The Macabre & Creepy Edgar Allan Poe group discussion

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The Masque of Red Death > We are reading this starting now,and discussing up till Halloween

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message 1: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I read this aloud to my bookclub for our Halloween meeting. We had read THE SHINING by Stephen King, for our discussion. The story is quoted at the very beginning of the novel,and then referred to in the novel itself......concerning the ballroom in the Overlook Hotel........ I had decorated the hall we held our meeting in with THE SHINING artifacts....including a sign I painted on a board....that said in bloodred....REDRUM..... If I had really thought of it then....i could have put red cellophane on the windows...... lol.


message 2: by Franky (new)

Franky Interesting. I didn't even make the connection to the ballroom and the room in The Masque of the Red Death, although the color imagery is quite vivid in both. I can completely see it when Prince Prospero is making his ways through the various room....chasing the mysterious figure.

That is awesome that you really made this a visual experience for your group. The ending of The Masque of the Red Death is one of those ones that make you gasp....


message 3: by Cyndi (last edited Oct 28, 2012 10:35AM) (new)

Cyndi (BookChick64) Gary wrote: "I read this aloud to my bookclub for our Halloween meeting. We had read THE SHINING by Stephen King, for our discussion. The story is quoted at the very beginning of the novel,and then referred to ..."

Inventive, Gary! :). So schway! Don't you love it when some of your favorite things dovetail without hassle?!?!? Sounds great even without the cellophane :). Wish I could have been there!


message 4: by K.D. (new)

K.D. Absolutely (oldkd) I love this particular story especially its meaning.


message 5: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Me too, K. D. I am curious....what meaning are you referring to? Wanna see if we are both in the same ballpark.....lol.


message 6: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I have had several people respond to starting a story and discussing it to THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. So, who's in? We can add to this discussion. We will be reading it and discussing it from now till into October.


message 7: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barger | 3 comments @@Spoiler Alert@@@

Is the entity that shows up "clothed in the habiliments of the grave" a:

1) ghost
2) zombie
3) vampire
4) person buried who was not dead?


message 8: by Franky (new)

Franky I'm in....


message 9: by Kevin (last edited Sep 04, 2013 04:00PM) (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments In too. Try and find out who has my Roger Corman DVD with this now...(its both Hop Frog and MotRD combined, and when I saw this in my 20s, I was just amazed).


message 10: by Anuradha (new)

Anuradha | 10 comments I'm in!


message 11: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Start reading,and making comments whenever you're ready, folks.I can't wait.


message 12: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments Andrew wrote: "@@Spoiler Alert@@@

Is the entity that shows up "clothed in the habiliments of the grave" a:

1) ghost
2) zombie
3) vampire
4) person buried who was not dead?"


I believe the figure symbolised the actual Red Death, and that despite Prospero cutting him and his retinue away from the devastation that was occurring in his land by sealing them all inside his castle, it snuck in anyway. No?


message 13: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I believe it was death....in maybe a different form then the typical "GRIM REAPER". So, none of the above #'s.

Anybody else have any ideas, or comments about that?


message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments What was the symbolism of the Black room with the red tainted windows? And what with the different colours of the various rooms anyway? What was the point of that? The Roger Corman film does this better mind, but...


message 15: by Gary (last edited Sep 10, 2013 07:36PM) (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Black symoblizes death,and the red blood, and death, references to the Black Plaque,and the disease dispersed in the rooms,and everyone will die a horrible death, is how I interpret it.


message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barger | 3 comments I believe the colors represent the stages of life from birth through death. There is a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays that walks through them and may be where Poe got it.


message 17: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Andrew wrote: "I believe the colors represent the stages of life from birth through death. There is a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays that walks through them and may be where Poe got it."

Any chance you can provide that quote? Or a link to it? That would be greatly appreciated....cause I believe I've heard this before, that the different colors represent the stages in life.....


message 18: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Barger | 3 comments This quote is from the monologue "All the world's a stage" in As You Like It:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


message 19: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Thanks for this!


message 20: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 7 comments I'm in. Read it before but it's been a while and Poe is always re-readable.


message 21: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 7 comments Andrew wrote: "I believe the colors represent the stages of life from birth through death. There is a quote from one of Shakespeare's plays that walks through them and may be where Poe got it."

