Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe (1842; read in 2020)
Published by marco on
Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.
This is a (very) short story (Project Gutenberg) by the master of horror about a masked ball held by a Prince Prospero in his sumptuous castle. The castle has 7 room, each decorated in a different color, with the final room painted black and illuminated by an eldritch crimson glare. An cowled, uninvited guest slithers through the proceedings, eventually revealing itself as not a man, but a disease that takes its victims quickly and unmistakably.
“There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.”