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When Edgar Allan Poe set down the tale of the accursed House of Usher in 1839, he also laid the foundation for a literary tradition that has assumed a lasting role in American culture. "The House of Usher" and its literary progeny have not lacked for tenants in the century and a half since: writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Stephen King have taken rooms in the haunted houses of American fiction. Dale Bailey traces the haunted house tale from its origins in English gothic fiction to the paperback potboilers of the present, highlighting the unique significance of the house in the domestic, economic, and social ideologies of our nation. The author concludes that the haunted house has become a powerful and profoundly subversive symbol of everything that has gone nightmarishly awry in the American Dream.
From the book jacket: Dreamland was abandoned years ago. Its concrete towers were built to house the indigent. Instead it became a perverted monument to human suffering. No one lives there anymore. But it isn't empty. People say that voices still echo from the abyss of its empty elevator shafts...and that something still breathes in its black halls. No sane person would even dare set foot in its shadow. Until tonight. Slated for demolition, Dreamland is playing host to an eccentric billionaire who's obsessed with its unspeakable past. Four strangers have been hired to join him. Each has a reason for daring the unknown and a secret that could break down the boundary between the living and the dead. Now they're about to discover where evil dwells-and thrives. And it could condemn them all to an everlasting nightmare.
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