“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 distraught lover who is paid a mysterious visit by a talking raven. The lover, often identified as a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further antagonize the protagonist with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references.Poe claimed to have written the poem logically and methodically, with the intention to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay, “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe based the complex rhythm and meter on Elizabeth Barrett’s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”, and made use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout,
The Raven and Other Selected Poems
“The Raven” is by far Poe’s best-known poem and it is one of more than forty to be found in The Raven and Other Poems, a volume that collects the best of Poe’s exercises in verse. Here, readers are treated to such masterpieces as “Annabel Lee,” “The Haunted Palace,” “The Conqueror Worm,” “The City in the Sea,” “Lenore,” and many more. These poems are imbued with the somber seriousness that we associate with Poe’s macabre fiction, but also with his marvelous appraisals of the mysteries of our and other worlds, and his fervent belief in undying love.