Throwback Thursday Halloween Edition: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

You’re just in time for a special Halloween edition of Throwback Thursday — a meme re-imagined.

Today’s Throwback Thursday: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

Is there another poem that is more evocative of Halloween?

The Raven, illustrated by W.L. Taylor

The Raven, illustrated by W.L. Taylor

The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven‘s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. (Source

Illustrated by John Tenniel (1858).

Poe Had a Turbulent Life, Much of His Fame Posthumous

The Raven. By Edgar Allan Poe. Illustrations by Ferdinand H. Horvath. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1930. Special Collections Department.

Briefly a student at the University of Virginia in 1826, Poe was forced to leave as he had run up huge gambling debts attempting to supplement the small allowance his guardian John Allan allotted him. The Raven Society at the University of Virginia maintains both his room on the West Range and the ravens that live underneath the portico eaves of the Rotunda.

The Raven. By Edgar Allan Poe. Illustrated by Gustave Dore, with commentary by Edmund C. Stedman. New York: Harper Brothers, 1884. Special Collections Department.


The University is home to the Ingram-Poe Collection, an unparalleled collection assembled by John Henry Ingram, Poe’s protector. Ingram was spurred to action by the smear campaign of Rufus Griswold, Poe’s literary executor. Griswold exaggerated Poe’s eccentricities, poverty, and inability to handle alcohol into a biography of Poe as madman, sadist, and hopeless drug addict. Under Griswold’s pen, Poe indeed becomes a monster. In his life, however, Poe was an outsider by virtue of his extreme poverty, the lack of recognition of his genius while he was alive, and his obsession with death, preferably that of a beautiful woman. (Source)

Even Édouard Manet Was Compelled to Illustrate “The Raven”

Image Title:  [At the window.] Creator: Manet, Edouard, 1832-1883 -- Illustrator

Creator: Manet, Edouard, 1832-1883 — Illustrator Brush-and-ink transfer relief plate or transfer lithograph Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library

The Raven on the Bust of Pallas

Image Title:  [The raven on the bust of Pallas.] Creator: Manet, Edouard, 1832-1883 -- Illustrator Brush-and-ink transfer relief plate (?) or transfer lithograph, printed on China paper; state noted with standard reference number.

Image Title: The raven on the bust of Pallas.
Creator: Manet, Edouard, 1832-1883 — Illustrator
Brush-and-ink transfer relief plate (?) or transfer lithograph, printed on China paper; state noted with standard reference number. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library

 From “The Life of Edgar Allan Poe” By William Fearing Gill

The Life of Edgar Allan Poe By William Fearing Gill

Nevermore.

Actor Vincent Price Reads “The Raven”

 

Edgar Allan Poe Was Partly Inspired by Charles Dickens’ Pet Raven, Grip

Charles Dickens and family were so fond of their pet raven (Grip) that he was a character in his book, Barnaby Rudge. They even had Grip stuffed after he died.

Grip, now in possession of the Free Library of Philadelphia. This was once Charles Dickens’ pet. Also an inspiration for Poe’s raven, according to some.

Poe wrote a review of the book [Barnaby Rudge] for Graham’s Magazine in Philadelphia in 1842. In his review, he wrote some words that make it seem like Dickens’s bird might have planted a seed in his mind: “The raven, too, intensely amusing as it is, might have been … prophetically heard in the course of the drama.”

So can we be sure that the Barnaby Rudge raven inspired The Raven? Says [Professor] Pettit, flatly, “Poe knew about it. He wrote about it. And there’s a talking raven in it. So the link seems fairly obvious to me.” (Source.)

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