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The Fall of the House of Usher

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Take the plunge. Dive into this classic from the singular mind of Edgar Allan Poe, who is widely regarded as the short story master of horror fiction.

"The Fall .. " recounts the terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan before it is -- quite literally -- rent asunder. With amazing economy, Poe plunges the reader into a state of deliciously agonizing suspense. It's a must-read for fans of the golden era of horror writing. "The Fall .." is one of Poe's best known short stories - if not the best.

Librarian's note: this entry is for the short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher." Collections of short stories by the author, such as "The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales," can be found elsewhere on Goodreads.

36 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1839

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About the author

Edgar Allan Poe

9,297 books24.6k followers
The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Fall of the House of Usher. This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.

Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.

The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.

For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_al...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,660 reviews
Profile Image for Federico DN.
396 reviews801 followers
September 10, 2023
Some fall!

An unnamed character receives a letter from an old friend beseeching to urgently visit him at his mansion. A strange malady has befallen Roderick and Madeline Usher, last descendants of the prestigious Usher family.

This was a very decent short read. A strange beginning, followed by an interesting middle, and culminated with a terrific horrific ending. Quite gripping, and moderately paced. Admirable prose; not exactly easy to read, but great nonetheless. A masterpiece of the immortal Poe, considered along with The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and The Cask of Amontillado, one of his best works ever. A fairly recommendable read, for the classical horror aficionado.

*** House of Usher (1960) is an acceptable adaptation at best. The movie seriously deviates from the original plot, but in a refreshing innovative way. The general idea is honored, but unlike the book, Madeline Usher takes a major protagonism in the film as a love interest of the narrator, Winthrop. Admirable performance by Price as Roderick, and an okayish Damon and Fahey. The special effects were a bit lacking, although consistent with the era it was filmed. The film score felt awkward and sometimes very out of place. An interesting adaptation, not exactly faithful to the book, but good enough to watch.

It’s public domain. You can find it HERE.

[1839] [36p] [Horror] [3.5] [Recommendable]

★★★★☆ The Fall of the House of Usher [3.5]
★★★☆☆ The Tell-Tale Heart
★★☆☆☆ The Raven


¡Alta caída!

Un no nombrado personaje recibe una carta de un viejo amigo rogándole visitarlo urgentemente en su mansión. Una extraña enfermedad ha caído sobre Roderick y Madeline Usher, últimos descendientes de la prestigiosa familia Usher.

Esta fue una lectura corta muy decente. Un extraño comienzo, seguido por un interesante desarrollo, y culminado con un fantástico horrorífico final. Bastante atrapante, y de ritmo moderado. Prosa admirable; no exactamente fácil de leer, pero sin embargo genial. Una pieza maestra del inmortal Poe, considerada junto con El Corazón Delator, El Gato Negro, y El Barril de Amontillado, uno de sus mejores obras jamás. Una lectura bastante recomendable, para el aficionado del terror clásico.

*** Casa de Usher (1960) es una aceptable adaptación cuando mucho. La película se desvía seriamente de la trama original, pero en una forma refrescante e innovadora. La idea general es honrada, pero a diferencia del libro, Madeline Usher adquiere un gran protagonismo en la película como un interés de amor del narrador, Winthrop. Actuación admirable de Price como Roderick, y un regular Damon y Fahey. Los efectos especiales fueron algo flojos, pero consistentes con la era en que fue filmada. La música se sintió extraña y a veces muy fuera de lugar. Una interesante adaptación, no exactamente fiel al libro, pero suficientemente buena para verla.

Es dominio público. Lo pueden encontrar ACA.

[1839] [36p] [Terror] [Recomendable]
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
October 20, 2019
"There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher?"

 photo House20of20Usher_zpscczhmftg.jpg
A gothic house that instantly made me think of the House of Usher.

When our narrator has been summoned to the bedside of his sick friend Roderick Usher, he finds a household overcast with gloom. If an environment can permeate a soul with melancholy and fear, then the House of Usher is a detriment to all who enter. Our narrator begins to feel the effects almost immediately. "I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all."

Roderick is suffering from numerous illnesses, all undiagnosable in the 1800s. This story predates the modern psychology that eventually is able to put a name to those illnesses: hyperesthesia, hypochondria, and severe anxiety. This trilogy of maladies can start to erode the ability of the mind to reason. His twin sister Madeline is also sick and is frequently discovered sleepwalking or really something more like death walking.

The atmosphere is beginning to wear on our narrator as well. He likes Roderick and enjoys composing songs, writing poetry, and painting pictures with him, but even as they manage to ignore the malaise of their circumstances for a few hours, the melancholy is always lurking to reassert itself on their senses. "An atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn—a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued." He begins to feel uneasy all the time and is beginning to believe that Roderick is not afraid of a sickness producing paranormal, but is actually, justifiably afraid of something real, but unknowable.

