The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

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by Edgar Allan Poe
     
 

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This early work by Edgar Allan Poe was originally published in 1839. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809, Poe became an orphan at a very early age. After being taken in by a couple in Richmond, he spent a brief spell in the United Kingdom before returning to enrol at the University of Virginia. Poe struggled for many years to make a living as a writer and frequently

Overview

This early work by Edgar Allan Poe was originally published in 1839. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809, Poe became an orphan at a very early age. After being taken in by a couple in Richmond, he spent a brief spell in the United Kingdom before returning to enrol at the University of Virginia. Poe struggled for many years to make a living as a writer and frequently had to move city to stay in employment as a critic. Even for his greatest success, 'The Raven', he only received $9 and, although becoming a household name, his financial position remained far from stable. Poe died in 1849, aged just 40, yet his legacy is a formidable one: He is seen today as one of the greatest practitioners of Gothic and detective fiction that ever lived, and popular culture is replete with references to him. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781447465966
Publisher:
Read Books Design
Publication date:
11/07/2012
Pages:
34
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.08(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

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 every-day life--the hideous dropping off of the veil. 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? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysisof this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, 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, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant part of the country--a letter from him--which, in its wildly importunate nature, had admitted of no other than a personal reply. The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The writer spoke of acute bodily illness--of a mental disorder which oppressed him--and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the manner in which all this, and much more, was said--it was the apparent heart that went with his request--which allowed me no room for hesitation; and I accordingly obeyed forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons.

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