The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher Study Guide

"The Fall of the House of Usher" was one of Edgar Allan Poe's first contributions to Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, of which he was an associate editor. The story was printed in 1839, a little over a year after "Ligeia," which Poe always considered his best tale. Both "Usher" and "Ligeia" belong squarely in the Gothic tradition, but both feature language of such lyrical beauty that they have become timeless. It should also be noted that both involve deceased loved ones, much like the work which ultimately made Poe a literary star, "The Raven." Having inspired two inarguably great 1928 film adaptations--one by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber, the other by French surrealist Jean Epstein--and a host of other movies, comic books, and ripoffs, "The Fall of the House of Usher," with its stark yet mysterious chronicling of mental collapse, its startling imagery, and its horrific finale, is today probably Poe's best known and most cherished story.