The House of Usher Never Fell: Impossible Escapes and the Dark (K)night of the Soul

Paweł Pyrka


Among the abundance of possible readings of Poe’s short story, one of the most intriguing is its treatment as an escape fantasy - the image of the unnamed narrator delirious, flight from the collapsing structure at his back seems almost too fortuitous, and invites questions as to the sole survivor’s relation to “the house of Usher”. As the structure’s suspected sentience could be seen to relegate its occupants to the position of psychological forces and manifest thought-content, the house is transformed into a combination of physical and mental spaces, akin to the twin “prisons” of body and mind which the narrator fantasizes about being freed from. The article examines the (im)possibility of Poe’s narrator’s escape, using Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth as a companion text. Read alongside each other, the two narratives “construct” their “houses” by a superimposition of their characters’ mental landscapes onto the skeleton of physical (textual) space, in order to perform the fantasy of escape from psychological conflict, whether by tearing down the house as in Poe’s tale, or by restoring the externalized order as in the Batman novel.
Author Paweł Pyrka (Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych)
Paweł Pyrka,,
- Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych
Journal seriesKultura Popularna, ISSN 1644-8340, e-ISSN 2391-6788, (B 10 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishE.A.Poe, Batman, degeneration, mental space, escape, fantasy dream
Languageen angielski
P. Pyrka The house of Usher - ART.pdf 518.81 KB
P. Pyrka The house of Usher - oswiadczenie.pdf 359.6 KB
Score (nominal)10
Score sourcejournalList
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