Our imaginations can always conjure up worse horrors than those we can actually see.

 photo Usher_zpsxwycoraw.jpg Illustration by Harry Clarke whose work is often mistakenly attributed to Aubrey Beardsley

When Madeline dies, things begin to unravel. Our narrator finds himself helping Roderick to take her down in the family tombs. Madeline appears more alive in death than she did in life. Her cheeks are even rosy. Roderick insists that they screw down the coffin lid.

Let’s just say the story ends with a bang.

I recently started reading the Robert McCammon book Usher’s Passing and realized that it has been a long time since I’d read the Edgar Allan Poe story that was the inspiration for that novel. I’ve always enjoyed the ripe symbolism that is always a characteristic of a good Poe story. The reader experiences this growing uneasiness as the story unspools. Poe seemingly effortlessly conveys this sense of impending doom. When I was breaking sentences down to see how Poe was doing this, I realized that it wasn’t effortless, but masterful.

 photo Usher20Poe_zpsmxovy2cj.jpg
Another awesome illustration from Harry Clarke

I liked Poe even before I discovered that I shared a birthday (January 19th) with him. He was appreciated in his time more by the French than he was by the Americans. I’ve seen it mentioned several times where American travelers to Europe expressed their bafflement at being asked about this American writer who they had never heard of. On some late night, when you are having trouble sleeping, read a story or two of Poe and notice the psychological impact he starts to have on you as your eyes dart around the room at what sounded like a creaking floorboard or your skin crawls at the screech of an owl that may have been the last scream of a woman ensnared.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for oyshik.
219 reviews692 followers
February 6, 2021
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

This short story describes the last days of two survivors of a prestigious family, oppressed by the disease and the ominous legacy of their ancestors. Under the dark atmosphere of the House of Usher, Poe takes us through the darkest corners of the human mind. It's not Poe's best work, I feel. A bit harder for me to get into the story. But still, it's entertaining and has an unexpected ending.
Not hear it? --yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long --long --long --many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it --yet I dared not --oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am! --I dared not --I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb!

Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,990 followers
April 9, 2020
Perhaps the perfect story for the COVID-19 quarantine! I say this for two reasons.

First: The length

This story can be consumed in one sitting. At a time when I am struggling to focus on reading, getting in and getting out of a story quickly is perfect for my current attention span. Also, I decided to listen to this one. As part of keeping myself healthy during this time of isolation at home, I have been trying to get some fresh air by going for a walk at lunch. I was able to start and finish this entire story over the course of one walk. It felt like an accomplishment, and I needed that for my reading morale.

Second: The plot

The story of this book focuses on a man who has been in isolation for an extended period of time and is deteriorating into madness. The house in the story represents the stability, , of his mind. As we are all stuck at home and feeling the mental strain that can put on us, it is very easy to relate to what might happen to your brain after being stuck in the same house day after day after day after day.

Definitely recommend! But, if you are struggling with the isolation of quarantine at the moment and you are looking to read something that does not remind you of it, this might be worth staying away from for a while.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
February 3, 2022
2022 reread: I started reading the upcoming novel What Moves the Dead (by one of my favorite authors, T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) and realized that it’s a novelization of this famous story by Poe. So I put a pin in her novel to do a quick reread of this story. It’s as creepy and atmospheric and filled with decay as I remembered! The dual meaning of the title is reflected in several dualities within the tale itself: the Usher siblings, the mouldering house and family, the sounds of the story being read by the narrator echoing in actuality — it would be interesting to see how many more dualities are there if I looked harder!

Original review: Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" is one of the original haunted house tales. This story embodies old-fashioned gothic horror.

Arthur Rackham illustration

The unnamed narrator tells of his visit to the dreary country home of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher. He notices (and describes at length) how both Roderick and his house are crumbling at the edges. Roderick is a deeply mentally disturbed person; his sister Madeline, who wafts past the two men once without regarding them, seems equally troubled, but in different ways. And there's something unexpressed but troubling about the relationship between brother and sister.*

1919 illustration for this story by Harry Clarke. It doesn't seem to track the story exactly, but it's certainly a weirdly marvelous drawing

This story struck me at first as too verbose - Poe gets perhaps a bit carried away with his descriptions of decay, both in the narrator's friend, Roderick Usher, and in his sister (who at different times reminded me of a ghost or a vampire), and in their house itself. But things get creepier as the story moves along, and the ending is truly chilling.

The physical house of the Ushers, with its large crack in its walls, and its decrepitude and instability, is mirrored in the persons of Roderick Usher and his twin sister. "House of Usher," of course, can mean either the physical house or the family dynasty, a point Poe makes expressly clear. "Usher," too, reverbates with meaning: what kind of a godforsaken place is the narrator - and we as readers - being ushered into?

*SparkNotes offers this opinion: "The family has no enduring branches, so all genetic transmission has occurred incestuously within the domain of the house." Ewww!

