Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Monday, February 13, 2012

The rooms in Poe´s The Masque of the Red Death

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Alan Poe is one of my favorites, specially the part that describe the rooms in different colors. It has always been intriguing for me, the way they were arranged. I can understand they were connected by side hallways, arranged like a labyrinth, considering nobody could access from one room to the other in a straight direction.
I use the plural for hallways, because he says the Gothic windows are on the right and left, facing the corridors. And, if there is no possibility to see two rooms completely at one time, it means that they are intertwined and most probably without doors, I imagine them like alternating chambers.
Maybe I have to make a sketch to solve this spatial problem, re read the following paragraphs from the story and figure out the layout.
Anyway, nothing could be so misinterpreted as the scenography of the 1964 British movie, with horror star Vincent Price.
Here, one room is directly next to the other, suppose the doors are open, you would have the one point of view perspective that Poe said was not for the Prince´s bizarre preference.
There are candelabra everywhere, and the phantasmagorical effect due to the fire light entering through the windows is nonexistent.
I took this shots from the movie and was astonished to see that specially the yellow and the white rooms are so terribly domestic, I think Poe would be very disappointed....  ABSOLUTE WHITE???.

¨It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven -- an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke's love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue -- and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange -- the fifth with white -- the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet -- a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire that protected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.¨

Enjoy the story in full:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails