Thursday, 19 January 2012

Review: 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe

It is Edgar's birthday!! Let's all mentally sing a 'Happy Birthday' and then get cracking on this review. I think 'The Raven' is definitely one of Edgar's most well-known works. It is also the only poem I am reviewing this week.

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Publication Date: January 1845
Publisher:  First in 'The American Review' but under a pseudonym. First time under his own name: New    
                     York Evening Mirror

The Narrator is mourning the loss of his love, Lenore, when suddenly he hears a rapping on the door. He believes it is an unwelcome visitor but there is no one there. When he hears the rapping again he opens the window and a raven flies in. Amused by its serious air he asks it his name, to which it responds 'Nevermore'. He seats himself opposite the Raven who  has seated himself atop a but of Pallas Athena and concludes it learn the word from his previous master. But as the evening continues he becomes more and more desperate and that is all I will tell.

I truly enjoyed this story because it is beautifully written. It is not a true poem, but a narrative poem with its main theme being undying love. In an essay from 1946, called 'The Philosophy of Composition', he says he wanted to create a poem that is suitable for both the public and the critics.  He thought of every single detail and planned the story carefully so every detail would be important. I think that this dedication definitely shows in the story and how it effects the reader. It is at the same time interesting and terrifying. You never know whether the Raven is conscious of the effect it has on the Narrator or not. I quoted the beginning below because it is one of my favourite beginnings to a poem.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —            Only this and nothing more." 
Apparently Edgar was inspired by Dickens Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eight, which I have never read, therefore I would not know, but it has a talking Raven. I wonder how you feel about author's borrowing ideas from others. I don't think there is anything wrong with it because writing is about being inspired by something, What does upset me is the endless copying of certain themes or ideas, such as the typical Twilight-set up: girl falls in love with 2 different boys and has to choose. 

Something I want to share with you: James Earl Jones reading 'The Raven'. He is Darth Vader's voice and his reading is simply beautiful. And it also highlight the rhyming in the poem.

What are your thoughts on this?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Juli! Sadly, I wasn't able to make a post on The Raven but I did reread and read more about Edgar Allan Poe this week. Such a fascinating literary figure, but what a tragic end. This is a great initiative of yours. I wish I was able to join, but time is not my best ally this month. I hope to read more literary figures in your blog. Thanks!

    Nancy @ Simple Clockwork