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The Fall of the House of

Usher
Edgar Allan Poe
The Fall of the House of Usher

◗ Primeira publicação no Burton's


Gentleman's Magazine em Setembro de
1839
◗ Revisado para ser incluso na coleção Tales
of the Grotesque and Arabesque em 1845
◗ Contém o poema "The Haunted Palace",
publicado anteriormente em abril de 1839
na revista Baltimore Museum
◗ A história tem início quando narrador
sem nome chega à casa de seu amigo
Roderick Usher, que estava doente
◗ Doença inclui: hiperestesia
(sensibilidade à luz, sons, cheiros e
sabores), hipodondria, muita ansiedade
◗ A irmã de Usher, Madeline, também
sofre de catalepsia
◗ O narrador fica impressionado com as
pinturas de Usher, e tenta animá-lo
lendo para ele e ouvindo suas músicas
tocadas ao violão
◗ Usher canta "The Haunted Palace", e
fala que acredita que a casa é sensitiva
◗ Após, Usher informa o narrador que sua irmã
morrera
◗ Ela é sepultada por 2 semanas numa adega
antes de ser transportada para o cemítério
◗ Usher e o narrador ficam muito agitados sem
nenhuma razão aparente
◗ Com a tempestade, Usher dirige-se ao quarto
do narrador (que fica acima da adega),
abrindo sua janela
◗ Percebe que pântano ao redor da casa parece
brilhar no escuro, iluminando as pinturas de
Usher
◗ O narrador tenta acalmar Usher lendo The Mad
Trist, história que envolve um cavaleiro
chamado Ethelred que se abriga na casa de
um ermitão a fim de escapar da tempestade,
encontrando um palácio de ouro guardado
pelo dragão.
◗ Encontra também pendurado na parede uma
armadura metal brilhante, escrito: o que matar
o dragão ganhará a armadura.
◗ Com um golpe de sua clava, ele vence o
dragão, tenta pegar a armadura, que cai no
chão com um barulho ensurdecedor
◗ Enquanto o narrador lê a história, estalos de barulhos
são ouvidos pela casa
◗ Quando ele fala do barulho de
◗ When the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a
shriek is heard, again within the house. As he relates
the shield falling from off the wall, a reverberation,
metallic and hollow, can be heard. Usher, hysterical,
exclaims that these sounds are being made by his
sister, who was in fact alive when she was entombed.
The bedroom door is then blown open to reveal
Madeline standing there. She falls violently in death
upon her brother, who also dies. The narrator then flees
the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of light
causing him to look back upon the House of Usher, in
time to watch it break in two, the fragments sinking into
the tarn.
◗ Poe always conveys one human characteristic in each of his
short stories as one of his major themes. The theme that Poe
conveys through this story is that of fear.
◗ The doppelgänger theme, prominent in such works of Poe as "
William Wilson", appears as well in "The Fall of the House of
Usher". The reflection of the house in the tarn is described in
the opening paragraph, and "a striking similitude between the
brother and sister" is mentioned when Madeline "dies".
◗ The death and resurrection of a woman, a main theme in "
Ligeia" and "Morella", is also present here.
◗ The theme of mental illness is explored in this work, as it is in
numerous other tales such as "Berenice".
◗ Interment while alive is also explored in "The Premature Burial
" and "The Cask of Amontillado".
◗ There are also various Gothic elements, such as the decrepit
castle and tarn, whose signs of decay reflect the mental
condition of Usher, which is rapidly deteriorating.
◗ Literary significance & criticism
◗ L. Sprague de Camp, in his Lovecraft: A
Biography [p.246f], wrote that "[a]ccording to
the late [Poe expert] Thomas O. Mabbott, [H.
P.] Lovecraft, in 'Supernatural Horror,' solved a
problem in the interpretation of Poe" by
arguing that "Roderick Usher, his sister
Madeline, and the house all shared one
common soul".
◗ Other writers have claimed that themes of
incest and vampirism are suggested in the
work.
◗ Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
◗ In the low-budget Roger Corman film from 1960, known
in the United States as House of Usher, the narrator falls
in love with the sickly Madeline, much to Roderick's
horror. As Roderick reveals, the Usher family has a
history of evil and cruelty so great that he and Madeline
pledged in their youth never to have children and to
allow their family to die with them. When Madeline falls
into a deathlike slumber, her brother rushes to have her
placed in the family crypt. When she wakes up,
Madeline goes insane from being buried alive and
breaks free through insanity-induced strength. She
confronts her brother only to fall dead at his feet.
Suddenly the house begins to collapse and the narrator
flees as Roderick is killed by the falling house. The film
was Corman's first in a series of eight films inspired by
the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
◗ List of films
◗ La Chute de la maison Usher (France, 1928) by Jean Epstein
◗ The Fall of the House of Usher (US, 1928) by James Sibley Watson and Melville
Webber
◗ The Fall of the House of Usher (UK, 1949) directed by Ivan Barnett
◗ House of Usher (a.k.a. Fall of the House of Usher and The Mysterious House of
Usher) (1960) by Roger Corman with Vincent Price
◗ The Fall of the House of Usher (1966) (TV)
◗ '"Zánik domu Usheru" (The Fall of the House of Usher) (1980) (animated version
by Jan Svankmajer)
◗ "Histoires extraordinaires: La chute de la maison Usher" (1981) (TV) with
Mathieu Carrière
◗ The Fall of the House of Usher (1982) (TV) with Martin Landau and Ray Walston
◗ "El hundimiento de la Casa de Usher'" (1983) by Jesus Franco with
Howard Vernon
◗ The House of Usher (1988) with Oliver Reed
◗ The House of Usher (2005)
◗ Music
◗ Peter Hammill composed and recorded an opera based on the story in 1991. In this work, the
house itself becomes a vocal part, to be sung by the same performer who sings the role of
Roderick Usher. The libretto by Chris Judge Smith incorporates material from other writings by
Poe, and also adopts the subplot of a romantic attraction between Madeline Usher and the
narrator, who is given the name Montresor.
◗ Another operatic version was composed by Philip Glass, with a libretto by Arthur Yorinks.
Claude Debussy wrote about 30 minutes of The Fall of the House of Usher, an unfinished
opera that was to be a companion piece to another short opera based on Poe's The Devil in
the Belfry.
◗ Composer Nikita Koshkin wrote a piece for classical guitar entitled "Usher Waltz". The name
possibly refers to the "perversion... of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber" which
Roderick improvises on his guitar, but the relationship between Koshkin's piece and Von
Weber's "Aufforderung zum Tanz" is unclear. "Usher Waltz" more clearly relates to Poe's work
in its dark mood and its compositional structure.
◗ The Alan Parsons Project included an instrumental with the same name on 1976's
Tales of Mystery and Imagination, an album of songs based on works by Poe. The song is in
five parts ("Prelude", "Arrival", "Intermezzo", "Pavane", and "Fall").
◗ The Hormones, a punk band from western Pennsylvania, has a song "Usher" after the tale.
◗ The punk/post-hardcore band Finch released a song from their second full length CD, Say
Hello to Sunshine, called "The Casket of Roderick Usher".
◗ The UK band Lindisfarne recorded a song "Lady Eleanor" in the 1970s which contained the
lyric "And in walked Roderick Usher with the Lady Eleanor"