Free online many places, including here.
Profile Image for Michael.
Author 2 books1,356 followers
January 27, 2018
Wow, what a fantastic story. You have all the gothic elements crammed in here: a haunted (perhaps even sentient) house, a mysterious illness, madness, death, entombment, a dungeon, a violent storm, a cursed family, hints of possible incest (?), resurrection, bizarre poetry, and a story-within-the-story about a knight slaying a dragon. And binding this all together is Poe's inimitable style and narrative drive. It's horror of the creepy, atmospheric kind (the best kind, IMHO), the kind that gets under your skin and makes you feel it in a thousand subtle ways.
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,256 reviews1,129 followers
August 24, 2023
The Fall of the House of Usher (published in 1839) may well be one of the stories which started the current interest in the gothic genre, although Ann Radcliffe's "The Mysteries of Udolpho", for instance, had been published much earlier in 1794. Apart from its parody in Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey", Radcliffe's work has now largely been forgotten along with other great gothic works from the time. Yet The Fall of the House of Usher remains perennially popular and influential. Poe regarded it as his most successful example of "totality" , in that every detail and event in the story is relevant to the plot.

The viewpoint character has been invited to the house of a childhood friend, Roderick Usher, in order to cheer him as he is weak, ill and depressed.

Very early on in this story we are encouraged to empathise with the narrator, as his surroundings become increasingly grotesque, sinister and threatening. The "House of Usher", we are told, describes both the family and the mansion itself, and on learning this snippet of information the ending to this story is neatly telegraphed, albeit on an almost subconscious level.

Poe is at the height of his powers of description in this tale. Here is the man's first sight of the house:

"about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn - a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernable, and leaden-hued."

And here's another atmospheric depiction, of his room this time:

"the bewildering influence of the gloomy furniture of the room - of the dark and tattered draperies which, tortured into motion by the breath of a rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the decorations about my bed."

Or what about this evocative description of (super)natural phenomena:

"the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the mansion."

The whole tale is superbly imbued with a sense of foreboding and impending doom. Conversation is virtually absent; the only occasions being for dramatic effect, for example

The culmination of this story is a masterpiece of gothic description. Our credulity is stretched as the characters reach a point of hysteria, or was something more supernatural at work?
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
444 reviews718 followers
May 9, 2023
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe is the Original Creep Show!

Our nameless narrator, a childhood friend of Roderick Usher, has been beckoned via letter to the Usher home. Roderick states he's ill and needs immediate help. The friend wonders why he's been summoned.

Upon arrival, he finds the outside of the house in horrible disrepair and looks to be splitting down the center, from the roof to the ground. The friend wonders what he'll find inside.

Shortly after arriving, he sees Madeline, Roderick's twin sister, walking through a room in a trance-like state. The friend wonders if she senses his presence.

Despite numerous attempts to cheer him up, Roderick's condition continues to decline and he begins making unbelievably crazy statements. The friend wonders how this dire situation could become any more bizarre...

The Fall of the House of Usher was originally published in 1839 and thought to be Edgar Allan Poe's most famous and well-written piece of work. After reading/listening to this short story, I understand the true appeal of this author's genius.

The Fall of the House of Usher has deep undertones of how one's environment can impact or alter one's state of mind. With topics of isolation, fear, and strange happenings, even the friend/narrator was beginning to feel out of sorts. While listening, I may have been leaning a wee bit in that direction myself.

I listened to one of the many Audible audio editions available, this one being a mere 52 minutes that's full of the Gothic, Horror, and Supernatural Fiction vibes that stands up to any book in these genres no matter the length. The narrator Edmund Dehn gives the appropriate amount of melodramatic voicing to accentuate the dark, macabre, and foreboding feel of this listen.

The Fall of the House of Usher is my very first Edgar Allan Poe experience and it was simply incredible!

