The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings is a collection that displays the full force of Edgar Allen Poe's mastery of both Gothic horror and the short story form. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by David Galloway.
This selection of Poe's critical writings, short fiction and poetry demonstrates his intense interest in aesthetic issues, and the astonishing power and imagination with which he probed the darkest corners of the human mind. 'The Fall of the House of Usher' is a slow-burning Gothic horror, describing the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In 'The Tell-Tale Heart', a murderer's insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as 'The Pit and the Pendulum', 'The Raven' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' explore extreme states of decadence, fear and hate.
In his introduction David Galloway re-examines the myths surrounding Poe's life and reputation. This edition includes a new chronology and suggestions for further reading.
Although dissipated in his youth and plagued by mental instability towards the end of his life, Boston-born Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) had a variety of occupations, including service in the US army and magazine editor, as well as his remarkable literary output.
If you enjoyed The Fall of the House of Usher, you might like Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, also available in Penguin Classics.
'The most original genius that America has produced'
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
'Poe has entered our popular consciousness as no other American writer'
The New York Times Book Review
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About the Author
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) was born in Boston and orphaned at an early age. Taken in by a couple from Richmond, Virginia, he spent a semester at the University of Virginia but could not afford to stay longer. After joining the Army and matriculating as a cadet, he started his literary career with the anonymous publication of Tamerlane and Other Poems, before working as a literary critic. His life was dotted with scandals, such as purposefully getting himself court-martialled to ensure dismissal from the Army, being discharged from his job at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond after being found drunk by his boss, and secretly marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin Virginia (listed twenty-one on the marriage certificate). His work took him to both New York City and Baltimore, where he died at the age of forty, two years after Virginia.
Peter Ackroyd is a well known writer and historian. He has been the literary editor of The Spectator and chief book reviewer for the The Times, as well as writing several highly acclaimed books including a biography of Dickens and London: The Biography. He resides in London and his most recent highly acclaimed work is Thames: Sacred River.