Wednesday, October 6, 2010

countdown to Halloween: Edgar Allan Poe and Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha (b. 1937-), Five Past Eleven, acrylic and oil on canvas, 59 x 145 1/2 in., 1989

excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death:

"It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chime of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation.

Ed Ruscha, The Beginnings, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20 in., 1987

But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies), there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before."
(source for quote: Selected Stories and Poems: Edgar Allan Poe, published by Airmont Books, New York, NY ©1962)

Ed Ruscha, The End, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 112 in., 1991

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