5 Dark, Haunting, Gothic Stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
October 9, 2020
Este es uno de mis cuentos preferidos de Edgar Allan Poe, básicamente, porque es perfecto. Ligeia ocupa el segundo lugar.
Todo está ahí, en el comienzo, cuando el narrador ve la grieta en la pared. Esa grieta es un spoiler, lo sé, pero es la punta del iceberg de la narración, ya que lo que el narrador nos vaya relatando es un verdadero descenso al desastre.
Roderick Usher tiene todos los rasgos depresivos que caracterizaban a los personajes del pre-romanticismo que para variar, habita dentro de una mansión demasiado gótica.
El suspense que Poe le imprime al cuento a lo largo de la trama, junto con el desasosiego de Roderick, el poema “El palacio encantado” inserto dentro de la narración y la maldición que debe sobrellevar Lady Madeline transforman a este lúgubre ambiente en uno de los más condenados de la literatura.
El cuento tiene una redondez brillante donde todo encaja perfectamente: el comienzo es prometedor, la parte central es completamente intrigante y absorbente y la construcción del final es sencillamente hechizante, de esos que sólo Edgar Allan Poe podía concebir.
Definitivamente lo incluyo dentro de los cuentos más perfectos jamás escritos.
Y no soy el único que piensa así.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,945 reviews610 followers
January 13, 2023
Usher's House is inhabited by the last of the Usher line. A man who lives alone with his twin sister Madeleine. He says he suffers from an unknown disease that the Usher has always had. The narrator, invited by the place's owner, is immediately struck by the fantastic atmosphere in this House as old as the Usher's. It almost looks like the House is alive, looking very closely, ready to swallow them up.
At his request, our narrator stays a few days in this House and notices a mysterious atmosphere, as if the House spoke to him, addressed to its inhabitants.
The nocturnal landscapes described are particularly distressing.
When we learn of Madeleine's disappearance, we know that things will turn sour, yet Poe holds us back and forces us to follow him on a slow and agonizing climb toward tragedy.
A book to read with our flashlight on a moonlit night, well hidden under our duvet. Just in case.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews927 followers
October 9, 2018
Along with the unnamed narrator, we as readers are summoned into the macabre to witness the fall of the House of Usher. Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher is a nearly perfect short story. It creates tension as events unfold and the once familiar takes on the visage of the ghastly and wild. Poe successfully evokes a feeling of dread which is inescapable. And while there is closure in the story, the narrator is unnerved by the sorrow and recognizes that he will carry the terror the rest of his life. We too are touched by this terror in ways that are impossible to fathom. Great story!
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,723 followers
May 25, 2017
3.5 of 5 stars to The Fall of the House of Usher, a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, written in 1839. I found myself a slight bit bored the first time I read it. It seemed to only be about some guy that went to go visit an old school buddy. When he arrives, some type of curse or disastrous mood hangs over his house and looms until the man is a bit fearful. Then, his best friend is dying of some odd disease. They watch his wife die, but only when the man is about to die himself does he reveal that he buried the woman alive. She is still down there breathing. It was powerful imagery of the heart still beating and her breaths. It was unlike in “The Tell-Tale Heart” when the heart wasn’t really beating, a figment of his imagination. This time, it was real. Fast forward a few years later, I read the story again at the end of my college years, as a look on mystery and the Gothic origins. And the story is really vivid. It's not Poe's best, but you really get a sense of his imagery and his talent for describing things in a most unique way.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,178 followers
September 20, 2023
The ‘House of Usher’ - an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion.

The narrator has been unexpectedly and urgently invited to visit Roderick Usher, one of his “boon companions in boyhood”, though he knows (or remembers?) oddly little about this friend.

From the opening words, Poe conjures an unsettling and other-worldly atmosphere with florid and archaic prose and by occasionally slipping an unexpected word in an otherwise ordinary description:
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn…
As he approaches “this mansion of gloom” everything builds to create “an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart”.

I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down - but with a shudder even more thrilling than before - upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.

Nevertheless, he approaches the house, is admitted, and is led through “many dark and intricate passages”. Even “The physician of the family… wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity”. But the narrator is shocked at the sight of cadaverous Usher:
I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

Image: Dark and twisty corridors (Source, but edited)

Superstition versus science

Usher is a man of sudden mood changes and manias, keen to talk about the curse of his family line, his dying twin sister, and his struggle with “the grim phantasm, FEAR”. His friend thinks him a hypochondriac. They paint and read and sometimes Usher makes “wild improvisations on his speaking guitar”. He confides his belief in the sentience of all vegetable things, and in a real connection between the family’s fate and the gray stones of the ancestral home, which are covered in fungi and surrounded by decayed trees.

After much setting of mood, a major event happens, triggering other smaller ones. Usher is spooked and sees through a spiritual lens, while his friend pushes a reassuring rationalist perspective.


This is a short story, but it includes two significant chunks of other works to propel the prophetic undercurrent.

• A six-stanza poem, The Haunted Palace, is presented as one of Usher’s works. It has four stanzas of beauty followed by two of horror and seems to echo and predict his family’s fate. (Poe had previously published it as a standalone poem.)

• One of Usher’s favourite romances is “Mad Trist” by Sir Launcelot Canning. As the narrator reads it aloud, the story seems to echo in reality around them, culminating in a finale that inverts the opening metaphor of the House of Usher.

Image: Woodcut of the narrator fleeing the House of Usher (artist unknown) (Source)


I last read this ~30 years ago and have vague memories of seeing it on screen, so although I remembered the gist of the story, the telling of it was fresh - in sharp contrast with the archaic phrasing and the “pestilent and mystic vapor” suffocating the House of Usher. I was especially taken by the odd reflections in the “sullen waters of the tarn” and the unreliable reflections in it.

See also

• Ray Bradbury wrote a dystopian sequel to this, Usher II, which I reviewed HERE. It’s included in some editions of The Martian Chronicles, which I reviewed HERE.

• Another brother and sister living in a creepy house in Julio Cortázar's short story, House Taken Over, which I reviewed HERE.

• The merging of family dynasty and their home, coupled with secrets, reminded me a little of Mervyn Peake’s magnificent Gormenghast books, which I reviewed HERE.

• This could easily inspire a story of the effects of Covid-isolation, but I won’t be the one to write it.

Short story club

I reread this as one of the stories in The Art of the Short Story, by Dana Gioia, from which I'm aiming to read one story a week with The Short Story Club, starting 2 May 2022.

You can read this story here.

You can join the group here.
Profile Image for Araz Goran.
824 reviews3,625 followers
July 22, 2018
إنهيار منزل أوشر ~ إدغار آلان بو..

