The Fall of the House of Usher, 1985

Not on Viewexpand_more

Poe's classic short story--a dark, symbolic tale of the deterioration and eventual demise of mind and body-was first published in 1839, while Poe lived in Philadelphia. As conveyed by the narrator/observer, Poe's fictional tale is set in a decrepit manor house, where twin siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher live as aging eccentrics whose altered states of reality lead eventually to violent death and the end of the family's bloodline.

Poe's self-referential exploration of death, melancholy and the realm of human imagination held both fascination and danger, where fantasy and reality merged in unpredictable ways, overcoming those who dare enter unprepared into this "mansion of gloom." Indeed, the old Usher mansion itself becomes the symbolic embodiment of the character's psychological and emotional deterioration.

Neel's striking original illustrations reinforce Poe's vivid narrative, echoing his long-held aesthetic principle of "unity of effect."

The Fall of the House of Usher
Artist Life
New York
Accession Number
Bruce B. Dayton, Wayzata, Minn.; given to MIA, 1987.
Catalogue Raisonne
LEC 542
Curator Approved

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