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The Fall of the House of Usher/The Pit & the Pendulum/Other Tales of Mystery & Imagination (Classic Fiction)

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The Fall of the House of Usher - The Pit and the Pendulum The Black Cat - The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar The Cask of Amontillado - Ligeia - The Tell-Tale Heart The Masque of the Red Death - The Premature Burial The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagina The Fall of the House of Usher - The Pit and the Pendulum The Black Cat - The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar The Cask of Amontillado - Ligeia - The Tell-Tale Heart The Masque of the Red Death - The Premature Burial The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. Unerringly, he touches upon some of our greatest nightmares - premature burial, ghostly transformation, words from beyond the grave. Written in the 1840s, they have retained their power to shock and frighten even now.


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The Fall of the House of Usher - The Pit and the Pendulum The Black Cat - The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar The Cask of Amontillado - Ligeia - The Tell-Tale Heart The Masque of the Red Death - The Premature Burial The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagina The Fall of the House of Usher - The Pit and the Pendulum The Black Cat - The Facts in the Case of M Valdemar The Cask of Amontillado - Ligeia - The Tell-Tale Heart The Masque of the Red Death - The Premature Burial The horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, with its dungeon of death, and the overhanging gloom on the House of Usher demonstrate unforgettably the unique imagination of Edgar Allan Poe. Unerringly, he touches upon some of our greatest nightmares - premature burial, ghostly transformation, words from beyond the grave. Written in the 1840s, they have retained their power to shock and frighten even now.

