Poe's Orangutans: The Illustrations

As promised Monday: Three illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue." Like most people of the Victorian era, these artists didn't know what an orangutan looked like. All three illustrations are reproduced in Stephen Peithman's The Annotated Tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

Aubrey Beardsley


  1. The last one has an uncanny resemblance to a Sulawesi ape (macaque)... and the second one makes me wonder if there were ever macaque-like monkeys that size in prehistoric times. Knowing the macaques bad temper and wicked fangs, its a scary thought!

  2. Sulawesi apes (then known simply as black apes)were known to Western science even before Poe, and a couple of them were exhibited in England. Perhaps the artists modeled their orangs on them.

  3. Very interesting :D


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