Interesting. Had no idea.


message 22: by Franky (new)

Franky I've heard of the seven stages of life aspect but thanks for pointing out exactly where that is. Should have known it was Shakespeare.

So, as far as the moral/lesson of the story, does anyone else see it as something along the lines of "you can't turn your back on the world, especially if the world is suffering." Which Prospero basically does, with his lavish parties, while the plague destroys those on the outside.


message 23: by John (new)

John Karr (Karr) | 7 comments Franky wrote: ... does anyone else see it as something along the lines of "you can't turn your back on the world, especially if the world is suffering." Which Prospero basically does, with his lavish parties, while the plague destroys those on the outside.

Now that you point it out, absolutely.


message 24: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
John wrote: "I'm in. Read it before but it's been a while and Poe is always re-readable."

Absolutely. I reread him often, especially during the Halloween season. I look forward , John, to your comments,and hope the comments made by anyone sparks others to read the story too,and to make their comments as well.


message 25: by Kevin (last edited Sep 18, 2013 02:22AM) (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments Franky wrote: "I've heard of the seven stages of life aspect but thanks for pointing out exactly where that is. Should have known it was Shakespeare.

So, as far as the moral/lesson of the story, does anyone els..."


I think this. Despite Prospero having all the control and wealth across his domain, once the Red Death lays his land to waste, he shuts himself in his castle with his select group of courtiers and favoured people. They have feasts and masquerades whilst the suffering continues. Only they are not immune to it.
I recommend if you can get hold of it, the Roger Corman film from the 60s with Jane Asher and Vincent Price, it really is a great script (adding Hop Frog into the tale), which fills out the tale a lot more, really making this aspect stand out. And the final sentence really hits...

'And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.'


Where can we find words, leave alone tales like this today?


message 26: by Gary (last edited Sep 18, 2013 06:54AM) (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I wish they did a boxed set of all of The Poe Roger Corman films. I would buy that in a New York Minute!


message 27: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments This is Amazon UK link, but you should be able to alter that to US or anywhere else. There were a whole load of the Midnite Movies DVDs released a few years back. I collected them all, but now am missing a few. Great collection.

Midnite Movies


message 28: by Franky (new)

Franky I'll definitely check out the Roger Corman/ Vincent Price version. While the Corman films tend to ham it up a little, I'm a big fan of the genre and of Vincent Price. Thanks for the information about that.


message 29: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Franky, Vincent Price is from St. Louis, which is where I live. They had a great traveling display of memorabilia a couple years ago, that I took my sons to see. He was awesome!


message 30: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 1 comments There are a number of Renaissance castles that have a sequence of rooms each dedicated to a specific planet. The chateau of Versailles near Paris is a good example. The Palazzo Pitti in Florence is another. The tapestries in the rooms reflect the activities of life traditionally associated with the planets: venus, love; mars, war; sun, power; jupiter, festivities; etc.

I wonder if the colored rooms in the castle of Prospero might be inspired by this tradition with the sequence of rooms reflecting the variety of emotions that one experiences in life as a build-up to make the arrival of death all the more dramatic.

In this sense we might see Corman's interpretation of the black room as not so far off base as Saturn was indeed the dark god.

Whatever it's origin, I marvel at how Poe uses architecture to reflect what is going on in the story, as he does in "Fall of the house of Usher".


message 31: by Franky (new)

Franky Kevin, that's a fascinating take on the colors of the different rooms. I'm always looking for a new insight into this story. It's amazing to think I've probably read this story over fifty times but still find something new each time I read or from others. That's the power of Poe.

Gary, that is pretty cool stuff about Vincent Price. So, was the memorabilia specifically for Price's films and characters? It would be awesome if there were recordings of Poe stories by Price.


message 32: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Franky, there is a 5 cd set of recordings of Poe read my Price and Basil Rathbone. I own it. It's awesome!


http://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Allan-Poe...

Order it!


message 33: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
The display was his movies,and about his life, including a postcard from Ernest Hemingway. If you'd like, Franky, I could email you pictures of the display , if you pm me your email. Up to you!
gary


message 34: by Kevin (last edited Oct 01, 2013 11:35AM) (new)

Kevin (kevsparrow) | 6 comments Gary wrote: "Franky, there is a 5 cd set of recordings of Poe read my Price and Basil Rathbone. I own it. It's awesome!


http://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Allan-Poe......"


Now that is awesome.