30 review for The Fall of the House of Usher/The Pit & the Pendulum/Other Tales of Mystery & Imagination (Classic Fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories, Edgar Allan Poe The Fall of the House of Usher begins with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. As he arrives, the narrator notices a thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the house and into the adjacent tarn, or lake. It is revealed that Roderick's sister, Madeline, is also ill a The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories, Edgar Allan Poe The Fall of the House of Usher begins with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. As he arrives, the narrator notices a thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the house and into the adjacent tarn, or lake. It is revealed that Roderick's sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, deathlike trances. Roderick and Madeline are the only remaining members of the Usher family. The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings and attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings "The Haunted Palace", then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be alive, and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Further, Roderick believes that his fate is connected to the family mansion. Roderick later informs the narrator that Madeline has died. Fearing that her body will be exhumed for medical study, Roderick insists that she be entombed for two weeks in the family tomb located in the house before being permanently buried. The narrator helps Roderick put Madeline's body in the tomb, whereupon the narrator realizes that Madeline and Roderick are twins. The narrator also notes that Madeline's body has rosy cheeks, which sometimes happens after death. Over the next week, both Roderick and the narrator find themselves increasingly agitated. A storm begins, and Roderick comes to the narrator's bedroom (which is situated directly above the house's vault) in an almost hysterical state. Throwing the windows open to the storm, Roderick points out that the lake surrounding the house seems to glow in the dark, just as Roderick depicted in his paintings, but there is no lightning or other explainable source for the glow. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز چهاردهم ماه سپتامبر سال 2019میلادی عنوان: خزان خاندان آشر؛ عنوان روی جلد: خزان خاندان آشر و چند داستان دیگر؛ نویسنده ادگار آلن‌پو؛ مترجم لیلا دوستانی؛ تصویرگر نسیم شجاعی؛ تهران: فرهوش‏‫، ‏‫1397؛ در 185ص؛ شابک9786004954518؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م فهرست: خزان خاندان آشر؛ چاه و پاندول؛ میعاد؛ نقاب مرگ سرخ؛ گربه سیاه؛ سقوط در گرداب مالستروم؛ ادگار آلن پو؛ عنوان: ‏‫فروپاشی خانمان آشر؛ نویسنده: ادگار‌آلن پو؛ مترجم فاطمه کاملان؛ تهران: نشر لگا، 1399؛ در 54ص؛ شابک 9786008987840؛ زوال خاندان آشر، نام داستان کوتاهی در سبک وحشت از نویسنده ی «آمریکایی» روانشاد «ادگار آلن پو» است، که نخستین بار در مجله ی «آقایان برتون» در ماه سپتامبر سال 1839میلادی، و در «ایالات متحده آمریکا» به چاپ رسید، پس از آن در سال 1840میلادی و با کمی تغییر در مجموعه داستان‌های «گروتسک و آرابسک» منتشر شد؛ در این داستان از شعر «قصر جن‌زده» که پیشتر در شماره ی ماه آوریل سال 1839میلادی مجله ی «موزهٔ بالتیمور» چاپ شده بود نیز استفاده شده‌ است راوی داستان «زوال خاندان آشر» فرد بی‌نامی است، که پس از دریافت نامه‌ ای از «رودریک آشر»، دوست دوران کودکیش، که در آن از نگرانی خود درباره ی سلامتیش سخن گفته، و اینکه فکر می‌کند بیمار است، چون دچار علایمی همچون اضطراب، و حساسیت به نور، صدا، و بو شده‌ است؛ به دیدن او می‌رود؛ در آنجا درمی‌یابد، که «مادلین»، خواهر دوقلوی «رودریک» نیز، بیمار است؛ و به دلیل ابتلا به جمود عضلانی، در حالتی همچون مرده به سر می‌برد؛ «رودریک» فرد هنرمندی است، و راوی که تحت تأثیر نقاشی‌های او قرار گرفته، سعی می‌کند تا با همراهی دوست قدیمیش در خواندن کتاب، و گوش سپاردن به آهنگ‌هایی که «رودریک» خود ساخته، و آنها را برای راوی با گیتار می‌نوازد، به او روحیه بدهد؛ «رودریک» ترانه ی «قصر جن‌زده» را می‌خواند، و سپس به دوستش می‌گوید، که اطمینان دارد خانه‌ ای که در آن زندگی می‌کنند نیز، دارای ادراک است، و این درک برخاسته از ترکیب عمارت، با پوشش گیاهی اطراف آن است؛ چند روز بعد «رودریک» به دوستش اطلاع می‌دهد، که خواهرش مرده، و بر این موضوع پافشاری می‌کند، که پیش از دفن کامل او، جسدش را به مدت دو هفته درون تابوتی، در آرامگاه خانوادگیشان نگه دارد؛ راوی به «رودریک» یاری می‌کند، تا جسد را درون تابوت بگذارند، و همان لحظه، گونه‌های گلگون «مادلین» می‌بیند، که چنین حالتی گاه در مورد بسیاری از افراد، پس از مرگ روی می‌دهد؛ آنها تابوت را درون آرامگاه خانوادگی قرار می‌دهند، و به داخل ساختمان بازمی‌گردند، اما هر دوی آنها در طول یک هفته ی پس از آن بدون هیچ دلیل روشنی، احساس آشفتگی می‌کنند؛ در شبی طوفانی، «رودریک» به اتاق دوستش، که در بالای آرامگاه قرار دارد می‌آید، و پنجره را با وجود طوفانی بودن هوا باز می‌کند، راوی می‌بیند، با وجود اینکه هیچ نوری در اطراف نیست، اما دریاچه‌ ای که ساختمان را احاطه کرده، دقیقاً همانند نقاشی‌ ای که «رودریک آشر» از آن کشیده بود، می‌درخشد؛ راوی کوشش می‌کند تا «رودریک» را با خواندن رمان «تریست دیوانه» آرام کند؛ کتاب «تریست دیوانه» روایتگر داستان شوالیه‌ ای به نام «اتلرد» است، که برای فرار از طوفان، به‌ زور وارد خانه ی زاهدی عزلت‌ نشین می‌شود، و در برابر خود کاخی طلایی را می‌بیند، که اژدهایی از آن نگهبانی می‌کند، بر روی دیوار کاخ، سپری درخشان قرار دارد، که روی آن بر اساس افسانه‌ ای، نوشته شده‌، که هر آنکس که اژدها را بکشد، آن سپر را به دست خواهد آورد؛ «اتلرد» با یک ضربه ی گرز خود، اژدها را می‌کشد، و اژدها با فریادی دلخراش بر زمین می‌افتد، سپس برای برداشتن سپر پیش می‌رود، که آن نیز فرو افتاده و صدایی هولناک از برخوردش با زمین برمی‌خیزد؛ زمانی که راوی مشغول خواندن چگونگی ورود شوالیه به خانه‌ است، صداهایی همچون ترق و تروق، و شکافتن چیزی از جایی از ساختمان به گوش می‌رسد؛ وقتی می‌خواند که اژدها با فریادی دلخراش بر زمین افتاد، صدای جیغی دلخراش، از درون خانه شنیده می‌شود؛ وقتی به افتادن سپر از روی دیوار می‌رسد، درون خانه نیز، طنینی فلزی و توخالی شنیده می‌شود؛ وحشت «رودریک» به اوج خود رسیده‌ است، و سرانجام فریاد می‌کشد که خواهرش دارد این صداها را تولید می‌کند، زیرا وقتی او را درون تابوت می‌گذاشتند، هنوز زنده بوده، و «رودریک» می‌دانسته که او زنده‌ است؛ ناگهان در اتاق، با شدت باز شده و «مادلین» در آستانه ی در، ظاهر می‌شود؛ او خود را بر روی برادرش می‌اندازد، و هر دو چونان جنازه‌ ای بر کف اتاق می‌افتند، راوی با دیدن این صحنه، از آن خانه فرار می‌کند، ولی به هنگام دویدن، نوری توجهش را جلب می‌کند، به عقب بر می‌گردد، و خانه ی «آشر» را می‌بیند، که به دو نیم شده، و تکه‌هایش در دریاچه ی اطراف آن در حال فرورفتن است تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. Before reading this book, I had a misconception that Edger Allen Poe was a horror writer. Oh, how wrong I was! Yes, Poe might be known for his stories of macabre and gothic horror. But it was his versatility that I found attractive in his writings. Without much further ado, let's see what this collection holds Macabre/Horror TRUE! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. Before reading this book, I had a misconception that Edger Allen Poe was a horror writer. Oh, how wrong I was! Yes, Poe might be known for his stories of macabre and gothic horror. But it was his versatility that I found attractive in his writings. Without much further ado, let's see what this collection holds Macabre/Horror TRUE! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I AM MAD? Most of the stories in this collection are Gothic horror. I found his work on this genre not scary, but thoroughly enjoyable. Poe presents some of his signature stories in a unique way: Through the eyes of the killer/ mad man. The most famous one being Tell-Tale Heart which features an unreliable madman as the narrator. Likewise, Poe's The Cask of Amontillado is narrated by a reliable killer. Another tale, The black cat borrows its plot elements from Tell-tale heart and delivers a wicked little tale. The Pit and the Pendulum is about a prisoner of Spanish Inquisition and presents a unique imagery in the minds of the reader. *Gasps* While I was reading Fall of House Usher, I understood that Poe had a thing for the burial of bodies. Seriously, he was in love with that plot element. Even though all of the above were excellent stories, my favourite in this genre, no, scratch that, in this book is The Masque of Red death which oddly had something Shakespearian about it. I loved the allusion and the imagery it invoked. Adventure The very memorable The Descent into Maelstrom is a ride like no other. It tells a tale of a man who survived a terrible maelstrom at sea with the help of reasoning skills. Manuscript found in a bottle is yet another nautical adventure which tells a tale of a man who got stuck in a ghost ship. I was a bit confused with the story and apparently, so is the good people of Internet. The story is even analysed as a satire by certain pundits! Sci-Fi The Balloon Hoax: Even though this story could give Jules Verne run for his money, the science is too outdated to enjoy this one. Yet this story is unique because of its publication history. This was written by Poe as an actual news report which was published in the newspaper in the year of 1844. People got so excited about the whole thing.... until it turned out to be a hoax. Hence the name. Detective fiction C. Auguste Dupin. Anyone know who that is? Because I had no idea! From Wikipedia Seriously, if Poe were not to write these stories, we might have ended up not having a Sherlock Holmes! Holmes character resembles Poe's Dupin in terms of method and style. The first story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue introduces us to this character and his methods. Even though this was the pioneer detective story, it is bogged down by lengthy narrative and a... well... weird reveal. Everything associated with this story is weird. Have you listened to the song, Murders in Rue Morgue by Iron Maiden? Weird! The second story, The Purloined Letter featuring Dupin clearly shows that he is Sherlock Holmes. The story features incriminating documents being used for blackmailing and police's struggle to retrieve it. I remember reading an exact replica of this story featuring Holmes written by Doyle. (I can't remember the name) Satire The man who was used up is a pretty funny satire. Yes, SATIRE. He even writes satire. There were also two other stories. Diddling and Assignation which were quite boring and forgettable. Ahoy, A Novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only novel written by Poe and it is a mixed bag in terms of storytelling. Opening with a sea voyage that went wrong, the narrative presents some excellent chapters. But it falls flat in the second half as the story changes its direction. For a detailed review of the novel-----> Here! Overall, Poe is a legend. He is a pioneer and a brilliant writer. Don't believe me? Read these stories!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    This selection of short stories reveals Edgar Allan Poe in all his moods. All the stories have been reviewed, but some have their own separate reviews and star rating. These are indicated with links at the end. This review and star rating is for the remainder of this selection. The Fall of the House of Usher (published in 1839) is the title story of the collection. It may well be one of the stories which started the current interest in the gothic genre, although Ann Radcliffe's "The Mysteries o This selection of short stories reveals Edgar Allan Poe in all his moods. All the stories have been reviewed, but some have their own separate reviews and star rating. These are indicated with links at the end. This review and star rating is for the remainder of this selection. The Fall of the House of Usher (published in 1839) is the title story of the collection. It 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. (view spoiler)[ Once there, Usher is found to be a hypochondriac, suffering greatly with nervous agitation. He and his sister Madeline, who also has the similar ghastly affliction, are the last of the line. (hide spoiler)] 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 forboding and impending doom. Conversation is virtually absent; the only occasions being for dramatic effect, for example (view spoiler)[ near the end when Usher bursts forth with an impassioned speech, "Oh pity me, miserable wretch that I am - I dare not - I dare not speak. We have put her living in the tomb!" Indeed this speech goes on so long that the reader is thrilled by a suspicion that Usher is now completely insane and gabbling nonsense. (hide spoiler)] The culmination of this story is a masterpiece of gothic description. Our credulity is stretched as the characters reach a point of hysteria, (view spoiler)[ and the surroundings themselves become increasingly sentient. The inkling about the ending which was dangled intriguingly before the reader at the start is satisfyingly proved correct. Both family and house are by then intertwined in an almost organic sense, and their demise is powerful and surreal. Was it wholly due to a tornado, (hide spoiler)] or was something more supernatural at work? In all Poe wrote 69 short stories, but this book contains just 14, including the title story just reviewed, plus a novella - The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym - a nautical adventure. The first 3 are also nautical stories: The Balloon Hoax (1844), interestingly, was exactly that - a hoax. Apparently Poe wrote it as fiction pretending to be a newspaper article about a European balloonist called Edward Monck Mason crossing the Atlantic in a gas balloon in three days. There are many detailed technical specifications, which means that the story itself is not very interesting, although perhaps any hoax is going to have to seem rather dry and technical to be convincing. He is building up a fiction to seem true, which is almost the reverse of the ratiocination stories such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" , where the reader has to take things apart to solve a problem. Hot air balloons were still in their infancy, so it can be regarded as an early form of SF, and some think it may have been the inspiration for Jules Verne's later work, "Around the World in Eighty days." Manuscript Found in a Bottle (1833) The narrator here is a traveller who has been shipwrecked along with one other old man, after a violent sandstorm and hurricane has killed the captain and crew of his ship. (view spoiler)[ They then collide with a gigantic black galleon heading to the South Pole, and the traveller begins to write an account of his harrowing experiences and the disasters which have occurred. He is puzzled by the behaviour of the crew on the new ship, as they seem strangely hopeful at the prospect of being destroyed. Nearing Antarctica the ship enters a clearing in the ice, where they all plunge into a whirlpool and sink into the sea. (hide spoiler)] The reader can appreciate the beautiful powerful but haunting descriptions of Nature in this story, and marvel at the narrator's isolation and the increasingly spectral quality of the crew. It has been suggested that this is a satire of typical sea stories. One critic described it as, "a sustained crescendo of ever-building dread in the face of ever-stranger and ever-more-imminent catastrophe." A Descent into Maelstrom (1841) is a very similar tale, with Poe's extraordinary take on the nautical story with his extravagant and atmospheric use of language. There is a tale within a tale. The narrator is told the story of a fishermen versus the elements off the Norwegian coast a few years earlier, and is told that (view spoiler)[he only appears to be old because of his experiences, watching the horror of his brothers being slowly sucked into the maelstrom. Again, the whole piece is an escalating description of a shipwreck and a whirlpool and the reader is caught up in the tension of whether there is going to be a sole survivor. (hide spoiler)] A Descent into Maelstrom has been credited as an example of an early SF story. Both these two stories remind the reader of Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (1798), and are tales of sensation which emphasise the narrator's thoughts and feelings, and his terror of being killed in the whirlpool. Again, they have evocative powerful descriptions of storms at sea, but unless you are a fan of nautical literature, you may find that you admire them, but that leave you cold. They may not evoke the chill and dread of the true horror story we associate with Poe. Here follow some links to my reviews of the other stories in this collection: The Assignation is reviewed link here The Black Cat is reviewed link here The Cask of Amontillado is reviewed link here Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences is reviewed link here The Man that Was Used Up: A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign is reviewed link here The Masque of the Red Death is reviewed link here The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) and The Purloined Letter (1844) are both reviewed in the collection which contains 5 short stories about the detective Auguste Dupin. Link here to my review of that collection. The Pit and the Pendulum is reviewed link here The Tell-Tale Heart is reviewed link here In most of these stories are the elements we associate with Poe as a so-called "Dark Romantic" - the human fallibility and proneness to sin, personal torment and self-destruction. (Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville also write in this Gothic sub-genre.) The delusions, spectres and phantasms he conjures up are all anthropomorphised evil. Two or three of the stories here are tongue-in-cheek or humorous, but most display Poe's sinister recurring themes and motifs, thus providing a good introduction to his work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    I've been slowly working my way through this over the past six months, reading a story here and there. Initially I was quite daunted by the idea of Edgar Allan Poe, but as I progressed through the collection I found myself relaxing into it and just enjoying the writing. There were many standout stories in this collection, but I did especially enjoy The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Premature Burial, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-tale Heart and T I've been slowly working my way through this over the past six months, reading a story here and there. Initially I was quite daunted by the idea of Edgar Allan Poe, but as I progressed through the collection I found myself relaxing into it and just enjoying the writing. There were many standout stories in this collection, but I did especially enjoy The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Premature Burial, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-tale Heart and The Spectacles which was a rather funny story. The Domain of Arnheim and Landor's Cottage, were the only two stories that I found myself having to make an effort to maintain my focus- they were beautifully written though, and not too long. I'm glad I read this and intend to read more Poe soon.

