In addition to his drinking practices, Poes use of opium has also beenan issue of suspicion. Much of this suspicion is directly connected to"The Fall of the House of Usher" when Poe likens Rodericks voice to thatof an "irreclaimable eater of opium." According to Wagenknecht, this is"[o]ne of the most widely believed legends about American writer's," buthe asserts "the evidence is quite unconvincing" despite the arguments ofother biographers to the contrary (41). Wagenknecht bases his positionon the testimony of "friends and associates" and the fact that "no medically-trainedperson who ever saw Poe supports the hypothesis of drug addiction" (42).Arthur Quinn, author of sharesWagenknechts position that "Poe was not a drug addict," and supports hisargument with an account of an alleged suicide attempt by Poe in 1848 (Wagenknecht43; Quinn 693). Poe is professed to have taken an ounce of a drug, whichwas rejected by his stomach. Quinn asserts that if Poe was a drug addict,he would have correctly calculated the proper lethal dosage (694). Quinnalso notes the fact that opium was "frequently given in small doses forpain, and Poe may well have taken it in that form" (694).
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher" ..
In the summer of 1838, Edgar Allan Poe left the city of New York, wherehe faced criticism and minimal recognition, and moved to Philadelphia,where he would soon gain profound success (Quinn 268). Just a year priorto this move, Poe married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who accompanied himto Philadelphia (Wagenknecht 18). Little is known of Poes time in NewYork other than the fact that he faced severe poverty with total earningsamounting to under one hundred fifty dollars (Peeples 31). Therefore, sincePhiladelphia shared the prestige with New York as a publishing center,it offered Poe new publishing opportunities and opened the doors to success(Quinn 268). He found this success editing from 1839-1840 and then from 1841-1842 (Peeples74). During this time, Poe delivered lectures on American poetry, publishedthirty-six tales including "William Wilson," "The Masque of the Red Death,"and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and also released a collection ofstories in 1840 entitled (Peoples74). It was during this peak of Poes publishing career that he published"The Fall of the House of Usher." This tale relates to various aspectsof Poes life including his occupation as an editor, his battle with alcoholand drugs, his psychological and emotional well-being, and the impact ofdeath on his life and work.
The Fall of the House of Usher (1949) - IMDb
One aspect of Poes life that may have been very influential in "TheFall of the House of Usher" was his drinking habits (Wagenknecht 30). Likemany dimensions of Poes lifestyle, the severity of his drinking problemis often debated (30). It has been said that a single glass of wine wouldget Poe drunk and although this may not be exactly accurate, it can besaid that one drink would affect him visibly (30). Poe was raised in adrinking society and an inclination for alcohol also seems to have beenprevalent in his family (31). Although Poe was certainly a drinker, hedid not a revel in the bars or taverns (32). According to Edward Wagenknecht,author of , Poe "had neitherthe virtues nor the vices which flourish in the tavern atmosphere" (32).The immediate effect of such drinking habits was the endangerment to Poeshealth, but it also "made him an easy target for his literary enemies throughoutthe 1840s" (Peeples 77). Thomas Dunn English, in his temperance novel,, portrays a dishonest drunk evidently basedon Poe (77).
Title: The Fall of the House of Usher (1949) 4.7 /10