RE: RARA-AVIS: RE: Southern Gothic

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 27 Feb 2003

Duane Spurlock wrote:

Where does "Fall of the House of Usher" take place?

Someone to perhaps add to your contemporary Southern Gothic list is Barry Hannah -- his stories are usually filled with southern eccentrics and remarkable violence and fierce emotions. For example, take a look at his most recent novel, YONDER STANDS YOUR ORPHAN.

Walker Percy is another. LOVE IN THE RUINS is a sort-of post-apolcalyptic southern gothic. And in some ways, his first novel, THE MOVIEGOER, could be discussed on this list for its hard-boiled elements.
******* Thanks, Duane. I wrote down your suggestions along with Bill's on Cable and Ed's on McCullers and Capote.

I don't believe that "Fall of the House of Usher" pinpoints a location. To me it has a feel of northeastern USA, but somewhere it mentions the Usher mansion is very old, so maybe that predates the USA. As Gothic drifting towards noir, I can't think of a better example. The story is delightfully morbid and morose:

" atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn - a pestilent and mystic vapour, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued."

Nature in Gothic is often spoken of in terms of mold and decay.


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