  5. 5 out of 5

    RJ - Slayer of Trolls

    This collection includes many of Poe's most well-known and memorable stories, including the following (along with ratings for each and some song lyrics that might be insightful or amusing, or not): The Balloon Hoax - 1/5 - my friends say I should act my age MS. Found in a Bottle - 2/5 - just a dream and the wind to carry me, and soon I will be free A Descent into the Maelstrom - 3/5 - rock you like a hurricane The Murders in the Rue Morgue - 3/5 - now I am the proudest monkey you've ever seen The Pu This collection includes many of Poe's most well-known and memorable stories, including the following (along with ratings for each and some song lyrics that might be insightful or amusing, or not): The Balloon Hoax - 1/5 - my friends say I should act my age MS. Found in a Bottle - 2/5 - just a dream and the wind to carry me, and soon I will be free A Descent into the Maelstrom - 3/5 - rock you like a hurricane The Murders in the Rue Morgue - 3/5 - now I am the proudest monkey you've ever seen The Purloined Letter - 3/5 - there probably was a problem at the post office or somethin' The Black Cat - 4/5 - I got cat class and I got cat style The Fall of the House of Usher - 3/5 - hold tight, we're in for nasty weather The Pit and the Pendulum - 3/5 - jury found him guilty, gave him sixteen years in hell The Masque of the Red Death - 3/5 - I've got a fever of a hundred and three The Cask of Amontillado - 3/5 - red red wine, it's up to you The Assignation - 3/5 - the statue got me high The Tell-Tale Heart - 4/5 - kickstart my heart Diddling - 3/5 - if you've got the inclination I have the crime The Man that was Used Up - 2/5 - come on tell me who are you In addition, Poe's only full-length novel is also included in this collection: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - 3/5 - Poe would later refer to his only full-length novel as "a very silly book." Modeled after popular sea-voyage exploits - fictional and non - of the time, Poe spins a wild adventure tale that encompasses several unlikely episodes in the young life of his fictional narrator, Pym. From a literary standpoint, Narrative is most notable for having influenced Verne, Melville, Doyle and Lovecraft, whose own At the Mountains of Madness could almost be a sequel to this novel. Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

