A Critical Essay on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)

1760 WordsJul 16, 20188 Pages
The twenty first century author Alexandra Iftodi Zamfir (1986- ) argues that ‘architecture and settings are more important in Gothic fiction than in any other type of literature.’ (Zamfir. 2011: 15). The nature of architectural space performs a significant role within the narrative structure of Gothic fiction as it creates and builds layers of imagery that signify the horrific and gloomy; a construction full of atmosphere and suspense. It was the Gothic writer Horace Walpole (1717-1797) who first illustrated in his Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto (1764) an example symbolic to the nature and power of architectural space explored through the nature from his own “…house in Strawberry Hill which was the most complete neo-Gothic…show more content…
The reader witnesses a fragmentation of both the architectural and psychological space observed through the Narrator, Roderick and Madeline Usher. The Fall of the House of Usher thus illustrates both a psychological and architectural perception of Gothic space. This is depicted in the opening passage as the Narrator provides the reader with his own account upon the first appearances of the house and its residing landscape. “I looked upon the scene before me-upon the mere house, and simple landscape features of the domain-upon the bleak walls-upon the vacant eye-like windows-upon a few rank sedges-and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees-with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium-the bitter lapse into every-day life-the hideous dropping of the veil.” (Poe. 1987: 231). The professor of English David Punter (1949-) argues that “…Poe presses on a Gothic nerve: …at creating in short order a sense of an external landscape; but simultaneously the reader is led to wonder constantly whether this landscape is indeed really external or rather a projection of a particular psychological state.” (Punter & Byron. 2004: 156). In a sense both the external landscape and the internal psychological space mirror and reflect each
Open Document