Gaston Leroux

Leroux was the author of such great classics of French literature as The Mystery of the Yellow Room and The Phantom of the Opera.

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not that Gaston

He died tragically of an acute urinary infection before he could enjoy the full fruits of his enormous and lasting success as the creator (or rather popularizer) of the Opera Ghost.

A long-standing mystery remains unsolved even to this day. Why is it that the French have so sadly neglected their favorite son’s undisputed masterpiece?

Erik (AKA the Phantom) has been filmed and staged repeatedly around the world over the last century, with Lon Chaney, Claude Rains, and Christopher Lee joined by a veritable host of equally distinguished also-rans in the heady race to portray the ugliest and most tragic antihero the world has ever seen.

Is it because Erik is so ugly in body, if not in spirit?

Is it because Christine is too beautiful to live on the inside, as well as the outside?

Is it because Raoul is so pitiful and weak as an alternative to the Spirit of Music?

Is it because the Persian is so dark, Eastern, and mysterious in his ways?

Is it because the Paris Opera, and its endless series of cellars beneath the level of the sunlit streets, reflects the soft underbelly of modern society in ways that make French intellectuals and their betters squeamish and uncomfortable?

In order to answer this question, all you have to do is ask.

The rat-catcher might know.

Better yet, why not ask the man/shade/shadow in the felt hat?

He undoubtedly has strong opinions on this very subject.

Published by keechballard

Keech Ballard is a writer of speculative fiction, self-help books, and poetry, who lives in Las Vegas.

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