Usher's ballad : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

How did Usher's ballad parallel the story?

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2002


You are perfectly right when calling Poe's poem "The Haunted Palace", though published some months before the tale containing it, "Usher's ballad", for Poe composed it to illustrate the mental decay of poor Roderick. The "ballad" tells indeed of the fall of a disordered brain (just like Usher's), in the form of a somewhat conventional allegory, in the manner of the poetasters Poe so much disliked. But so, we have a man-artist growing mad, talking and singing about a maddening spirit. It is like a new formulation of Poe's recurrent condemnation of any allegory: to compose an allegory implies a degradation of the artist-creator. You will evidently perceive Poe's slyness in organizing his "Palace" rather as a symbol than as an allegory, when read out of the tale-context. A good occasion for us to meditate on this fundamental distinction between those two very often confused concepts. Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, August 27, 2002

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