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The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – October 3, 2006
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“Poe was so good at writing stories that exploited the unspoken horrors of his day.”—Chuck Palahniuk
About the Author
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1949) received a good education, first in England, then in a private school at Richmond, and later spent a year at the University of Virginia before he ran away to enlist in the army. Between 1827 and 1831, he published three volumes of poetry: Tamerlane (1827), Al Aaraaf (1829), and Poems (1831). From 1831 to 1835, he lived in Baltimore, where he began a lifelong struggle with poverty, disappointments in love, and addiction to alcohol. This last defect made it impossible for him to retain the editorial positions he later secured on magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York, despite the fact that the tales and book reviews he contributed greatly increased circulation. In May 1836, he married Virginia Clemm, a child of thirteen and the daughter of a paternal aunt. In April 1844, he moved his family to New York, and in January of the following year his literary fortunes turned when his poem “The Raven” appeared in the New York Evening News. Overnight, he became the most talked-about man of letters in America. Early in 1847 his wife died, and the year 1848 saw the end of two unhappy love affairs. He died on October 7, 1849.
Stephen Marlowe (1928–2008) was the author of more than fifty novels, including the internationally acclaimed Memoirs of Christopher Columbus, which was awarded the French Prix Gutenberg du Livre in 1988, and in 1997, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Private Eye Writers of America. His novel The Lighthouse at the End of the World revolves around the real and imagined life of Edgar Allan Poe.
Regina Marler is the author of Bloomsbury Pie: The Making of the Bloomsbury Boom, and editor of Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America On to Sex. While still in graduate school, she was chosen by the heirs of Virginia Woolf to edit the letters of Woolf’s artist sister, Vanessa Bell, which appeared as Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell in 1993. Marler lives in San Francisco.
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Top Customer Reviews
Poe’s classic tale “The Fall of the House of Usher” is sort of the poster child for the chilling, atmosphere driven Gothic tale. It has so many elements of the fantastic, the weird, the gloomy, and the supernatural. What I find so refreshing, interesting and thought-provoking about this story is that you can read it ten different times and find ten different meanings. There is so much going on, both on the surface and symbolically, that you can see something in the story that may have missed on a previous read.
On the barest level, this is simply a tale of an unnamed narrator going to visit and old friend to help him find some solace for an mysterious illness. In the old Gothic tradition, you just know some crazy stuff is going to happen once he gets there. When he gets to the house, as you can imagine, there is a constant sense of foreboding, a gloomy and awful sensation as he sees poor Roderick Usher. (Just wait till you meet Roderick’s sister). Scary and odds things abound, there’s a feeling that we do not know what is real, and what is imagined. How much of the gloom and disparity is feeding into the narrator’s own state of mind? There a story within a story here as well, as some elements drift right into the plot from outside sources.
I don’t think there are many writers who can duplicate Poe’s ability to create and intensify an atmosphere that is deeply disturbing and odd. This story is literally dripping with a heavy, unsettling atmosphere, and it builds and builds. We, much like the narrator, cannot pin down just what the heck is happening here in this house (or, for that matter, in this House).
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is superb, one to read multiple times.
I would totally recommend reading this book. Plus, the fact that the Kindle edition isn't too expensive is a good thing.
Not giving a five star rating because I don't know if I feel it's the best book in all existence.
I am sure Poe didnt know how hectic life would be so many years after he wrote this, but a short thrilling story fits well into modern life.
Further his language is refreshing; drawing the reader into the richness that English once was, describing places and people and the events that transpire in such a fashion one can relive the terror of the moment the narrator turns to see the bright light cursing through the fissure of the House of Usher, initiating its destruction entombing the Roddrick siblings forever.