Monday, May 2, 2011

Great Stories: "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe

Every American Literature text in this country has at least one entry, if not two, from Edgar Allan Poe. He's an icon to students everywhere, and while his texts are difficult, I never hear complaints. Something about murder, plague, and madness speaks to the teenage mind, I suppose.

I've been spending a portion of my Thursday evenings, while Max takes gymnastics class, walking through historic Oak Hill cemetery. It's a lovely, gloomy place with craggy hillsides littered with monuments, plenty of gnarled and twisted trees which snatch up the fading daylight. Ah...

And then there's this:


While the Usher family of Poe's story entombed the dead in catacombs below the house, it's simply delightful to walk past a crumbling, in-earth vault inscribed with the name "Usher".

"The Fall of The House of Usher" is one of Poe's masterpieces. You can click on the text below to read the full story, should you wish. Have a wonderful Monday.

DURING THE WHOLE of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium—the bitter lapse into everyday life—the hideous dropping off of the veil.

6 comments:

Cate Gardner said...

That's fantastic.

P.S. I do hope you pretend to be Xander (or Buffy) when prowling the cemetery and carry a few stakes.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - That might not be a bad idea. ;)

Akasha Savage. said...

I love The Fall Of The House Of Usher. I'd love to see that vault, it's amazing!!

Milo James Fowler said...

Poe's the man. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

Katey said...

<3 it so hard. All of it.

Awesome mausoleum find, too!

Natalie L. Sin said...

I have "The Complete Tales and Poems" of Poe in my TBR pile.