Dr. Joe Essid, University of Richmond
Department of English & Writing Center
About the project: The Virtual House of Usher is designed for educators and students using this wiki and a portrayal of the House in Jokaydia Grid . The 3D simulation enables visitors to the House to interact with actors portraying Roderick and Madeline Usher. No two encounters will be the same, and avoiding the morbid end of the tale will be a goal for all our visitors.
The text of Poe's 1839 story is in the public domain and can be found at several sites online. The site manager recommends the Project XRoads site at the University of Virginia, where Poe enrolled as a student until lack of funds forced him back to Richmond.
The creators of the 3D experience chose to set the simulation in England, in 1847, the year of Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe's death and a tragic turning point for the author. Student teams, sharing the role of Poe's narrator, will be given tasks and assignments by their instructors as they encounter the fascinating, and gruesome, worlds of Victorian illness, bereavement, death, and addiction. We hope that the virtual-world experience as well as the growing body of material at this wiki will bring to life for a new generation of learners the obsessions and genius of Edgar Allan Poe.
Visiting the Simulation in Jokaydia Grid or Second Life: For a tour, e-mail site manager Joe Essid: joe -dot- essid -at- gmail -dot- com. With enough warning, we will gather actors and run the entire simulation, with you in the role of Poe's narrator. Those new to virtual worlds may wish to create an avatar at Jokaydia Grid. Those with avatars in grids linked by hypergrid technology can find hypergrid information at this site.
A prior version of the project existed in Second Life® in 2009-2010 and was used for two courses, but the simulation was removed after Linden Lab's decision to end discounts for educators and non-profits. Our Jokaydia location features an entire island focused on the House but including intertextual references (and clues for actors) from other Poe tales and poetry.
In January, 2012, I began serious work on returning aspects of the Jokaydia Grid build to Second Life, after a generous offer from Glasgow Caledonian University to provide a parcel. When the project is finished, I will post directions to our visitor's center at this site. I anticipate that self-guided tours of the House, for those with a Second Life account, will be possible in February, 2012.
Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc. The Virtual House of Usher is not affiliated with or sponsored by Linden Research.