Also worth watching is An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe with Vincent Price reading certain tales, thats on on the midnight movies collection discs, I think the one with Tomb of Ligeia


message 35: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm (Garmct) | 2 comments For all you Poe-watchers:

http://nyti.ms/1a3vNDm
The Writer and Man, Evermore


message 36: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Thanks , Gary! Wish I could go to NYC to see it!


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Kevin wrote: "Franky wrote: "I've heard of the seven stages of life aspect but thanks for pointing out exactly where that is. Should have known it was Shakespeare.

So, as far as the moral/lesson of the story, ..."


Gary wrote: "John wrote: "I'm in. Read it before but it's been a while and Poe is always re-readable."

Absolutely. I reread him often, especially during the Halloween season. I look forward , John, to your com..."


Yes, I totally agree that so many stories in our day do not have the depth of thought about life that the old classics have. This is why I prefer to read the classics. I was also thinking of the comments on the Shakespeare connection. Recently, I saw The Tempest performed again, as my sister-in-law was in a production in Kansas City. I know in both cases there is royalty named Prospero. I wonder if this is intentional. There is suggestion that Prospero in The Tempest is also neglectful of his duties as king, leading to his downfall. Maybe the carefree spirit of Prince Prospero in Poe's story mirrors that. There is also an aspect of isolation for both, as Prospero in The Tempest goes to live on an island and Prince Prospero in Poe's story refuses to engage with the realities that are taking place, fighting them to the bitter end.


message 38: by Franky (new)

Franky Jean, very interesting observation. I think that even the name "Prospero" symbolizes a sense of being prosperous at the expense of others or in spite of others. I think this would be intentional. The isolation parallel is spot on.


message 39: by Gary (last edited Oct 21, 2013 01:25AM) (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
I tend to agree with both of you, Jean & Franky. I also think the classics have a hell of a lot more bite than modern fiction does. I tend to get really ticked off at some the "crap" that rolls off the shelves as good fiction to read. A classic, even a difficult one to read rarely disappoints me in that I learn something new, or have reflective thoughts I rarely find that modern fiction has any meat at all. I do have a suggestion. Read Daniel Woodrell. He's a Missouri author , made famous by his novel WINTER'S BONE. He has a new book out called THE MAID's VERSION,and he has some older books out as well, that had been out of print, but are in print now. I've actually met the man twice,and damn....can he write,and spin a yard.


message 40: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (VintageQueen) You all have brought up some very good points. I have read Masque of the Red Death many times and it is by far my favourite Poe short story. Nothing seems to beat the brilliancy of his work!


message 41: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay Macdonald | 2 comments My favourite Poe story at the moment (it will probably change in the near future) is Berenice. It's a perfect example of Poe's intrinsic power as a writer and why most modern horror just simply isn't for me - there's nothing left to the imagination!! I love the mystery and uncertainty behind his stuff. Poe has this way of completely disturbing his reader by merely alluding to something rather than explicitly telling them.

Discussing that point made about classics having much more value than modern fiction I would have to agree because the books that have had the profoundest effect on me have been classics, also I find the "young adult" genre (books people designed for people my age) quite reptitive and there aren't many I actually enjoy. I'd much rather read a book that challenges me and allows me to reflect properly as a reader, that's what classics always do.


message 42: by Franky (new)

Franky Sarah, yes, a brilliant story in many ways, one that has so many levels of depth.

Lindsay, I hadn't read Berenice. I'll have to check that one out. I have my Poe collection, but have only gotten around to some of the lesser known stories. Good point about classics vs. young adult. I think that classics in many ways try to dig a little deeper with meaning, where YA books are more for interest and entertainment, but sometimes come across as shallow.


message 43: by Lindsay (new)

Lindsay Macdonald | 2 comments Yes definitely, I've noticed classics don't rely so much on a strict plot, whereas modern literature (especially YA) is sometimes more about plot than narrative technique; more about the exact details of what has taken place and the ideas rather than what the atmosphere was like or the history behind something. Poe's descriptive powers and narrative intricacy are perfect examples of how the plot can be loose and often quite thin but the ambience and tension built makes the story intruiging.


message 44: by Gary (new)

Gary | 305 comments Mod
Lindsay wrote: "Yes definitely, I've noticed classics don't rely so much on a strict plot, whereas modern literature (especially YA) is sometimes more about plot than narrative technique; more about the exact deta..."

I completely agree, Lindsay....


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