  6. 5 out of 5

    melydia

    The Balloon-Hoax - Wow. That was really boring. Ms. Found in a Bottle - Good suspense, but the ending confused me. A Descent into the Maelstrom - Not too memorable. The Murders in the Rue Morgue - A rather silly Holmes-esque mystery tale. The Purloined Letter - Not bad, but far too wordy. The Black Cat - Deliciously disturbing. The Fall of the House of Usher - Not as interesting as his others, but good atmosphere. The Pit and the Pendulum - A delightful tale of suspense. The Masque of the Red Death - Me The Balloon-Hoax - Wow. That was really boring. Ms. Found in a Bottle - Good suspense, but the ending confused me. A Descent into the Maelstrom - Not too memorable. The Murders in the Rue Morgue - A rather silly Holmes-esque mystery tale. The Purloined Letter - Not bad, but far too wordy. The Black Cat - Deliciously disturbing. The Fall of the House of Usher - Not as interesting as his others, but good atmosphere. The Pit and the Pendulum - A delightful tale of suspense. The Masque of the Red Death - Meh. Weird for no reason and kind of boring. The Cask of Amontillado - I think makes Poe so memorable is his vivid first-person accounts from the point of view of a killer. The Assignation - I couldn't follow this one. What did the drowning child and the art aficionado have to do with one another? The Tell-Tale Heart - Funnier than I'd remembered. One of my all-time favorites. Diddling - A random essay on swindling. The Man That was Used Up - Silly, amusing, but ends a bit too abruptly. Narrative of A. Gordon Pym - Some good bits, but I think I just don't like maritime fiction.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    I was just going to read ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ to remind myself of it before reading T. Kingfisher's ‘What Moves the Dead’ which is presented as an extended retelling of the story. I found myself, however, reminded of how good a writer Poe was, and had to go on and reread many of the stories in this collection. It's a great collection with ‘The Tell-Tale heart ‘ and ‘The Black Cat’ among my favorites. I was just going to read ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ to remind myself of it before reading T. Kingfisher's ‘What Moves the Dead’ which is presented as an extended retelling of the story. I found myself, however, reminded of how good a writer Poe was, and had to go on and reread many of the stories in this collection. It's a great collection with ‘The Tell-Tale heart ‘ and ‘The Black Cat’ among my favorites.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This was my first ever collection i have read of mr. Poe and I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. The collection was my pick for all hallow's read to read for Halloween this year. I also hosted a readalong of this collection online on facebook andat the all about books book club on goodreads. This month from october 20th through tonight we read and discussed the stories by poe that was in this collection along with the novel A narrative of A. Gordon Pym. It also included my favorit This was my first ever collection i have read of mr. Poe and I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. The collection was my pick for all hallow's read to read for Halloween this year. I also hosted a readalong of this collection online on facebook andat the all about books book club on goodreads. This month from october 20th through tonight we read and discussed the stories by poe that was in this collection along with the novel A narrative of A. Gordon Pym. It also included my favorite poe story The Masque of the Red Death which I first read in middle school. It is still a favorite to this day. The only stories I did not enjoy were diddling and the man that was used up. I would definitely reccomend this colle ction to others. Go to the all about books book club on goodreads to see my comments on these stories at this link https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... and enjoy!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    3.5 stars. I did not read (or listen to) all of the books in this collection so this review is for the books listed below (I will periodically update as I listen to more of the stories): "The Pit and the Pendulum" (2.5 to 3.0 stars): The best way I can think of to describe Poe's writing is "atmospheric" and he certainly does a good job creating atmosphere in this short story. A good, solid story but not the "classic" I was hoping for. "The Tell-Tale Heart" (4.0 stars): My favorite Poe story Of th 3.5 stars. I did not read (or listen to) all of the books in this collection so this review is for the books listed below (I will periodically update as I listen to more of the stories): "The Pit and the Pendulum" (2.5 to 3.0 stars): The best way I can think of to describe Poe's writing is "atmospheric" and he certainly does a good job creating atmosphere in this short story. A good, solid story but not the "classic" I was hoping for. "The Tell-Tale Heart" (4.0 stars): My favorite Poe story Of the ones listed here. A short, well-written and powerful story about guilt. "The Masque of the Red Death" (3.0 stars): Another good, solid short story by Poe and one that I think I liked better for not having overly high expectatons for it going in.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Apokripos

    Inspired Madness A Book Review of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales There’s no denying that much of modern horror fiction — as we know it anyway — grew out of the gloomy, chaotic depth of the 19th century when a few demented souls were churning out tales of things that go bump in the night. These were writers who were dubbed freaks during their time and, as if the patina of age hasn’t wore off, are still considered as such today. They broke taboos, infringed establis Inspired Madness A Book Review of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales There’s no denying that much of modern horror fiction — as we know it anyway — grew out of the gloomy, chaotic depth of the 19th century when a few demented souls were churning out tales of things that go bump in the night. These were writers who were dubbed freaks during their time and, as if the patina of age hasn’t wore off, are still considered as such today. They broke taboos, infringed established rules, attacked the sensibilities of their era, and twisted genres to the breaking point. Sure thing, they died broke, scorned or both, yet in the process gave birth to some of the great works of literature, became a pioneer and initiated many of the conventions that are now considered commonplace in much of today’s horror fiction. Thus, in my exploration (and bid to become the most annoying know-it-all) in matters concerning the horror genre, I looked back and was lead on this dark alleyway, in the hall of one of the most venerable Old Masters of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe. Looking at Poe’s life, one gets a fair idea that the man led a tragic, if not a horrific life. He was a poet at heart, aching for personal losses and hopping from job to job in the publishing world while he tried to find something fulfilling amid alcoholism and depression. To help pay the bills, like so many writers before and after him, he turned to sensationalism. Lucky for us, he was good at it, and the results were among the most vivid and chilling horror tales ever written. You’ve got your buried alive tale (The Premature Burial), your revenge tale (The Cask of Amontillado), your torture tale (The Pit and the Pendulum), your plague tale (The Masque of the Red Death), your haunted house tale (The Fall of the House of Usher) and perhaps the most vivid of all, the internalized ghost story (The Tell-Tale Heart). It is the last of these that always struck me as the most effective, at least among Poe’s work. All of these stories are important to the genre. Many of them are flat out revolutionary, and have been imitated ever since. But there’s something about The Tell-Tale Heart, on the relentless psychological hell it seems to hurl into the reader’s head, that makes it stand out as a masterwork among masterworks. It speaks to the fear that we might lose control of the one thing we always thought we could manage: ourselves. We all have our own little bodies under the floorboards, and even if we’re not murderers, it’s a story that suggests we could be — which, in my opinion, might be among the scariest feelings of all. Poe was a master at conveying this kind of internal torture, and for all the unapologetic sensationalism of his work, it’s that internalized agony that makes it all too real for us. The reader of an Edgar Allan Poe story — we could also throw in his splendid poems, I presume — may expect to encounter characters in the grip of extreme experience. Murder is common, as is madness, and life at times can seem a horror. Reading his stories is a retreat from humanity into a ghastly realm where as much as possible of the human is left out, where our weaknesses became wobbling strengths and our trembling gasping cries. But what we forever owe to Poe is he dared to look, when others have no guts even to take peek, at the door where horror lurks opening a worm of possibilities that slithered in and out of the genre to which he may have the (bloody?) hand of creating. More than anything else, it is Poe who sculpted, with such fine craftsmanship, a form out of our very own fears and nightmares. _________________________ Book Details: Published by Signet Classics (Mass Market Paperback, 1980 Edition) 383 pages Started: October 6, 2010 Finished: October 23, 2010 My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    The opening sequence right away sets-up the mood of the story – “the soundlessness of the autumn day, low-hanging clouds, dreariness of the countryside, waning of the day, the melancholy house itself.” The descriptions are so amazing of the inside of the Usher House which intensifies the impression of gloom and decay given by the outside. Such symbolism too! The way that Roderick’s studio is reached “through many dark and intricate passages” suggest that access to his mind is hidden and convolut The opening sequence right away sets-up the mood of the story – “the soundlessness of the autumn day, low-hanging clouds, dreariness of the countryside, waning of the day, the melancholy house itself.” The descriptions are so amazing of the inside of the Usher House which intensifies the impression of gloom and decay given by the outside. Such symbolism too! The way that Roderick’s studio is reached “through many dark and intricate passages” suggest that access to his mind is hidden and convoluted as well. The crafting of the tone is brilliant.

