Being reminded that nobody escapes death just doesn't get any more fun than this. In only fourteen paragraphs, Poe creates a Gothic wonderland that will give you a serious case of the spine-tinglies and set your imagination all atwitter. The story's imagery is just as wonderfully weird and dramatic. The language is so grave and dark it practically screams to be read aloud by Christopher Lee . And if you're into solving puzzles, the story's got enough allusion and symbolism to keep you figuring it out for a good long while.
Besides being a horror buff's dream, "Masque of the Red Death" may also have some interesting things to say about art. In what ways is an artist like a sorcerer? Do art and madness always go together? Is art above morality? What's the relationship between art and death? Those are all questions Poe explores through the surprisingly complex character of Prince Prospero.
So read "The Masque of the Red Death," and let yourself discover the fantastic world of Poe and Prospero's madness. Find out why some have called this Poe's own twisted remake of Shakespeare's The Tempest . And witness for yourself the mother of all party crashes.
Upon its initial publication, A Christmas Carol was greeted with mixed reviews. Some commentators derided the tale as too sentimental and laden with exaggeration; other critics maintained that A Christmas Carol lacked the complexity of Dickens's later work. Yet the novella remains a Christmas favorite. Commentators praise Dickens's evocative portrayal of 1840s London and his passionate exploration of social and political issues. Dickens's fervent belief in social justice as depicted through A Christmas Carol is credited with inspiring an outpouring of charitable endeavors during his time and a revival of Christmas spirit and traditional celebrations. Critics have also explored the fairy-tale and gothic elements in A Christmas Carol, and many praise Dickens's use of wry humor in the story. The relevance and power of Scrooge's transformation from forlorn old niggard to benignant philanthropist is regarded as the key to the novella's unflagging popular appeal. Several scholars have debated the nature of Scrooge's conversion, which is known as “the Scrooge problem.” Some critics, including Edmund Wilson, conclude that the transformation is a temporary one; others have maintained that it is total and irrevocable. Scrooge's metanoia has also been placed within its historical and literary context, and critics have related it to the religious revival then fervent in nineteenth-century England. A few full-length studies of the novella have traced the impact of the story on English and American culture and have discussed the copious imitations, adaptations, and modernized versions of the tale.