Today I am writing to you about The Masque of the Red Death.
This is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that was published in 1982. In a nutshell, it is a story about a prince who wants to avoid the plague. He does so by holding a party in an abbey (Good lord this gives me flashbacks to news stories during COVID-19).
This is a very popular story and has been adapted more times than I can count. One version even starred Vincent Price. It has also been mentioned and referred to in countless other media.
Prince Prospero (Great name) is afraid of dying from the plague, as many people would be. The plague is referred to as the Red Death, due to the epic bleeding from the pores. So, he sequesters himself and a bunch of other noble-born people into an abbey. While there they hold elaborate parties across the abbey’s seven rooms. The last room is pretty foreboding and not a lot of people are brave enough to enter.
After midnight a new face appears, disguised as a Red Death victim. Prospero freaks out as this party crasher moves through each of the rooms. Eventually, he confronts the crasher and dies as a result. The Red Death costume is shown to contain absolutely nothing.
Today I am writing to you to tell you about Edgar Allan Poe.
To say Poe’s works have influenced literature is like saying water is wet. He and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. He has influenced many other great writers, such as H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King to name drop just two. His impact on the horror genre (as well as Sci-Fi and Detective) cannot be overstated.
I could probably write an entire blog series on this man, and if you would like me to do so then by all means speak up. However, today all I am going to do is a very brief summary of his life, and works.
Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe on 19 January 1809 and was the first well-known American writers to earn a living through writing alone. He was a writer, poet, editor, and a literary critic.
Poe was born in Boston, the second child of actors David and Elizabeth Poe. Sadly, his father abandoned the family in 1810, and his mother died the following year. Poe was raised by John and Frances Allan, though his relationship with them was not without its problems.
Poe attended university, though due to financial reasons he left after one year and joined the army. However, he was not content in the military life and shortly after the death of his brother he left to be a full-time writer.
However, due to shitty copyright laws Poe struggled as a writer, this was because American publishers often reproduced unauthorized copies of British works rather than paying for new work by Americans.
That is not to say he had no success at all, he spent several years working for literary journals and periodicals
He received a prize in October 1833 from the Baltimore Saturday Visiter for his short story “MS. Found in a Bottle”. This brought Poe to the attention of other writers and editors and landed him a job as assistant editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835.
He married his 13-year-old cousin in 1836 (he was 26 at the time and they lied about her age in order to marry), sadly, she died of tuberculosis in 1847. It is said that her passing influenced some of his writing.
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was published in 1838 and Poe became the assistant editor of Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine the following year. He later took a position as a as writer and co-editor at Graham’s Magazine
In January 1845, he published his poem “The Raven” which made him a household name. He planned for years to produce his own journal The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), but before it could be produced, he died. The cause of his death has never been unearthed.
On the day before his death he was found in great distress and delouse on the streets, he was taken to hospital and passed away. All medical records have been lost, including his death certificate.
Today I am writing to talk to you about one of the slightly lesser-known stories by Edgar Allan Poe, and by lesser-known I do not mean unknown, I just mean that it isn’t referred to as much as say The Raven or The Tell-tale Heart.
I am talking about William Wilson. The story of a man who encounters his doppelganger and was inspired by Washington Irving’s “An unwritten Drama of Lord Byron” which was also about a doppelganger.
I personally feel that this short story is underrated, especially as Poe himself labelled it as his best effort.
It was published in the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840. It has since been adapted many times across many different countries in both film, comic, and radio play. It is also referenced in various modern creations, for example by one of my favourite modern authors Stephen King who’s novel The Outsider draws a parallel between the situation faced by the main character and Poe’s story of William Wilson. The Outsider has been said (by King) to have been inspired by the story William Wilson.
Today I want to talk with you about one of the world’s most famous horror writers is Edgar Allen Poe.
A name synonymous with Ravens, secret shadows, and dark deeds. He has inspired countless other writers, filmmakers and creators across the board. To sum up such an important figure for the horror genre in a simple blog is like trying to strike a match on jelly. But that’s not going to stop me from having a go.