Born in Boston , January 19, 1809Edgar was the second of three childrenWithin three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had diedPoe became a ward of the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and hiswife Frances Allan. They never legally adopted him.Poe’s siblings went to live with other familiesEven as a child, Poe had dreams of becoming a writer like his hero theBritish poet, Lord Byron
For most people, Edgar Allan Poe brings to mind images of murderers andmadmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead.His works have been in print since 1827 and include classics such as “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Raven”, and “The Fall of the House of Usher”.Poe was a versatile writer who wrote short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, abook of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews.He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and aninnovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s firstgreat literary critic and theoretician.Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on hishaunting lyric poetry
•1826 Poe left Richmond to attend the University of Virginia, but had to returnbecause John Allan refused to pay Poe’s gambling debts and Poe had to drop outof college.•Due to fights with his foster-father, Poe went to Boston where he wrote his firstbook of poetry Tamerlane.•In an attempt to support himself Poe enlisted in the army, and then in1829, Frances Allan died of tuberculosis and John Allan and Poe briefly reconciledtheir differences.•John Allan helped Poe get an appointment at the U.S. Military Academy in WestPoint.•Poe realized that the military was not what he wanted to do that literature washis “calling” and John Allan did not support Poe’s decision in dropping out.•Poe was court marshaled for refusing to report for class or duty•Poe moved to Baltimore where he lived with his poor aunt, Maria Poe Clemmand her young daughter, Virginia.
• In 1833, he wrote, “Ms. Found in a Bottle.” It lead to a job offer as an editor for amagazine in Richmond, Virginia.• In 1835, he accepted the position of editor and married his thirteen year oldcousin, Virginia.• In 1838, Poe moved his family to Philadelphia where he worked as editor forGraham’s Magazine. He wrote some of his most famous stories: “Fall of the Houseof Usher,” “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Gold-Bug,” and others.• In 1842, Virginia became ill with tuberculosis• 1845, The Raven was published• 1847, Virginia died of tuberculosis• For the next two years, Poe continued to write poetry and short stories and thenon October 7, 1849, while in Baltimore, Poe died at the age of 40. There are manymysteries concerning Poe’s death. It has been attributed to “acute congestion ofthe brain” due to drug and alcohol overdoses.
Opened in 1922An Old Stone House, blocks away from Poe’sfirst Richmond homeMuseum shows Edgar Allan Poe’s finestcollection of manuscripts, letters, firsteditions, memorabilia, and personalbelongings.
• "The Raven" was first published in the New York Evening Mirroron January 29, 1845, and received popular and critical praise• "The Raven" has become one of Americas most famouspoems, partly as a result, of its easily rememberedrefrain, "Nevermore."• The speaker, a man who pines for his deceased love, