Talk:The Fall of the House of Usher

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Plot summary[edit]

Shouldn't there be a plot summary of some kind? In this article, only the Roger Corman adaptation is summarized.

I don't see any basis for the assertion that "This is perhaps the first instance in modern litearure of a story in which an inanimate object is depicted as possessing sentience or a soul": the house of Usher isn't depicted as sentient or having a soul, as I recall (though I'd gladly rethink this if someone can find something from the story that's pertinent) and objects have been depicted with souls, animal, vegetable, and mineral, from time immemorial. - Nunh-huh 05:26, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Can you point me to a story before Usher in which an inanimate object has a soul in the natural world (as Usher, The Overlook, Rose Red)—in other words not anthropomorphizing a building or machine ("The Little House", "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel", "The Little Engine That Could"), animals (many fables); in which the objects are not simply containers, or substitutes, for human actors or emotions?
The dryads and hamadryads of Greek myth, the river-gods such as Cephesus, and the vegetable soul of the mandrake come to mind, but if you are asking for specifically a "Short Story", the collection that more or less defined the form in 1837, Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales, contains a story "Edward Randolph's Portrait" that contains a painting that is at least as ensouled/possessed as the House of Usher in 1839. I'm curious about the attribution of the "soul" to the House (building). What in the text supports it? - Nunh-huh 06:16, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Aside from the attribution I placed in the main article, Lovecraft wrote:
"Usher, whose superiority in detail and proportion is very marked, hints shudderingly of obscure life in inorganic things, and displays an abnormally linked trinity of entities at the end of a long and isolated family history -- a brother, his twin sister, and their incredibly ancient house all sharing a single soul and meeting one common dissolution at the same moment."
-- Cecropia 16:04, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for that, but even knowing Lovecraft postulated this "soul", I don't see anything in the text (of Poe's story) that really suggests it. I suppose a reread is in order. I've always thought of this short story as using a version of the "pathetic fallacy", attributing human emotion to inanimate objects. - Nunh-huh 20:02, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Having read it relatively recently my impression is that the close parallel of 3-way decay (brother, sister, house) and simultaneous destruction is what Lovecraft saw and Mabbott was impressed by. I'm not sure I would have drawn the same conclusion if I hadn't read de Camp and Lovecraft pointing it out first, but it doesn't seem unreasonable. Left to my own speculation I would probably more thought of Miss Havisham and Satis House. -- Cecropia 20:35, 18 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Wikisource[edit]

Someone should aply whatever formatting is necessary to link to the wikisource full-text of FotHoF.

Done. --Urbane legend 00:50, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Adaptations[edit]

The section Film Adaptations and Influences contains a detailed passage describing differences between the film and story. While this is interesting, the author makes no reference anywhere here to which film version they are talking about !!!!

It would also help if we could perhaps have a disambiguation page created to differentiate between Usher the Poe story and perhaps the films.

The Simpsons[edit]

Doesn't the simpsons treehouse of horror ONE (i think?) parody this partly, with a house that disappears after the inhabitants leave? Saccerzd 19:02, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes it does. I don't know if it's a parody but I'm not very familiar with the original. --Kizor 19:56, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

The Mad Trist[edit]

I have proposed merging the article for The Mad Trist into this article. I don't think it will ever be more than a stub and, frankly, it's not notable enough to have its own article. Any thoughts? -Midnightdreary 17:48, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Relevance[edit]

This seems like such an important story and deserving of a really great article on Wikipedia. However, I'm questioning the relevance of a large portion of this article that only serves to make it really long without much substance. Roderick Usher's library is not necessarily relevant to an encyclopedia article and it really doesn't amount to much more than a list (no analysis, etc.). Also, the allusions from other works? I hate them and they add nothing (plus many are often speculative). So what if the Simpsons made an Usher reference? Let that be on the appropriate Simpsons page or bury it on the Edgar Allan Poe in television and film article which was made, really, to take the extraneous junk out of decent articles. Anyway, I'm curious to hear if other people agree with me rather than just ripping it all out just because I personally don't like it. Thoughts? -Midnightdreary 15:03, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

I'd really like some input on this. I've done a pretty decent amount of rearranging and added an Analysis section. I'm worried about the list of Roderick's library (still) being irrelevant despite taking up so much space. I'm also curious about the Literary significance and criticism section. I think some of that info can now be squeezed into Analysis, and the rest thrown out as not particularly notable (and unreferenced). Any thoughts? --Midnightdreary 16:43, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
Heh... still no one reading this, eh? --Midnightdreary 01:48, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Roderick Usher's library, etc.[edit]

I have moved the section on Allusions and References to other works of Art (or whatever it was called) into a subsection of Analysis along with Usher's library. I have simplified it a bit and removed some unsourced speculation that a line of Poe's was inspired by a painting of Fuseli. I'm not convinced it's 100% the way to go, but I'm worried about how much undue weight this section is being given compared to more important encyclopedic aspects of the story. Feel free to disagree. I think more clean up is needed, and I will probably soon merge the article on The Mad Trist into this section as well. --Midnightdreary 12:59, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

incest[edit]

i thot it was agreed upon that the relationship was @ least supposed 2 be incestuous. the family has a history of incest as evidenced by the passage: "I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch"; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain."

so y "possible"/"potential"/(sumthin like taht, i 4got) theme of incest? y the uncertainty?75.45.213.230 22:45, 17 September 2007 (UTC)tilde

Even with that quote, which is a great one, it's still not clear. It could just mean that everyone else in the Usher family had not survived long, suggesting that Madeline and Roderick were the last of the Ushers (hence the "fall of the house"). I'll try to find sources to further discuss this. --Midnightdreary 20:05, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Allusions in other works[edit]

This list has gotten out of control. I will look into cutting this into a very much smaller version, discussing only notable allusions. It's become cruft and is really detracting from the more serious, encyclopedic parts of this article. Boo. --Midnightdreary 20:03, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Ken Russell's 2002 film[edit]

Ken Russell wrote and directed the 2002 film The Fall of the Louse of Usher (imdb). It is described as "an amalgam of several Edgar Allan Poe stories, and a mixture of comedy, horror and musical genres", which probably means that it can't rightfully be included in the "Adaptations" list. Or could it? — Loadmaster (talk) 18:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

This list of adaptations will never be complete. I wouldn't put too much effort into it - the Allusions section will be the first to go, with Adaptations next, just based on the lack of reliable sources and notability. But, if you think this particular film is notable, it's probably less of an Adaptation (because it is not adapting the story) and more of an Allusion anyway - at least, in my opinion. --Midnightdreary (talk) 19:49, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Mashed up sentence?[edit]

The following line from the analysys section has an extra bit by accident I think (the crow flies at midnight)

"But Poe's version of Gothic literature is a biased one because it is fundamentally the crow flies at midnight hyperbolic -- horror is here so intense that it verges on the grotesque

Grammar is not my strong point, so I may just be missing something but it reallu does not seem right —Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.251.244.144 (talk) 20:26, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

You caught some old vandalism that no one removed. I've removed a few sentences anyway because they were unsourced. -Midnightdreary (talk) 21:55, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Allusions in other works[edit]

I had removed the section on "Allusions in other works", which was eventually reverted. The list has grown massive and it seems to qualify as cruft and trivia. The entire list remains unsourced and nearly all of them are violations of the policy on original research. I was planning on making this article the next focus for me to reach GA status, which it would certainly not pass with this section. Any reason it should all stay?

