January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is first published

It was his first publication under his own name, and still one of his best known. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was printed in the Evening Mirror, a newspaper in New York City.

It wasn’t instantly recognized as a classic – neither William Butler Yeats nor Ralph Waldo Emerson, fellow poets both – thought much of it. But it had a catchy rhyme scheme – AA,B,CC,CB,B,B – which is complex but not too complex. And there is, of course, that wonderful one word refrain…

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted — nevermore!

Raven Manet B2.jpg
By Édouard Manet – Library of Congress[1][2], Public Domain, Link

As mentioned in:

Kremlin Dusk — Utada Hikaru

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One Comment

  1. The Raven does have a really catchy rhyme scheme, but more than that, Poe’s attention to the words he uses and how he uses them is amazing. According to Shmoop- and I completely agree- there is an interesting rhythm to it, like a spell, a curse, or an enchantment which is deliciously dark and engaging. Moreover, the tension, the fear and the darkness gradually build up to the moment when we come across the raven, dissipate for a second when the raven enters and makes him smile, but start to spike again with his torment and fear at the bird’s repetition of the eerie, depressing word, “Nevermore!”. Thrilling.

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