Quoth the raven, “Nevermore”.
An iconic line from a famous poem.
Written by a man who was orphaned at the age of three, lost the love of his life to tuberculosis, and then died himself at only 40 years old, it’s instantly recognizable to nearly everyone who reads it. It is the haunting refrain of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.
“The Raven” was published on January 29, 1845 in the weekly newspaper the New York Evening Mirror. It was reprinted a month later in both an issue of American Review and The Liberator, as well as countless other publications around the United States in the months following. It is arguably the most famous of Poe’s writings and made him a nationwide household name in a very short period of time.
Today marks the 168th anniversary of the publication of “The Raven”. This is not only my favourite poem, but also, in my opinion, one of the greatest works of literature ever written, surpassed only by the Bible and Dante’s Divina Commedia. In a mere 108 lines broken down into 18 stanzas, Poe captures the very essence of a man’s soul. He weaves an unforgettable tale of captivating beauty, undying love and heart-wrenching despair.
Much like the narrator in the poem, I too have been haunted by the raven since the moment I first heard that glorious opening line… “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” He bewitched me, and now I can recite “The Raven” from memory, in its entirety. From the first stanza to the last, and from last to first. An impressive, yet completely worthless skill. Continue reading