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Was Allen Edgar Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death an Apocalyptic Short Story?

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 Albert Goodwin‘s painting Apocalypse (1903)

This coming Monday I will bring back my podcast episodes  with  episode  9 discussing post-apocalyptic fiction  because  my  work in progress novel takes  place in a post post  apocalyptic world  and I will delve  further into the world of  the blue hour  on my next podcast episode.

“The dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet”. From Tales of Mystery and Imagination … Illustrated by Harry Clarke, by Edgar Allan Poe. London : G. G. Harrap & Co., 1919.

I was curious about something and so for today I want to talk a little bit about  one of my   favorite   writers and  inspiration , Allen  Edgar  Poe  and one  of his works  The Masque of the Red  Death. And I will attempt to answer the question , was the Masque of  the Red Death an Apocalyptic  Short Story?

 Let’s first analysis what an apocalyptic story is.

A sub-genre of  science fiction that  deals  with  a world ending  or being  destroyed.  It may  involve trying to stop the impending apocalypse, or  deal with the  fall  out of the apocalypse itself or  it may deal with after  the  event happened and include the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized.  Often take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of society and technology remain.  It  also has the themes of  a pandemic, uses symbolic  language,  prophetic  vision formula, or  a context of oppression, persecution and despair.

A big check  for my  work in  progress. My world was destroyed  twice .(more  to come about that  later on my next podcast)  

Okay but  what about The Masque of the Red  Death is that an apocalyptic  short story?

Let’s delve deeper?

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The Masque of the Red Death was written by Poe and published in 1842 and was  simply put , a tale about  a  personified  plague  that kills a prince who  thought he could  hide himself in  a  castle  to avoid the bubonic plague outside his door.

Front page of The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole (1717-1797)

The prince  literally  invites his friends  to come join  him and he  throws a  ball while the  bubonic  plague  is going on.  That’s crazy.

Now  Poe’s  short story is usually classified as Gothic  Fiction and  was said to be influenced by the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. And Poe  was said to adopt many  convention of classical  Gothic  fiction.   An example  is  the castle setting  he uses in the story. But  when Poe first published the story   in 1842  he himself  classified  the tale in a tagline as  a fantasy.

But does knowing this one thing that Poe’s story involves the  bubonic plague itself automatically makes it  an apocalyptic tale? The bubonic plague was in fact a pandemic. I’m afraid not  . It simply has elements  of  the apocalyptic genre and most likely a subgenre of horror fiction  .  

If you liked this blog post and you want to see more content involving my work in progress During the Blue Hour Follow , Like , share  . But first  LET’S START A DIALOGUE

Did you ever read the The Masque of the Red  Death ?  

 I  want to know so let me know in the comments  below.

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