  12. 4 out of 5

    saïd

    There's one line in one of Poe's letters discussing the death of his wife where he describes his condition as, "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity" [01.01.1848]. That line, besides being absolutely brilliant, accurately describes what it's like to read any of his short stories. There's one line in one of Poe's letters discussing the death of his wife where he describes his condition as, "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity" [01.01.1848]. That line, besides being absolutely brilliant, accurately describes what it's like to read any of his short stories.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    Hearing your name given to literary characters is a weird experience. I guess I should be thankful I don't have a more common name, like Sarah or Kate or whatever. Sharing a name with a fictional character doesn't happen to me often - the last one I can remember is The Departed, where the single female character was named Madeline but it didn't really matter because she got called by name a whopping one time - but when it does it's weird. Especially when you're reading this story by Poe, and the Hearing your name given to literary characters is a weird experience. I guess I should be thankful I don't have a more common name, like Sarah or Kate or whatever. Sharing a name with a fictional character doesn't happen to me often - the last one I can remember is The Departed, where the single female character was named Madeline but it didn't really matter because she got called by name a whopping one time - but when it does it's weird. Especially when you're reading this story by Poe, and the girl in the coffin is named Madeline. It made the story even creepier than it already was.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Le Chat Noir

    Introduction by Stephen Marlowe:Poe walked so a lot of other writers could run. It’s a shame that he was never fully able to get the praise that he deserved. I’m not surprised he was better received in Europe. As for Rufus Griswold, imagine being known mostly as the man who spread slander about Poe’s work out of jealousy, posthumously no less, for 8 years. The Balloon Hoax: 3/5 – A group of men claim to have travelled to America by hot-air balloon. Poe wrote this as a hoax bit of news (fake news) Introduction by Stephen Marlowe:Poe walked so a lot of other writers could run. It’s a shame that he was never fully able to get the praise that he deserved. I’m not surprised he was better received in Europe. As for Rufus Griswold, imagine being known mostly as the man who spread slander about Poe’s work out of jealousy, posthumously no less, for 8 years. The Balloon Hoax: 3/5 – A group of men claim to have travelled to America by hot-air balloon. Poe wrote this as a hoax bit of news (fake news). MS. Found in a Bottle: 3/5 – A man is shipwrecked and finds himself aboard a ghost ship. It made me think of The Flying Dutchman. A Descent into the Maelstrom: 3.5/5 – A man is sucked into a deadly storm that takes the lives of his brothers. He loses his youth. Detective C. Auguste Dupin Series: 1. The Murders in the Rue Morgue: 4/5 – An elderly woman and her daughter are found gruesomely murdered in their home. Who the culprit ends up being was a huge surprise. *2. The Mystery of Marie Roget: 4/5 – A young woman disappears twice, the second time she turns up dead, floating in a river. The story follows a deconstruction of what could have happened. (This is based on the actual murder of “Beautiful Cigar Girl” Mary Cecilia Rogers. Her body was found floating in the Hudson River on July 28th 1841). 3. The Purloined Letter: 4/5 – This is a story of theft, politics and blackmail. The similarities to Poirot are staggering. I wish he had written more stories that featured Dupin. The Black Cat: 5/5 – Poe at his best, gruesome and fast-paced, this is one of his stories that have stuck with me through the years. The Fall of the House of Usher: 4/5 – A house, a pair of fraternal twins and the friend of the male twin. Eerie and creepy with a heavy feel of tragedy. This sense of dread and madness is what's missing in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. The Pit and the Pendulum: 5/5 – A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition. Heart racing reading. Anything but the pit! The Masque of the Red Death: 5/5 – I reread this one recently and wrote a more detailed review. Death cannot be escaped. The Cask of the Amontillado: 4/5 – Revenge. “The Amontillado!” The Assignation: 4/5 – Gothic setting, beauty, love and a baby drowning in a river. The Tell-Tale Heart: 5/5 – An offensive eye, an old man, a servant and the ever beating heart. Diddling: 4/5 – Humorous Poe. A story about conning people. Poe even gives examples. The Man that was Used up: 5/5 - Odd but interesting. Uses the N-word (once) but "Damn" is censored. Narrative of A. Gordon Pym: 4/5 - Poe's only novel and I enjoyed it. A stowaway that leads to mutiny, cannibalism, and a wild adventure. *This is not part of the book. I read this because, there are only three short stories that feature Detective C. Auguste Dupin. It didn't make sense to read two of them and review the third separately. Overall rating: 4/5 - A great collection of stories that properly convey Poe's versatility. He had a sense of humour and, could tell a great adventure story amidst the doom and gloom.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    4 Stars. My first look at a collection of stories by Edgar Allan Poe. A true revelation. I've come to him later than many and regret I didn't experience his tales earlier. Not all of them mind you - Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" contains an equal amount of racism, if not more, than Poe's "The Man That Was Used Up" as well as its ridicule of those with disabilities and Indigenous Americans. But "Mockingbird" with a story for the ages and superb writing is deserving of a re-read despite its signif 4 Stars. My first look at a collection of stories by Edgar Allan Poe. A true revelation. I've come to him later than many and regret I didn't experience his tales earlier. Not all of them mind you - Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" contains an equal amount of racism, if not more, than Poe's "The Man That Was Used Up" as well as its ridicule of those with disabilities and Indigenous Americans. But "Mockingbird" with a story for the ages and superb writing is deserving of a re-read despite its significant negatives. I knew so little of Poe. I thought all he wrote was horror. There's enough here to go around. "The Black Cat", "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Cask of Amontillado", and "The Pit and the Pendulum" will remain in your conscience forever. Yet there's humour too. "Diddling" and "The Balloon-Hoax." That last one has to be the best original scientific thinking in fiction until Jules Verne came along decades later. The Dupin mysteries are good too. The biggest drawback? At times Poe gets carried away with demonstrations of his learning to the detriment of the story. I read the 1960 edition with an afterword by R.P. Blackmur. Go for it! (January 2021)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This is my favorite of all Poe's stories. (Which considering my love for him, was not an easy choice to make.) I have read it several times over, numerous times out-loud and in scary voices to entertain my little brother :). It's incredible how Poe can write in this helter skelter fashion so that you really don't know exactly what's going on-- and then in one final paragraph, or even the final sentence, he brings it all together and has you so thoroughly creeped out and simultaneously blown your This is my favorite of all Poe's stories. (Which considering my love for him, was not an easy choice to make.) I have read it several times over, numerous times out-loud and in scary voices to entertain my little brother :). It's incredible how Poe can write in this helter skelter fashion so that you really don't know exactly what's going on-- and then in one final paragraph, or even the final sentence, he brings it all together and has you so thoroughly creeped out and simultaneously blown your mind, you need to go back and re-read it immediately. He was an opium induced genius and no one can ever compare to his rhythmic, sing-song, and deliriously fluid writing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    wampirczytelniczy

    THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER Intriguing storyline, beautiful writing style and a great plot twist! I have nothing else to add- I love Poe’s stories!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Ideiosepius