يا الله كم هو عجيب ومدهش " بو " وكيف يتلاعب بالعقل البشري وينثر الرعب في الأودية السحيقة في النفس ، هذا الرجل يتقن اللعب في عالم الكآبة يدخل من الجيوب الضيقة للظلام يرعب القارئ بسكون لا منتاهي، يغريك بدخول الجو الذي يصنعه في قصصه بإتقان شديد وغرابة، قادمة من عالم آخر شرير ومفزع، كأنها الكوابيس ذاتها..

هذه القصة عجيبة فعلاً وأفزعتني لدرجة كآبتها وواقعيتها وكابوسيتها في آن واحد، في ذلك البيت الطافح بالرعب والغرابة والأناس المصورون بهيئة معتمة، مبهمة، لا تعرف أهي كائنات بشرية أم لا، لا تظهر شخصياته جلية سوى في مشاهد مرتبكة وغارقة في وحل التصميم الأمثل للكابوس، لا يفوتني أبداً مشهد العاصفة والضجيج والرعب والإنهيار الأخير الذي كان بمثابتة مهرب فعلي من أشد مخاوفنا فكتاً وإرهاقاً..
Profile Image for Tom Lewis.
Author 3 books190 followers
December 29, 2018
One of the creepiest, eeriest haunted house stories I’ve ever read. From the first few lines, a disquieting sense a dread begins to build, and it never lets up. The story has the narrator being summoned to a remote decaying mansion where his childhood friend – the last of a great dynasty, is near death. And just wait until something stalks the mansion’s dark halls in the dead of night. Like HP Lovecraft, Poe’s choice of words brilliantly teases the imagination with its dark terrors.
Profile Image for Kalliope.
691 reviews22 followers
August 27, 2022

Exercise for expanding your vocabulary and giving a free reign to your creativity:

Write a cheerful, effervescent and jolly story out of this vocabulary. And if you have time, look for more synonyms.

Dull, dark and soundless day
Clouds hung oppressively low
Dreary tract of country
Insufferable gloom
Desolate or terrible
Bleak walls
Decayed trees
Depression of soul
Iciness, sinking, a sickening of the heart
Dreariness of thought
Sorrowful impression
Ghastly tree-stems
Mansion of gloom
Gray walls and turrets
Silent tarn
Pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish… and leaden-hued.
Phantasmagoric armorial trophies
Dark draperies
Atmosphere of sorrow
Cadaverousness of complexion
Ghastly pallor
Unnatural sensations
Emaciated fingers
Phantasmagoric conception
Ghastly and inappropriate splendor
Wild fantasias
Morbid condition auditory nerve
“The Haunted Palace”
Character of phantasm
Region of horror
Cataleptical character
Bitter grief
Ghastly hue
Tattered tapestries
Gloomy furniture
Indefinite sounds
Pitiable condition
Cadaverously wan
Mad hilarity
Restrained hysteria
Density of the clouds
Unnatural light
Electrical phenomena
Screaming or grating sound
Extreme terror
Hollow, metallic, clangorous… reverberation
Bitter struggle
Blood-red moon

Good Luck!!!
Profile Image for Steven Serpens.
47 reviews32 followers
August 19, 2023
CALIFICACIÓN REAL: 3.5 estrellas

Roderik y lady Madeline son los últimos descendientes de la estirpe Usher, y ambos se encuentran en muy mal estado de salud; por lo que el hermano decide invitar a un compañero de su infancia, para que le haga compañía hasta que llegue el inevitable día final. ¿Qué sucederá con los hermanos Usher? Eso es lo que propone revelarnos esta lectura netamente gótica, y que se diferencia de los demás trabajos de Poe; aunque sin dejar de lado a su claro y distinguible sello de identidad.

Empezaré hablando sobre la historia en sí. Como bien menciona Roderik en cierto punto, él y su hermana son mellizos y tienen la habilidad de sentirse mutuamente (algo bastante cliché, aunque desconozco si esto también lo era por aquellas épocas). Gracias a esta capacidad, él sabe que su hermana cuando todos la creían así, ya que la podía percibir y por ende: decide que . Bastante curiosa la forma de romantizar a la muerte a través de esta peculiar situación.

