The Raven, a narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1845, has made its author famous, and a pop-culture phoneme to this day. Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to research a bit more into this beloved classic this time of year.
- Virginia, Poe’s wife, was dying from tuberculosis while he was writing the poem.
- Poe admired a serialized story by Charles Dickens called Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty’ which had the line “What was that — him tapping at the door?”
In his review, Poe thought the book could be better, but was inspired by Grip the Raven, Dickens’ beloved pet.
- Poe chose the word “Nevermore” because it represents the human thirst for self-torture”, a common theme in his life and work.
- The poet found ravens creepy because they are very intelligent, live on carcasses, have been known to mimic other birds, and have no fear investigating gun shots.
- The meter of The Raven comes from “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship“, a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
- The publication of The Raven made Poe and instant celebrity and a household name. He was still poor though, as there was no mechanism to receive royalties from reprints and advertising.
- The poem was first published in The American Review under the pseudonym “Quarles” (it was rejected by Graham’s Magazine). It was first published with Poe’s name attached in The new York Mirror.
- It is reported that Poe gave lectures and dramatic reading of the poem which were captivating and brilliant.
- The 1915 movie The Raven embellished his writing process, death, drunkenness, and death. We actually know very little about his death.
- The raven has come to symbolize the poet, birds are placed in historical monuments to honor him.