As a side note, I made the same observation some 15 months ago without a single response. Users with an interest in this article are encouraged to response to reach consensus, rather than just taking action if they disagree. --Midnightdreary (talk) 01:25, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you were right to clean out the cruft. There was no attempt to include items on the basis of any kind of notability. For example, a single joke reference in The Simpsons shouldn't rate a mention (whereas the episode where they parodied Poe's "The Raven" at length would qualify). --Folantin (talk) 19:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

On the other hand, shouldn't a few things like Usher II by Ray Bradbury, for example, be linked to in here somewhere? I mean yeah, kill the cruft, but that doesn't mean there are NO allusions that are notable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.114.48.152 (talk) 05:11, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

I think we can entertain the idea, but we have to ask how to distinguish cruft from notability. I'd recommend that if we can't source it to a reliable, third-party, published source, it just isn't notable. Thoughts? --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:52, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

I am relatively new to editing Wikipedia articles, but this article about Edgar A. Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" was of special interest to me because the Usher House or mansion located in old Boston was owned by my 5th great grand uncle, Jonathan Williams from 1720 to a date I have not yet determined. Jon Williams, Sr lived from 1673 to 1737, and he probably bequeathed the house to his son, Jonathan Williams, Jr., who lived from 1699 to 1788. The latter had no surviving children. According to a book in my possession, Days and Ways in Old Boston, edited by William S. Rossiter (BostonL R.H. Stearns & Company, 1915), the original house, called a mansion in the book, was built in 1684 in a pasture as illustrated on page 96 at what was in 1915 the corner of Tremont Street and Temple Place. From the wording in the book, it was located in what is today Boston Commons, and probably near the present-day Boston Commons Visitors Center. It was not located on Lewis Wharf along the bay front; the source given, an A.I.A. Guidebook is incorrect.

I am David G. Sox and I can be reached at chesahbinu@comcast.net. SoxResidence (talk) 09:33, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Location of the House of Usher in old Boston[edit]

I am relatively new to editing Wikipedia articles, but this article about Edgar A. Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" was of special interest to me because the Usher House or mansion located in old Boston was owned by my 5th great grand uncle, Jonathan Williams from 1720 to a date I have not yet determined. Jon Williams, Sr lived from 1673 to 1737, and he probably bequeathed the house to his son, Jonathan Williams, Jr., who lived from 1699 to 1788. The latter had no surviving children. According to a book in my possession, Days and Ways in Old Boston, edited by William S. Rossiter (BostonL R.H. Stearns & Company, 1915), the original house, called a mansion in the book, was built in 1684 in a pasture as illustrated on page 96 at what was in 1915 the corner of Tremont Street and Temple Place. From the wording in the book, it was located in what is today Boston Commons, and probably near the present-day Boston Commons Visitors Center. It was not located on Lewis Wharf along the bay front; the source given, an A.I.A. Guidebook is incorrect.

I am David G. Sox and I can be reached at chesahbinu@comcast.net. SoxResidence (talk) 09:33, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Since I posted this last night and made edits to the article, I have discovered that the location of the original Usher mansion really took up three city blocks of modern Boston, and perhaps part of the southwest corner of the Boston Commons. I had assumed the house was in the Commons area since that remains undeveloped except for park vegetation and pathways. I overlooked that the urbanized Boston of today looked entirely different 200-300 years ago. Based on a further reading of my source, Days and Ways in Old Boston, and several maps and drawings in it, I have determined the Usher property on which the mansion was located is approximately bounded in modern Boston by Tremont Street to the northwest, Washington Street to the southeast, Avery Street to the south and Winter Street to the north. This same source also suggests that the house was not demolished but relocated to South Boston, so it is also possible that it was later relocated to Lewis Wharf as a tourist attraction. Finally, the correct citation is Walter K. Watkins, "An Historic Corner, Tremont Street and Temple Place" in Rossiter, William S., Days and Ways in Old Boston, Boston: R.H. Stearns & Company, 1915, pp. 91-130. SoxResidence (talk) 01:08, 6 September 2014 (UTC)SoxResidence

The connection to this story is solely speculative, if not apocryphal. As such, this is pretty trivial and I wouldn't overthink this. --Midnightdreary (talk) 10:53, 6 September 2014 (UTC)