Por otra parte, era más que evidente que algo realmente extraño se respiraba en esta antigua mansión familiar y alrededores, ya que, al momento de , esta casa queda a total merced del estanque adyacente , para finalmente . Según mi entendimiento de los hechos, la casa es una entidad que representaría el estado del linaje familiar a través de los años. Respecto a esto último, pude darme cuenta de un dato de interés mencionado por el mismo Roderik y que puede apoyar o fundamentar esta noción, según narra el protagonista: ‘’Afirmaba la sensibilidad propia de todos los seres naturales, pero en su fantasía llegó a incorporar, dentro de la misma categoría, el reino de lo inorgánico. Esta idea se relacionaba con las piedras grises de la mansión de sus antepasados. La sensibilidad de éstas estaba cumplida, según él creía, por la colocación de las piedras, por el orden en que se habían dispuesto, por los hongos que la cubrían y, principalmente, por su inmutabilidad y desdoblamiento en las quietas aguas del estanque. La prueba de aquella sensibilidad se daba en la leve pero evidente condensación de una atmosfera especial en torno a las aguas y los muros. El resultado se descubría, para Usher, en la influencia terrible que durante años había modelado los destinos de la familia, y que lo volvían a él precisamente en aquello que él era. Dichas opiniones no requieren comentarios’’...
Me quedo con esta última apreciación, ya que, efectivamente, no se requiere decir ni agregar nada más al respecto. La casa formaba parte de esta teoría que Roderik expone, a pesar de que el protagonista/narrador lo encuentre descabellado y no quiera añadir comentarios por eso mismo; o quizás, para desentenderse del asunto y/o autoconvencerse de que es un tema disparatado, para así no perturbarse todavía más o caer en el miedo.

Ya en la parte más técnica, se puede decir que esta es una obra bastante rara e interesante. Ofrece algo notablemente diferente de lo que hay en la bibliografía de su autor; aunque sin descuidar su sello, que claramente está presente.
Dentro de lo que puedo criticarle, es que hay demasiada decoración con las palabras en general, no solo en las descripciones; además, se agregó -coló, mejor dicho- un verso completo, y considero que eso está totalmente fuera de lugar. Si leyeron mi reseña de El cuervo, sabrán que no soy simpatizante de estos géneros y/o estilos literarios.

En complemento a todo esto, confieso que tuve la suerte de haber visto películas de terror desde que tengo memoria, razón por la que nunca me han dado miedo. De hecho, las disfrutaba en mi infancia, por más oscuras, macabras y escabrosas que hayan sido, y mi mamá me dejaba verlas con ella sin ningún problema; aunque hacía que me tapase los ojos cuando había alguna escena horny 🙈 Esto me llevó a que, hasta los días de hoy, prácticamente sea inmune a los screamers, situaciones o escenas de sobresalto.
Con estos antecedentes personales, de que jamás me haya atemorizado dicho género cinematográfico durante mi niñez ni recuerde que eso haya ocurrido, mucho menos una lectura logrará causarme tales temores. Así que de ningún modo me verán alguna vez decir que un relato es aterrador o algo parecido. Solo leo estos géneros por diversión y porque me gustan sus temáticas.
¿Por qué mencioné toda esta información acerca de mí y que a nadie le interesa saber? Sencillamente porque considero que la presente obra (a diferencia de los demás trabajos del autor) sí podría llegar a causarle alguna leve sugestión o algo así a quienes efectivamente logran verse afectados y/o perturbados por estos géneros o temáticas. Sea como sea, no puedo concebir a alguien asustándose por una lectura y hasta me causa gracia pensar en eso.

Asimismo, este es un título que efectivamente logra transmitir la opresión y densidad de su atmósfera. De igual forma, tiene un desarrollo y conclusión que son interesantes; pero, no es un título acorde para alguien que no sea adepto a la lectura. Y para quienes vengan a La caída de la casa Usher a ciegas, deben tener muy en cuenta que es un relato gótico; por lo que no esperen mucha acción o que sucedan cosas espectacularmente vistosas. El gótico se trata más de lo sugestivo, de lo que se siente en la atmósfera y ambiente del relato, eso es lo que va a primar en una obra de esta naturaleza. Y mencionado esto último, deben estar conscientes de no pedir o esperar algo más trepidante y/o exigente de lo que ostenta este género, a diferencia de lo que algunos otros relatos de Poe sí nos ofrecen.
Sin embargo, todo lo que he comentado, no significa que esta sea una lectura aburrida ni mucho menos floja; aunque tampoco es lo mejor de su autor, pero resalta y se puede recomendar abiertamente a las personas adecuadas.

Con respecto al final, me pareció bastante curioso y bueno. También me agradó que nuevamente se incorpore el elemento a la trama. No tengo muchas más apreciaciones, comentarios ni reparos que agregarle a esta obra. Quizás me encuentro bajo la influencia de la decadencia gótica y es por esto mismo que no me siento muy inspirado para desarrollar esta reseña.
En síntesis, esta lectura es una experiencia, así que vívanla. Finalmente, le doy 3.5 estrellas de calificación. Me gusta bastante la literatura gótica, pero no es para hacer maratones del género de forma tan seguida. Igualmente, tengo claro que mi próxima lectura de esta clase, seguramente sea El castillo de Otranto, de Horace Walpole: la primera novela gótica de la historia.

Para no perder el hilo con las demás reseñas de Narraciones extraordinarias:

• Precedida de La carta robada: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
• Seguida por Ligeia: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
November 2, 2022
Re-read when reading/reviewing What Moves the Dead, a 2022 reimagining by T. Kingfisher.

