Sleep those little slices of death is one of the many quotes misattributed to Edgar Allan Poe.
Good grief, you find this wrongly-attributed quote in GoodReads site.
It is a site notorious for misquotations; it even has the same quote attributed to different people.
Try searching “sleep those little slices of death” in Google Images, you would dread to find so many websites which ascribed this quote to Poe.
So is if you ask Google search, “Who said sleep those little slices of death how I loathe them?“, or “who called sleep the little death?“.
Strangely Google will still say it is Edgar Allan Poe.
So, did Edgar Allan Poe say sleep those little slices of death?
I loathe to tell you that you are dead wrong to attribute this line to the ‘Master of the Macabre’, Edgar Allan Poe.
You can explore all his free books here in: “Edgar Allan Poe’s Complete Poetical Works“, “The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe” or “The Complete Tales And Poems Of Edgar Allan Poe“.
I am dead certain you would never find this actual quotation in any of Poe’s works (novel, short stories, poems, essays, plays).
It is a fabricated quote, as you would find out soon.
Sleep Those Little Slices Of Death
Wake up, folks, there is no such actual quote anywhere, except on the silver screens.
Back in 1987, this so-called Edgar Allan Poe’s quote was featured as a prologue at the beginning of the movie, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors“.
Yes, the third installment of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, which stars Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger.
The bold writing in blood-red reads:
“Sleep. Those little slices of Death. How I loathe them.” — EDGAR ALLAN POE
The above image is a snapshot taken from the movie.
In other words, this is the only source of this quote credited to Edgar Allan Poe.
The movie screenplay was written by Wes Craven & Bruce Wagner and Chuck Russell & Frank Darabont.
I am not sure which of these four writers who came out with this so-called Edgar Allan Poe’s quote.
Related: The full screenplay of “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” is found here.
According to the screenplay above, the opening track is supposed to be “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” by the late Warren Zevon blasting from the radio.
But in the actual movie, the song is “Into The Fire” by the American glam metal band Dokken.
I think the song by Warren Zevon “I Will Sleep When I ‘m Dead” would compliment well with the quote “Sleep. Those little slices of Death. How I loathe them“.
But then it is not raucous enough for the opening scene where it needs to be noisy.
The Sleeper Edgar Allan Poe
Poe did symbolically referred death as sleep or slumber in his 1831 poem “The Sleeper“.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
From his works, we could sense Edgar Allan Poe had a morbid obsession with the subject of death.
It is evident in his stories that include, “Ligeia”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Premature Burial”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Masque of Red Death” and “he Cask of Amontillado”.
The recurring theme of death is also prevalent in Poe’s poems, such as “The City in the Sea”, “Annalbel Lee”, “Spirits of the Dead”, “The Conqueror Worm”, “T
Don’ Sleep. I Hate Those Slices Of Death
There is a good possibility this make-up quote must have taken from the 1959 movie.
There is this line in that movie not that reads:
“I don’t sleep. I hate those little slices of death”
The quote is actually a dialogue from the 1959 American science fiction adventure film “Journey to the Center of the Earth” based on the novel by Jules Verne.
You can read the free books (different titles) online from any of these: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4
1959 Journey To The Center Of The Earth Movie
In one of the scene when Professor Sir Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason) walks over to Count Saknussemm (Thayer David). where the latter is looking out at the ocean of the underworld.
The character Count Saknussemm utters:
“You’ve come to ask me why I didn’t rest?
I don’t sleep. I hate those little slices of death.”
The 1959 “Journey to the Center of the Earth” story-line was adapted by Charles Brackett, and the script was written by Walter Reisch, the Austrian screenwriter and director.
You can read more about Walter Reisch here
Related: The original 1959 movie script is still available at Ebay.
This line starts at around 1:38:14 in the movie clip.
You can watch the free full movie “Journey to the Center of the Earth” over here.
The quote is also found in the movie transcripts, but they both incorrectly written as “slashes of death” instead of “slices of death“.
You can check them out here and here.
Related: Sleep And Death Shakespeare & Bible
From the famous ‘To be or not to be‘ soliloquy in “Hamlet“, William Shakespeare uses the metaphor of sleep for death.
To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
(Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Edited By John Livingston Lowes, New York: Henry Holt And Company, 1914, Act III, Sc. I, P. 67) source
In the Bible, death is described as the “sleep of death”.
“Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,”
(Psalms 13:3 – New International Version) source
“Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning:”
(Psalms 90:5 – New International Version) source
“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
(Daniel: 12:2 – English Standard Version) source
To conclude, I am sure Edgar Allan Poe loathed misattributed quotes to him and that include “sleep those little slices of death“.