    It is always hard for me to review collections because inevitably there are some I like and some I like less or outright dislike. With this collection it is a bit easier in some ways because Poe has very consistent writing . As I was reading it, basically to reacquaint with Edgar Allan Poe and his classic stories and style then I spent a lot more time paying attention to those qualities than to the stories on their own. There are some 'Poes' that I really love and have done since reading them in It is always hard for me to review collections because inevitably there are some I like and some I like less or outright dislike. With this collection it is a bit easier in some ways because Poe has very consistent writing . As I was reading it, basically to reacquaint with Edgar Allan Poe and his classic stories and style then I spent a lot more time paying attention to those qualities than to the stories on their own. There are some 'Poes' that I really love and have done since reading them in my teens. The Raven, of course, a few others. While listening to this audiobook though, the reason I was not mad keen about Poe as a kid came back to me; his storylines are often inconsistent and the frames of logic wobbly. This can bother me. For a Poe audiobook, this narrator was perfect, the dread he could infuse into the lovely baroque language was impressive and with his narration I enjoyed a couple of the stories more than ever before. The Pit and the Pendulum & The Cask of Amontillado were made more creepy and vivid with his expert reading, though other stories I had always liked better, like The Black Cat, (which used to be a favourite of mine) dragged and I found myself liking them less. So at the end of the day, Poe is incredibly influential and memorable as a leading author of the horror and macabre genera. He was central to Romanticism in American literature, he is also credited with being the inventor of the detective fiction genre (which I would say is highly debatable) and contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. At the end of the day though, I can't adore his work. Some of his writing I like, I respect his achievements and think he should have worked harder at not contradicting himself as much within the scope of a single short story

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    This story will absolutely freak you out. Of course, you should expect that from the greatest suspense writer of all time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Sorbello

    A nameless narrator arrives to meet his childhood friend Roderick Usher in the hopes of cheering him up from his state of declining mental health. It's been many years since the narrator has seen his friend, and he begins to realize he doesn't know as much about him as he once thought other than Roderick is the descendant of a mysterious noble family. The landscape surrounding his home is a dreary wasteland that has been drained of life. The giant manor that Roderick inhabits appears to be a liv A nameless narrator arrives to meet his childhood friend Roderick Usher in the hopes of cheering him up from his state of declining mental health. It's been many years since the narrator has seen his friend, and he begins to realize he doesn't know as much about him as he once thought other than Roderick is the descendant of a mysterious noble family. The landscape surrounding his home is a dreary wasteland that has been drained of life. The giant manor that Roderick inhabits appears to be a living creature that has sucked the spirit out of everything around it, including its accursed inhabitants. Upon entering the house, the narrator steps into a vividly nightmarish setting with wonderful descriptions of gloomy horror. The house has absorbed the negative energy of the Usher family's dark and lonesome history. Not much is known about the story, characters or setting other than the house acts like a vampiric force of nature that has transformed its descendants into a state of ghoulish nonexistence. "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 blank and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down -- but with a shudder even more thrilling than before -- upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows." The prose and descriptions of the house are chilling, but there's not much else to the story than that. I also feel like it didn't leave as much up to interpretation or analyses as many of Poe's other works. This collections includes several other gothic tales such as The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death which I think are all better and more thought-provoking than this one. *** If you're looking for some dark ambient music for reading horror, dark fantasy and other books like this one, then be sure to check out my YouTube Channel called Nightmarish Compositions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPPs...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rade

    I am not sure what rating to give to this collection of stories. On one hand, it has a bunch of well known stories by Poe such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Tell-Tale Heart - all of them sit on top for me as the greatest stories by Poe. On the other hand, this book also contained the only full novel by Poe, Narrative of A. Gordon Pym which clocks in at about 178 pages. This would not be bad if it did not contain I am not sure what rating to give to this collection of stories. On one hand, it has a bunch of well known stories by Poe such as The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Tell-Tale Heart - all of them sit on top for me as the greatest stories by Poe. On the other hand, this book also contained the only full novel by Poe, Narrative of A. Gordon Pym which clocks in at about 178 pages. This would not be bad if it did not contain the big theme of the time - men get stranded on a an island and fight to stay alive. This went on an on and I almost wanted to give up since my book had very small letters, which made it bearable for me to read only few pages per day. I stuck with it and my review of this story is "meh". Overall a good collection but it took me a while to finish it. I remember int he past picking up this book and putting it down after reading one short story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    4.5 stars (5 were 5 star and 5 were at least 4 star, so I rounded up) I both read the stories in here and listened to the stories, partly for greater understanding, but also to compare the reading and the listening. The narrator was particularly talented and I think his narration added suspense and terror to the stories. I can definitely recommend this collection. The short stories were: The Pit and the Pendulum, **** The Tell-Tale Heart, ***** The Masque of the Red Death, ***** Ligeia, ***** The Raven 4.5 stars (5 were 5 star and 5 were at least 4 star, so I rounded up) I both read the stories in here and listened to the stories, partly for greater understanding, but also to compare the reading and the listening. The narrator was particularly talented and I think his narration added suspense and terror to the stories. I can definitely recommend this collection. The short stories were: The Pit and the Pendulum, **** The Tell-Tale Heart, ***** The Masque of the Red Death, ***** Ligeia, ***** The Raven (okay this is a poem), **** The Cask of Amontillado, **** The Fall of the House of Usher, ***** The Black Cat, ***** The Premature Burial, **** The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, ****

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Stephen Marlowe did a great job in his Introduction to the book. He gives thoughtful insight into both Poe's stories and personal life. - 4 Stars The Balloon Hoax (1844) - 3.5 Stars Ms. Found in a Bottle (1833) - 5 Stars A Descent into the Maelström (1841) - 5 Stars The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) - 5 Stars The Purloined Letter (1843) - 4 Stars The Black Cat (1843) - 5 Stars The Fall of the House of Usher (1839) - 5 Stars The Pit and the Pendulum (1842) - 5 Stars The Masque of the Red Death Stephen Marlowe did a great job in his Introduction to the book. He gives thoughtful insight into both Poe's stories and personal life. - 4 Stars The Balloon Hoax (1844) - 3.5 Stars Ms. Found in a Bottle (1833) - 5 Stars A Descent into the Maelström (1841) - 5 Stars The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) - 5 Stars The Purloined Letter (1843) - 4 Stars The Black Cat (1843) - 5 Stars The Fall of the House of Usher (1839) - 5 Stars The Pit and the Pendulum (1842) - 5 Stars The Masque of the Red Death (1842) - 5 Stars The Cask of Amontillado (1846) - 5 Stars The Assignation (1834) - 5 Stars The Tell-Tale Heart (1843) - 5 Stars Diddling (1843) - 4 Stars The Man That Was Used Up (1839) - 5 Stars The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym (1838) - 5 Stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A couple of short-storys in which all care a dark side to the human nature muder, madness and evil are all covered in these stories. I have a feeling of uneasy and dispare that we can be so cold and mean toward each other

