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” 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)
Poe Had a Turbulent Life, Much of His Fame Posthumous
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 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”
The Raven on the Bust of Pallas
From “The Life of Edgar Allan Poe” By William Fearing Gill
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.
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.)
Previous Installments of #TBT Re-Imagined
- Patsy & Hedy, Career Girls (September 11, 2014)
- The First Selfie (September 4, 2014)
- Flinstone’s Cigarette Commercial (August 28, 2014)
- Visions of a Robot Army (August 21, 2014)
- The First-Ever Board Game? (August 14, 2014)
- Early MVP for Google Glass? (August 7, 2014)