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PoesHauntedPalace

1900 illustration for "The Haunted Palace">

"The Haunted Palace" is a poem by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published as a stand-alone work in the April 1839 edition of the American Museum magazine. Poe later incorporated the poem into his short story "The Fall of the House of Usher", first published in September 1839, in which it is presented as a song composed and sung by the character Roderick Usher as he descends into madness.

The poem is about a once beautiful palace, the former home of a beloved king, which falls into ruins after evil influences take over the court. It is implied that the palace is now the home of ghosts.

A 1963 American horror movie bears the title The Haunted Palace. The film's plot, however, has no direct connection to the poem or any other work by Poe.

Summary

At an unspecified time in the past in the greenest valley of an unnamed country, a beautiful palace is built which is the home of the nation's king. Visitors to the palace pass through a door decorated with rubies and pearls. Banners of a golden yellow color fly from the building's roof. Those who travel to the valley can look in through the palace's windows. This enables them to see the king seated on his throne and people dancing to the sound of a lute. A constant stream of musicians come to the palace and sing songs in praise of the "wit and wisdom of their king".

An unspecified disaster occurs. It seems likely that people with evil intentions towards the king manage to gain control of the court. The palace falls into ruins.

Those who visit the area now can hear the sound of unpleasant music coming from the palace. A red light comes from the building's windows. Those who look inside can see shapes moving quickly to the sound of the music. People who enter the building quickly run out again and "laugh - but smile no more", suggesting that all those who enter the palace are driven mad.

Adaptations

In 1904, the French composer Florent Schmitt wrote a short instrumental piece inspired by "The Haunted Palace".

A song by the Bulgarian rock group Shturcite, known in English as "The Haunted Castle", has lyrics which are made up of a Bulgarian translation of the poem.

The Haunted Palace is the title of a 1963 American horror movie directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price, Debra Paget and Lon Chaney, Jr. The film's plot is not directly related to the poem, its screenplay is in fact an adaptation of the novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft. The title was imposed by the studio, against the director's wishes. Corman had already directed commercially successful films inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Premature Burial", "The Raven", "Morella", "The Black Cat", "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" and the studio felt that Poe's name had much greater recognition among moviegoers than Lovecraft's. Consequently, the film was marketed as a Poe adaptation and a quotation from Poe was superimposed on the movie's final scene.

See also

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