The language is as thick as the miasma being depicted. Ill-fated twins Roderick and Madeline Usher beset by some dark force centered on their land, whether natural or spectral. Nifty, spooky atmosphere, reported to us by a soldier friend of Roderick's. Madeline having some difficulty remaining dead, freaking out her brother. Some obvious flaws, like our narrator bolting maybe a bit too soon as the creepy house is itself beset, not checking on his buddy's status in his speedy buh-bye. But still, a fun dark read.
Profile Image for Melina.
61 reviews59 followers
July 5, 2020
Δεν μπορώ να περιγράψω με λόγια πόσο απολαυστική ήταν η αναγνωστική εμπειρία της συγκεκριμένης ιστορίας (αλλά και όλων των ιστοριών τρόμου και φαντασίας του)! Κανένα από τα πιο σύγχρονα κινηματογραφικά μέσα που διαθέτουμε δε συναγωνίζεται τη λυρικη γλώσσα του Πόε και τον ασυναγώνιστο τρόπο του να διεισδύει στο νου, να παίζει με την ψυχή και εν τέλει να ασκεί πάνω σου μια γοητεία που καταλήγει σε ένα γλυκό τρόμο, τον οποίο εύχεσαι να μπορούσες να ξεχάσεις ώστε να τον βιώσεις απ'την αρχή!!!
Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews221 followers
December 22, 2020
Nadie como Poe es capaz de crear estos ambientes tan opresivos y estos personajes angustiados.
Un cuento fantástico de imprescindible lectura.

No one can create such oppressive environments and anguished characters like Poe.
A fantastic story that must be read.
Profile Image for Jayakrishnan.
496 reviews183 followers
August 11, 2021
Flowery sentences shoved the macabre atmosphere of the house of Usher down my throat. The plot, which was interesting, takes the backseat. What was it really about? The decline of a once great family/mansion because the last generation are a couple of self-absorbed pussies who let their minds be hijacked by the darkest forces inside them? Not everything is revealed to us. So let me use my imagination. The brother-sister duo confined themselves to their rooms, reading obscure books and listening to weird music instead of managing the affairs of the house or going out into the world and making a mark. They inevitably turn on each other. That's what I got from the story. I read Joris Karl Huysman's Against Nature last week. The protagonist in the novel confines himself to a house made according to his tastes and dedicates himself to the pursuit of pleasure. But he goes crazy and turns to Christianity. Were the brother-sister duo in The Fall of the House of Usher blighted by acedia? I think so.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
October 17, 2022
“The Fall of the House of Usher” is a classic Poe story, and helps us define just what it means to be “gothic” in nineteenth century literature. Continuous dark, stormy weather, a huge decaying gothic-style house, continuous pervasive gloom, humans infused with all this.

Roderick Usher, pale and wild-haired owner of the house. Sick, maybe from the waters seeping from the tarn into the house? The fungi on the building? Is Roderick an opium eater? Living with his also pale and wild-haired wraith twin sister Madeline. Mental disorder, nervous agitation, mysterious house. Lead poisoning? (imposing a contemporary theory. . .). House decayed, with a crack in the foundation, tall ceilings, dimly lit.

Sonorous, formal language on the verge of the ridiculous: “cadaverousness, “ “pertinacity,” “phantasmagoric.” Language that matches the house, a little stuffy.

“An excited and highly distempered ideality.” A romantic vision filled with dread, fear.

[“I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me.” –Barthes]

The pleasures of the text, satisfying or at least calling up desire: aching, seductive. Tacking between the laughter of desire and the tears of heartbreak, loss. Death and darkness as delicious pleasures.

[Text of bliss: the text that imposes a state of loss, the text that discomforts (perhaps to the point of a certain boredom), unsettles the reader's historical, cultural, psychological assumptions, the consistency of his tastes, values, memories, brings to a crisis his relation with language.—Barthes]

Rhapsodic painting and music. Presaged by Romantics Coleridge, Wordsworth, Liszt. An imagination intensified by anxiety. Decay. (Presaged themselves by Romeo, Macbeth, Hamlet?) The mad stoned suicidally romantic artist. Looking ahead to the Beats, to beat daddy Kerouac! Wild rhapsodic self-destruction.

“We painted and read together, or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his speaking guitar.”

“A small picture [made by Roderick] presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, white, and without interruption or device.”

“He not infrequently accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations.” [Hey! Flash forward to rap! Spoken word?]

The narrator and Usher seem to speak little, and alternately Usher lapsed into melancholy, or wild incoherent, rhapsodic talking.

“Manic depression. . . ”—Jimi Hendrix

“A mere nervous affection, he [Roderick] immediately added, which would undoubtedly soon pass off” (as Lady Macbeth claimed about Macbeth who freaks out at the sight of Banquo’s ghost).
The house is, as if it were, his very soul, weighing on him. In contemporary gothic tales, Sylvie and Ruth and Lucie in Housekeeping, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the gothic House is the Soul. And the House seen as a tomb.

So Madeline dies, put in a vault in the musty room below our narrator.
In grief, agitation, driven to madness, Usher succumbs to “gazing upon vacancy for long hours.”

They write, they draw, they play music, but they also read books, too, to heal, or to further sink into the gloom: the literature of dread. Life echoes the story the narrator is reading.

