Sparknotes: The Fall of the House of Usher
3. Little, Anne C. "The Fall of the House of Usher." Short Fiction: A Critical Campanion (1997): 218-227. Literary Reference Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
A summary of “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1839) ..
Between 1928 and 2012, eighteen different film and television adaptations of "The Fall of the House of Usher" were produced in France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Czechoslovakia, Spain and Russia.
4. Cook, Jonathan A. "Poe And The Apocalyptic Sublime: "The Fall of the The House of Usher." Papers on Language & Literature 48.1 (2012): 3-44. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
The Fall of the House of Usher is a short story written by . It was published in 1839 in . The narrator visits a mansion belonging to his old friend, Roderick Usher. Usher places his dead sister in the family vault in the home. Usher's sister later reappears and Usher and his sister fall dead together. The narrator runs out of mansion which then splits apart.Poe also uses traditional features like repetition. He builds suspense with this repetition and vivid description. Peter Obuchowski explains in Unity of Effect in Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher, "Poe creates the effects he seeks through the careful selection of details and actions to present in the narrator (and...the reader) the terror in one's losing his mind."
This study guide is designed for a theatrical production but includes materials for studying "The Fall of the House of Usher," on which the play is based. Story summary, questions for discussion and analysis, character analysis, writing tasks. Author biography and timeline. Introduction to elements of Gothic literature 34 pages; requires Adobe Reader.D.H. Lawrence wrote about The Fall of the House of Usher, "Although the tale is lurid and melodramatic, it shows a symbolic truth about the last stages of a love in which two people can recognise none of the sacred mystery of otherness, but must unite into unspeakable identification, oneness in death." The Fall of the House of Usher fits into gothic literature. It features traditional features of the genre including, "a haunted castle, medieval decor, a family curse, symbolic doubling, a morally challenged hero-villain, a physically entrapped maiden, a self-consciously naive narrator, and a deeply buried secret exposed at the climax of the story." The French composer Claude Debussy began work on an opera based on "The Fall of the House of Usher" in 1908, writing both the music and the libretto. However, it remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1918. An opera based on "The Fall of the House of Usher" with music by Philip Glass and libretto by Arthur Yorinks was first performed in 1987. Another opera based on the story, with music by Peter Hammill and libretto by Chris Judge Smith was first performed in 1991. In common with Roger Corman's 1960 film, the opera includes a romantic relationship between Madeline Usher and the narrator character, who is given the name Montresor. The house itself has a singing role in the opera, being performed by the same artist who sings the part of Roderick. The running header on even numbered pages is: “GROTESQUE AND ARABESQUE.” On odd numbered pages, the page header is: “THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER.” One aspect of Poes life that may have been very influential in "TheFall of the House of Usher" was his drinking habits (Wagenknecht 30). Likemany dimensions of Poes lifestyle, the severity of his drinking problemis often debated (30). It has been said that a single glass of wine wouldget Poe drunk and although this may not be exactly accurate, it can besaid that one drink would affect him visibly (30). Poe was raised in adrinking society and an inclination for alcohol also seems to have beenprevalent in his family (31). Although Poe was certainly a drinker, hedid not a revel in the bars or taverns (32). According to Edward Wagenknecht,author of , Poe "had neitherthe virtues nor the vices which flourish in the tavern atmosphere" (32).The immediate effect of such drinking habits was the endangerment to Poeshealth, but it also "made him an easy target for his literary enemies throughoutthe 1840s" (Peeples 77). Thomas Dunn English, in his temperance novel,, portrays a dishonest drunk evidently basedon Poe (77).In the summer of 1838, Edgar Allan Poe left the city of New York, wherehe faced criticism and minimal recognition, and moved to Philadelphia,where he would soon gain profound success (Quinn 268). Just a year priorto this move, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who accompanied himto Philadelphia (Wagenknecht 18). Little is known of Poes time in NewYork other than the fact that he faced severe poverty with total earningsamounting to under one hundred fifty dollars (Peeples 31). Therefore, sincePhiladelphia shared the prestige with New York as a publishing center,it offered Poe new publishing opportunities and opened the doors to success(Quinn 268). He found this success editing from 1839-1840 and then from 1841-1842 (Peeples74). During this time, Poe delivered lectures on American poetry, publishedthirty-six tales including "William Wilson," "The Masque of the Red Death,"and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and also released a collection ofstories in 1840 entitled (Peoples74). It was during this peak of Poes publishing career that he published"The Fall of the House of Usher." This tale relates to various aspectsof Poes life including his occupation as an editor, his battle with alcoholand drugs, his psychological and emotional well-being, and the impact ofdeath on his life and work.Poes work, including "The Fall of the House of Usher," was influencedby many experiences throughout his life and also by the culture in whichhe lived. His employment at and in the early 1840s proved to be one of the most prosperoustimes of his publishing career, yet Poe faced many obstacles in his privatelife during this time including poverty and alcohol abuse. Although hisalleged alcohol and drug addictions are issues yet to be settled, theywere clearly an influence in his life and work. In addition to his habitsregarding alcohol and drugs, his psychological stability has also beencalled into question. The impact of death, which was prevalent throughouthis life, was tremendous. Regardless of the many struggles Poe encounter,he has emerged as one the greatest Romantic writers in American history.