Autodidact: self-taught


The Fall of the House of My Sister

by V. L. Craven

First on the list of research reading for my new novel:

“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe.

The protags in my story would definitely read Poe, if only for his gift for atmosphere. Atmosphere is something I definitely need to work on, though my descriptions will never be as good as Poe’s.

-1- an 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 vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.

-2- I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

-3- And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.

-4- An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame; and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm.

I particularly like his description of seemingly baseless anxiety–it does feel like something daemonic and heavy has taken up residence on one’s chest.

My Sister in This House by Wendy Kesselman

No quotes from this one, but it’s a play about the Papin sisters, two young maids who live in a house with their stifling boss and her perpetually soon-to-be-married daughter. It reads with subtley, though on stage the too-close relationship between the sisters is more obvious. It was made into a film called Sister, My Sister , a title that sounds like some sort of feminist manifesto from the 60s.

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