A knocking. What? Who’s there?! But she’s dead! Buried? Buried Madeline alive?!

“Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!” [Shudder]

(As I teenager I saw a B Vincent Price movie, “Premature Burial,” at a drive-in, and I actually screamed from the Big Reveal: SHE WAS ALIVE! SHE WAS ALIVE! SHE WAS ALIVE!)

Wild storm, house cracks at the fissure we early learned about, collapses (no spoiler here, remember that title) into the tarn [a small mountain lake!]. Nature in all its voluptuousness takes the house back into itself.

So. I liked it. There’s too little dialogue in the story, which for me is a fault, but it has its moments. A classic gothic horror story!
Profile Image for Meike.
1,591 reviews2,815 followers
October 31, 2021
Aaaahhhhh, gothic psychological horror extraordinaire - who can resist the sinister appeal of Eddie Poe's twisted tales? Here, an enigmatic narrator (who is this unnamed dude?) receives a letter from his childhood friend Roderick Usher who begs him to come visit. The narrator obliges and rides to the crumbling mansion where Roddy and his twin sister Madeline reside. The noble members of the dynastic house of Usher have long suffered from nervous conditions and acute sensibilities, and frail Roddy informs his guest that his sister his about to die - which promptly happens...maybe. During a stormy night, Roddy confesses that he has buried his sister alive..but did he really?

Once again, Poe investigates the malfunctions of the human mind. The crumbling mansion corresponds with Roderick's disintegrating mind, his twin sister mirros him like the mansion is mirrored in the lake that will finally swallow the house and, with it, the last two members of the Usher family. Is the relationship between Roderick and Medeline incestous? (Remember that Poe married his underage cousin!) Are these pale, frail creatures vampires? Does the wheather outside influence what happens in the house or is it in fact the other way around?

As we do not know much about the narrator except the nature of his relationship to crazy Roddy, we don't know what might affect his perceptions - and on top of that, there is a lot of background information that he himself obviously doesn't have but that would be crucial to make sense of what happens in the House of Usher. As a consequence, we as readers start speculating and connecting the dots - and as there a re multiple interpretations that make sense, this story can be read again and again without losing its spooky appeal. Lovers of the arts must also appreciate how sneaky Poe insinuates that mentally deranged people tend to be great artists, Roderick not being the only example in the Usher family.

Super elegant, super smart, super spooky - Poe still rules Halloween.
Btw: Check out the music video to "Blue Orchid" by The White Stripes and enjoy the House of Usher- vibes!
Profile Image for kohey.
51 reviews195 followers
November 4, 2018
This dark,somber and melancholic world makes my head spinning.
Profile Image for J.
194 reviews100 followers
August 4, 2022
Maybe the single greatest short horror story that has ever been written. Disclaimer: I haven't read all of the short horror stories that have ever been written throughout the world.
July 14, 2022
“His heart is a suspended lute; as soon as you touch it, it resonates”.

Este relato me gustó mucho más que los anteriores, pues sí que tiene una atmósfera de terror, de angustia, de opresión y de incertidumbre. Aquí el protagonista va a visitar a Roderick, un amigo que lo llama para que lo acompañe en medio de la extraña enfermedad que lo aqueja. Durante todo el tiempo, el protagonista no se siente cómodo en la casa, pues hay algo en el ambiente que está mal. Un día, de repente, la hermana de Roderick muere y preparan una bóveda para ella, y tras ese suceso se desata aún más todo lo extraño que está sucediendo en la Casa Usher.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book563 followers
March 28, 2023
Oh come on, how is this not fun. If read on a dark night, one when the lights are out because there is a furious storm beating on your rooftop and windows, it would make you shudder indeed.

It is not my first reading, but it might be my most appreciative one. I reveled in the description, the careful choice of words, the building agitation of our narrator. I picked up on one tidbit I might have missed before. Very early on in the narrator's description of Roderick Usher (who doesn't love that name?), we are told his "family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art..." As an artist who seriously teetered on the edge of madness himself, I wonder how completely Poe connected art and insanity; how much he feared that the very sensitive and artistic personality might succumb to it.

Having just finished a historical (biographical) novel of Poe, Mrs. Poe, I had an itch to revisit some of his tales. I was tickled that this one was picked for a group read. Now, off to see what others are saying about it.
Profile Image for Exina.
1,189 reviews382 followers
January 5, 2020
I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it--I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher?

"The Fall of the House of Usher is considered the best example of Poe's "totality", where every element and detail is related and relevant.” It might be important to know before you read it. I’ve read this story many times, trying to grasp all those relevant elements, but it’s not easy. Not only because it’s complex, but also because it’s mesmerizing. As you read it, you forget about literary instructions.
“There were times indeed when I thought his unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret.”

I like it, though it’s totally not my type of story. It’s a real horror. Dark, mysterious, and morbid. But it’s also has lyrical elements, and the writing style is a thrilling delight to read.
“Not hear it? --yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long --long --long --many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it --yet I dared not --oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!"

The setting, the characters, the plot, the atmosphere – creepily perfect! A must read!

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