The figure was tall and gaunt…


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Federico Castillon
Masque of the Red Death, 1968
1975.39.12
In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revelers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood — and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

Upcoming Big Read Events:

April 5th – Poe’s Gothic Psyche: How Poe’s Dreams Became Reader’s Nightmares

ISU Library Events Area, 6:00 p.m.
Join Dr. Matt Brennan as he uses passages from Poe’s works to illustrate how Gothic writers adapt their dreams to create a nightmare experience.

April 19th – ISU Ghost Walk

ISU Campus, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Hear the legends about famous ghosts on the ISU campus. Assemble at the HMSU at 7:00 p.m. For more information or to register, call 232-1113, ext 2281 or 2282. You must be able to walk and climb stairs. Limited to 40 participants – call early.

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