On Re-Reading The Fall of the House of Usher in Preparation for Attending the Ballet

There is something about a story like this that begs for interpretation. And running alongside that, when reading Poe, there is the temptation to read past the deep purple of its prose, as though that were an encumbrance, an idiosyncratic, stylistic authorial tic. In any case, _Usher_ employs the usual Poeian devices: live burial, Doppelgänger, "madness,” alcohol as a calmative, and the blurred lines between “history” and “romance.”

When I resisted the urge to read the way I learned in college, however, and allowed myself to approach the story on its own terms, I cannot say I understood it but I did enjoy it. It was more like reading poetry than reading prose. (_Do_ we read poetry differently from the way we read prose? I mean there are the obvious differences in the forms, but I wonder whether there the brain functions differently reading or, actually, listening to poetry as opposed to prose. Ideally in my proposed schema, reading poetry engages the part of the brain that hears music.)

In any case, rather than say _Usher_ is “about depression” — I wonder whether Poe was himself self-medicating his bipolar brain — I prefer to say it reminds me of Keats. The story is not _accountable_ to anyone or anything. Poe defies _accountability_.