One of the things that stood out to me was The Persian. Along with the strangeness of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, it has me wanting to reread Edward Said’s Orientalism.
I was also intrigued by the description of Erik as having a ‘death’s head’:
As Raoul once more passed through the great crush-room, this time in the wake of his guide, he could not help noticing a group crowding round a person whose disguise, eccentric air and gruesome appearance were causing a sensation. It was a man dressed all in scarlet, with a huge hat and feathers on the top of a wonderful death’s head. From his shoulders hung an immense red-velvet cloak, which trailed along the floor like a king’s train; and on this cloak was embroidered, in gold letters, which every one read and repeated aloud, “Don’t touch me! I am Red Death stalking abroad!”
I was interested to read that there is debate about this description:
There is debate among both English and French speakers as to whether the original French word used here, sentir, was intended by Leroux to mean “smells like” or “feels like,” as the French word is used for both feel and smell depending on the context.