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dark Slayer

    Edgar Allan Poe has succeeded in creating an extremely excellent Gothic work, which contains the famous characteristics of this genre, such as terror, suspense, depressing landscape, haunted house and gloom’s metonymy. A dearth of setting is the first and clear observation that we have in mind. In other words, when this story begins, it states just an unnamed narrator standing in front of a gloomy and frightening house on an autumnal and overcast day. Therefore, neither a location nor a precise Edgar Allan Poe has succeeded in creating an extremely excellent Gothic work, which contains the famous characteristics of this genre, such as terror, suspense, depressing landscape, haunted house and gloom’s metonymy. A dearth of setting is the first and clear observation that we have in mind. In other words, when this story begins, it states just an unnamed narrator standing in front of a gloomy and frightening house on an autumnal and overcast day. Therefore, neither a location nor a precise time is mentioned. However, the lack of the place and time does not mean that the short story’s setting is trifling; when we consider here the atmosphere, which is extremely more important and influential than time and space, we can evidently understand that it plays an amazingly significant role in building a quintessential setting. The narrator is our means of describing the house from outside and inside. We, via the narrator, can feel or get involved in a very gloomy and unappealing day, let alone the horrifying house of Usher that render the narrator, as well as us, terrified. Inside the mansion, we obviously note that the indoor objects bring again those uncanny feelings, which indicate that he has entered a world of mysteries and suspense. Furthermore, the dull day, which is inevitably considered a symbol of dark and gloom, transfers to the reader that indeed it is not a sunny day in which regular and usual events are expected. In this story, what will later on happen is foreshadowed by those features of the environment of the house of Usher; that is, when the dull day, the eerie feelings or the mansion’s description is seen as the first glimpse, we automatically grasp that there will come events that can not be scientifically or logically explained. The fact that Roderick Usher has not left his house for many years clearly shows the state of claustrophobia, concretely and mainly the house, from which Roderick can never escape “for many years, he had never ventured forth.” In addition, the narrator also does not seem to leave the house, and hence he and we are trapped in that evil house until the end of the story. Any house, as everybody normally knows, is considered as both building and family line. The house of Usher, however, is not merely a structural design, but it is a living thing that is part of Roderick Usher. The house is alive because it renders its inhabitants gloomy and miserable. This is what happens to the narrator when he stands before the mansion. Moreover, the uncanny sounds that both Roderick and the narrator hear evidently indicate that the house is trying to terrify them—which indeed it does succeed in doing so. When the writer chooses “The Fall of the house of Usher” as his official title, it is quiet comprehensible that he is talking about the collapse of the house as a building, and yet we have to peer into another important meaning which might be the decay of Usher family, as well. This could be nonsense, but if we go back to the Eighteenth Century, the term “house” was referred to both building and family. Therefore, we witness a dual “fall” of the house being inanimate and animate. Having mentioned the narrator, we have to consider his role which amazingly contributes to the report of the whole events. Apparently, the narrator is unnamed, and it seems that his name is not important as his duty, which is primarily to narrate. Thus, we accompany him, and he guides us through the house and its weird events of which even the narrator has not been sensible. Furthermore, he does not seem to be engaged in the Usher life, for throughout the story nothing horrible happens to him. And this is obviously viewed when Madeline Usher neglects the narrator’s presence the moment she attacks her brother, Roderick. Roderick Usher suffers from an extremely bizarre and serious illness. The former directly informs us about his physical and psychological complication. And it is very evident that more or less any illness has a remedy, especially a physical one. Nonetheless, his problem, which has always been great to endure, is prominently mental, and hence he has sent his only friend a letter in which he displays his absolute need for the narrator’s presence. Although needing help of a friend is a normal thing, it seems to add a sense of curiosity and lets us question the reason why Roderick chooses that specific time—not before—to be called on by the narrator. Roderick invites the latter and us, as readers, in order to demonstrate either the eerie events that happen in the house or to make us fill his emptiness and solitude; both assumptions might be definitely true. Not only does Edgar Allan Poe succeed in making us merely his tales’ loyal readers, but also he enters us in an amazingly different world which we will totally experience without being physically involved. According to this tale, terror leads to madness and death. The most horrible thing that Roderick fears is his own fear of death. In other words, we observe here a man who probably has the ability to foresee (or at least to predict) what will happen to him—which primarily has to be a tragic death due to fear “To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. "I shall perish," said he, "I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results.” This becomes evident when Madeline Usher throws herself on Roderick. We might conclude that Madeline is just an embodiment of fear and that she might not even exist from the beginning, for she neglects the narrator two times: when she walks in a distant place of the house and when she falls upon her brother. Though art, in this tale, is not very essential for some readers, it might be one of the hidden, and supreme, messages that Edgar Allan Poe wanted to transfer. Roderick Usher lives indeed an amazingly miserable life; however, we assume that the possession of different literature books and musical instruments is an ample testimony to say that he is an intellectual person in spite of his isolation from society. And this automatically indicates that Poe implicitly claims the fact that, in this world, there are masterminds who can help, somehow, humanity, and yet they are neglected or are completely forgotten even after their death. In addition, we also learn, too, the very remarkable fact, that the previous members of Usher family died from almost the same obscure illness that Roderick and Madeline have; therefore, we witness a family that has an inheritable disease, which was also the case with Edgar Allan Poe whose wife, Virginia, died of tuberculosis as also had many members of his family. Roderick (who identically represents Poe) crazily adores Madeline as his sister and incestuous companion. If we study Poe’s love life, we will absolutely notice that both he and Virginia, who was very young, had a brother-sister and husband-wife relationship. “The Fall of the House of Usher” evidently indicates that Roderick Usher’s fictional life is, somehow or other, an identical mirror of Poe’s. Roderick Usher’s fear is inevitably driving him to madness and eventually to a tragic death. We clearly witness a life of a sick man in the mercy of fear and agitation. He does not know what he wants and what to do. Nevertheless, if we dig deep into the real facts, we will absolutely say that he proudly has the right to be thought a mad man, because he can neither believe the eerie phenomena that regularly happen in the mansion nor his sister’s revival. In other words, he is not crazy, for his house is pervasively haunted, and his sister actually gets back from the after life. If we were to imagine ourselves in that mansion, we would probably be called also mad “He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odours of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.” This quotation implicitly indicates that the sense which does not allow him to eat, wear, see and hear properly is the same sense which hints that Madeline will indeed come back. Through Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”, we, as his readers and witnesses, obviously notice his own fear, madness and miserable life, as well as his utmost physical and psychological illness. This story is a real success, for it is widely open to thousands of interpretations which are mainly within the frame of Gothic elements, such as melancholy, mystery, fear and gloomy atmosphere that make the reader cling more and more to his tales which probably will always be traced in one’s mind.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    I find with this collection, my opinion on Poe is evolving; becoming more refined. First, this may be better named The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym and Other Tales as Poe’s only full-length novel closing out this compendium is the lion's share of the pages. Also, purported as a response to a Poe hoax is completes the bookends with the initial newspaper piece "Balloon-Hoax". In this realm of writing, I find there is science fiction - tales tethered to scientific facts - and science fantasy - fiction I find with this collection, my opinion on Poe is evolving; becoming more refined. First, this may be better named The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym and Other Tales as Poe’s only full-length novel closing out this compendium is the lion's share of the pages. Also, purported as a response to a Poe hoax is completes the bookends with the initial newspaper piece "Balloon-Hoax". In this realm of writing, I find there is science fiction - tales tethered to scientific facts - and science fantasy - fiction with more magical, mystical premises. Popularily, Poe may be thought more in the fantasy with this "macabre" musings, but really he is more like Jules Verne in that he is tightly bound to a scientific reality, if even he relies on unproven assumptions. Much of that here is of a nautical flavor: "Ms. Found in a bottle" and "Descent into the maelstrom", etc. I find Poe loses effectiveness when he tries to bring in byzantine details and the ornate imaginings crowd out of the exposition anything that would allow a reader to solve the case or even put it together from any missed clues on a re-read as in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined letter" where the delight in details becomes a breathless exercise in ratiocination thus being some of world's first detective stories but with deux ex machina reveations. More to the fantasy side we have "Black cat" (I recoil at the animal cruelty) and maybe even the eponymous "Fall of the house of Usher". Some of his famous stories here for me are exemplars of how he should just keep it simple. "Pit and the pendulum" gives to us the relentless, nearing death but does anyone really reflect back with joy on the multiple awakenings, pit-within-a-pit, compacting walls, and Lord of the Flies ending? Similarly, in "Masque of the red death" like in The Village (2004 film) (even with the 'bad color') we have the seeds of destruction brought into the man-made Eden, but do we really need the various monochromatic rooms and intricacies of spreading light? I feel Poe is best at simple, direct tale of base and basic human motivations with little adornment, as in "Cask of Amontillado" and "Tell-tale heart", which Stephen King called “the best tale of inside evil ever written”.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Larry McCloskey

