Which Edgar Allan Poe stories should you read ahead of The Fall of the House of Usher?

The Fall of the House of Usher. (L to R) Sauriyan Sapkota as Prospero Usher, Kate Siegel as Camille L'Espanaye, Rahul Kohli as Napoleon Usher, Matt Biedel as Bill-T Wilson, Samantha Sloyan as Tamerlane Usher, Mark Hamill as Arthur Pym in episode 101 of The Fall of the House of Usher. Cr. Eike Schroter/Netflix © 2023
The Fall of the House of Usher. (L to R) Sauriyan Sapkota as Prospero Usher, Kate Siegel as Camille L'Espanaye, Rahul Kohli as Napoleon Usher, Matt Biedel as Bill-T Wilson, Samantha Sloyan as Tamerlane Usher, Mark Hamill as Arthur Pym in episode 101 of The Fall of the House of Usher. Cr. Eike Schroter/Netflix © 2023 /
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Mike Flanagan’s next (and final) Netflix series is right around the corner, but there is still time left to do some homework before the show arrives on October 12! The Fall of the House of Usher is based on several different works by American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. Of course, the series namesake is from the short story of the same name, but that’s far from the only Poe story you can expect to see referenced or adapted in the show.

Flanagan was kind enough to provide a list for fans on his Tumblr account. Someone asked him which stories they should in preparation for the series and he listed a bunch! It sounds like he’s gotten to go all out for this show, working every Poe story he’s ever wanted to adapt into the eight-episode miniseries.

Here’s the complete list:

  • The Tell Tale Heart
  • The Raven
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Masque of the Red Death
  • The Black Cat
  • Tamerlane
  • The Premature Burial
  • Lenore
  • Morella
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
  • William Wilson
  • The City in the Sea
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • Spirits of the Dead
  • The Gold-Bug (NOT included on Flanagan’s list but see reasoning below)

If you want to get the majority of these stories and poems in one place, I highly recommend checking out the Penguin Classics edition of The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings, almost all of the above are included in the book, except for “Tamerlane,” “The Premature Burial,” “Morella,” “Spirits of the Dead,” and Poe’s only fully completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

Penguin also released a deluxe anthology of Poe’s works that serves as TV tie-in that even includes a foreword from Mike Flanagan himself. As a diehard fan of him, I’ve just ordered myself a copy!

Even though I don’t have that version physically yet, you can get a peek inside of it on the website linked above and it shows the first part of the book as a sample. Based on the table of contents, I’ve confirmed that it has all of the titles Flanagan suggested above. The only one not in either book appears to be The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, which makes sense given that it is a novel. You’ll need to pick that one up separately.

If you are a big fan of Poe’s work, I do still recommend getting the Penguin Classics edition too, as it includes works not available in the TV tie-in edition, such as multiple poems and tales like “The Gold-Bug,” “Hop-Frog,” “The Purloined Letter,” essays, reviews, and more. It seems like the two versions complement each other as each has some things the other is missing.

Every episode of The Fall of the House of Usher is named for one of Poe’s works, per the Flanagan Source Twitter page. Interestingly, one of the episodes is named after Poe’s story, “The Gold-Bug,” which is not included in the television tie-in and wasn’t referenced in Flanagan’s Tumblr post. I’m not sure what that might mean, but I would recommend reading it anyway, just in case!

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