

    Excellent Reading.

    I feel like this podcast in the last few readings has is revealing the blurred line between fantasy and fiction, which is something I never thought about before.
    In Escape-pod I have never been frustrated when they reading something more fantastical than science fiction, esp. since I love fantasy more than sci-fi. But now I am beginning to understand how some people get frustrated over the issue.
    Although, this story is an exception, even though it’s only fantasy in the writing style.

  11. 11

    Alina said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 1:43 am

    Drey’s comment is the best comment I have ever read.

  12. 12

    Rachel said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 4:08 am

    Well, yes, no fantasy here. But it’s Cask of Amontillado. And Halloween. Couldn’t help myself. ;)

    No more horror on the ‘cast for a bit. Well, unless you count elections as horror, in which case — Tuesdays’ story will be horror. ;)

  13. 13

    Tom said,

    November 3, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    This is my favorite Poe story of all time. Thanks for including it.

  14. 14

    David said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    Good reading of an old favorite, great choice!

  15. 15

    Wilson said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

    Once again, I guess I’m the lone dissenter for not liking the reading very much. Nothing wrong with Wright’s voice, but every time he stuck an extra ‘L’ into Amontillado (“AmontillaLdo”? Please!), I cringed. This meant I cringed a lot.

    The final insult was his pronunciation of the Latin phrase in pace requiescat. I’m no Latin scholar by any means, but even I know that Latin ‘pace’ is not pronounced the same way as the English word of the same spelling.

    (Not that I would have pronounced it perfectly. I’d probably have said “pah-cheh”, but a little research informs me that it’s more likely to be “peh-cheh” or “pay-cheh”.)

    And I have no idea what he did with the last word. Some faux French pronunciation, it sounds like.

    Aside from all that, thanks very much for running the story, Rachel! I read this story in high school in the early 80s (!) and it’s one of the few stories that has stayed with me (though with fading details) ever since. Despite my issues with the pronunciation, it was good have the story refreshed again.

    Luis, thanks for the Seanachai link. I’m looking forward to checking it out.

  16. 16

    Martin said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

    I’m with Wilson — this was a treasured story from my school days, and I still remember the class when my English teacher played this on an LP — we listened to it after reading it, and that’s when I learned the correct pronunciation of the title. As a result, the extra L in Amontillado was grating each time I heard it. Then again, as someone who thought “awry” was pronounced “AW-ree” well into adulthood, I’m not in a good place to judge. :)

  17. 17

    Wilson said,

    November 4, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

    Martin:

    I made exactly that same mistake! I was at least a teenager before I realized that it should be “a-rye”! I still have to pause momentarily at that word and make my brain see the right pronunciation.

    As a result of this background, whenever someone makes a mistake in pronunciation, I assume that they read more than they converse. (Steve Ely, for instance, consistently pronounces the word “hierarchy” as “HEER-ar-ki” instead of “HIRE-ar-ki”.)

    Being more of a reader than a conversationalist isn’t a shortcoming in my eyes. However, unexpected pronunciations (no matter whether it’s the ‘pronouncer’ or my own expectations that are incorrect) are distracting.

  18. 18

    Ann Leckie said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    (Not that I would have pronounced it perfectly. I’d probably have said “pah-cheh”, but a little research informs me that it’s more likely to be “peh-cheh” or “pay-cheh”.)

    No, your first instinct would be correct. There’s a distinct difference in pronunciation between Classical Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin, and Poe would almost certainly have been thinking of “in pace requiescat” in its ecclesiastical context. It would be something like “een PAH-cheh RAY kwee ES caht.” (Based on my long-time choral singing experience, and my parents, who grew up before Vatican II)

  19. 19

    Hoyajon said,

    November 6, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

    Pronunciation, schmonunciation. Earlier comments were on target. Awesome story, awesomely read. I only disagree with the rating that the board gave this — my 14 and 12 year old boys absolutely adored it. They liked it so much, I went out and bought a bottle of Amontillado to show them what it is (they didn’t drink, but did get to smell the nose). They got quite frightened when I told them I had a flask of amontillado for them to see (“Dad, you wouldn’t wall us in?” I just chuckled menacingly). Since it is appropriate for those 17 and under, probably could have given it a PG-13 rating.

  20. 20

    Wilson said,

    November 7, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

    Ann:

    It must be my own singing background that had my instincts going that way. I wondered why I had it so firmly in my mind. Thanks for the clarification!

  21. 21

    Blaine Boy said,

    November 8, 2008 @ 10:12 pm

    Holy crap.

    I don’t know what else to say. That was amazing. Absolutely stunning. A paragon of the creep. That was a great choice for Halloween. Anybody else know that Poe was claustrophobic or could you just pick that up from his stories? Cheyenne Wright was the perfect choice for this story. It was especially good with the background effect.

    I look forward to next Halloween. I’ll be sure and dig my tell-tale heart out from under the floorboards.

    Yours ever faithfully,
    The Blaine Boy

  22. 22

    valjean24601 said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

    does this really qualify as fantasy?

  23. 23

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    November 16, 2008 @ 3:51 pm

    Like any slightly demented person, I adore Cheyenne Wright’s voice. His pronunciation of “amontialdo” drove me absolutely batshit, though.

    For a properly pronounced, and more fully produced version of this story, check out this version:
    http://www.irasov.com/Amontillado.htm

  24. 24

    Dave (aka Nev the Deranged) said,

    November 16, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

    I should note that I have made joking reference to this story at every opportunity (I’ve worked in a lot of warehouses where one often may be walled in behind stacks of whatever) ever since first reading it in grade school, and not one single person yet has ever gotten the reference. Sad.

  25. 25

    PK said,

    November 25, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

    “amonti-aldo”?

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