    I’m going to get into trouble, so let me just say this up front: Edgar Allan Poe is without a doubt one of the most influential figures in the history of literature, American or otherwise, and his contributions can’t be overstated. He was also, however, overly long-winded, had a difficult time creating relatable characters, and had a tendency to lose sight of the reader as he rambled. A lot of the stories in this book, you’ve probably read before. “The Pit and the Pendulum” is one of the great Am I’m going to get into trouble, so let me just say this up front: Edgar Allan Poe is without a doubt one of the most influential figures in the history of literature, American or otherwise, and his contributions can’t be overstated. He was also, however, overly long-winded, had a difficult time creating relatable characters, and had a tendency to lose sight of the reader as he rambled. A lot of the stories in this book, you’ve probably read before. “The Pit and the Pendulum” is one of the great American horror stories. “The Black Cat” is a classic, but such a staple of horror literature that people overlook the fact that the main character is undone simply through his own hubris. At least in “The Tell-tale Heart”, the killer has a breakdown to blame for his fall (although, again, he is an utterly unlikeable character who essentially went mad and killed a man for having glaucoma). “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter” very much gave birth to the modern detective story, but are overly long and tedious. This collection does have some lesser known works, though, which is why I picked this one up. “A Descent into the Maelstrom” remains probably Poe’s most sadly underappreciated works. But also here are “The Man That Was Used Up”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, and “Diddling” which serve only to show that opium is a heck of a drug – because as stories, they’re just awful. The real prize here is “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”, one of Poe’s only true novels and credited as inspiring the likes of Jules Verne H.P. Lovecraft. Frankly, it’s disappointing. The story is an overly long tale of adventure at sea which is really two, if not three, distinct short stories rolled into a vague novel. Poe gets bogged down in overly descriptive passages about seamanship and ship design along the way, turning it into a disjointed, bloated, and awkward story that limps along before glossing over the truly interesting parts of the tale en route to a vague and somewhat unsatisfying conclusion. As Poe collections go, this one gets points for some lesser known inclusions. Ultimately, though, the satisfying stories have already been covered hundreds of times before, so this one sort of falls by the wayside.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexandru Istrate

    A very interesting incursion into the macabre. The book is a collection of stories really, the most important one being The Fall of the House of Usher, which is, in my opinion, magnificently written. One thing I like is the fact that the stories go together very well, making the sense of despair and lack of control over one's mind carry over from story to story. It somewhat resembles entering an unknown chamber in a vast house, only to feel a shiver down your back. A strong feeling that somethin A very interesting incursion into the macabre. The book is a collection of stories really, the most important one being The Fall of the House of Usher, which is, in my opinion, magnificently written. One thing I like is the fact that the stories go together very well, making the sense of despair and lack of control over one's mind carry over from story to story. It somewhat resembles entering an unknown chamber in a vast house, only to feel a shiver down your back. A strong feeling that something is off and that something has crept into existence from somewhere otherworldly. It might seem that a book that constantly refers to things like pain, horror and dismemberment couldn't be considered beautiful, but I think it's quite the opposite. The beauty in Poe's writings is not necessarily in the way things turn out or in the way plague lingers forever upon the world. What really makes ugly such a beautiful thing is the appearance of its ways, it's the belief that chaos lead to creating man, or in some way a a symbol of our decadent culture, or a reflection of the reality we live in. I have particularly enjoyed Poe's style of writing. I see it as clever and witty, embossed with metaphors and similes of the kind that entices one to seek new meanings. Also Poe uses a very educated man's English, very stylish and elegant, very much the educated American English that used to be spoken some time ago. I feel like Poe's style must have been really revolutionary at that time. I think it's shocking to see how closely he anticipated what was to come in terms of literary style. Nonetheless, this is a very well written book that is set to captivate you by its unique style, not only showing you a different side of life, but also giving you the opportunity to reflect upon it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Octavia Cade

    Look, I know he's very famous and I know he's written some good stuff but hear me out: this is not the Poe collection that you want. Yes, it contains "The Fall of the House of Usher" which is a five star horror story if ever there was one. Yes, it also contains a selection of his other short stories, which admittedly I do not find as excellent as many do, but which I would still give a solid three stars in general. HOWEVER. Fully one half of this particular edition is not a short story at all. I Look, I know he's very famous and I know he's written some good stuff but hear me out: this is not the Poe collection that you want. Yes, it contains "The Fall of the House of Usher" which is a five star horror story if ever there was one. Yes, it also contains a selection of his other short stories, which admittedly I do not find as excellent as many do, but which I would still give a solid three stars in general. HOWEVER. Fully one half of this particular edition is not a short story at all. It is the entire 200 pages of Poe's only novel, "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" - and I have no hesitation in saying that it is a strong contender for the worst novel ever written. Seriously, the thing is dire. It's patched together and badly edited. My favourite example of how disastrous this is comes in the death of a man aboard ship. His arm has been injured. It turns gangrenous and nasty, starts to putrefy in a number of disgusting ways. Yet when this poor victim dies and is in the process of being tossed overboard, it's not his disintegrating arm, black to the shoulder, that falls off, no. It's his leg. Poe did not notice. Clearly neither did his editor. I imagine they'd both given up by then. I'll not give anything that contains "House of Usher" a single star. But neither will I ever give any book that prints "Arthur Gordon Pym" any rating that approaches likeability. Save yourselves, and find another edition of his stories to read...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    This audiobook was great! I really enjoyed the music, which added atmosphere without interfering with the text. These are a few of Poe's best short stories, and they are classics for a reason. I last read these ages ago when I was a teenager, and these remain as impressive as they were back then. Poe didn't just write stories, he identified a feeling, usually dread, and went to town with it, creating a wonderfully creepy atmosphere and interesting characters who you can sometimes despise or feel This audiobook was great! I really enjoyed the music, which added atmosphere without interfering with the text. These are a few of Poe's best short stories, and they are classics for a reason. I last read these ages ago when I was a teenager, and these remain as impressive as they were back then. Poe didn't just write stories, he identified a feeling, usually dread, and went to town with it, creating a wonderfully creepy atmosphere and interesting characters who you can sometimes despise or feel very sorry for. And then there's the raven, who's just a nice bird who learned a single word, and this guy is getting increasingly rude to the raven in an attempt to have an impossible conversation. All joking aside, these are fantastic and I'll re-read them many times in my life.

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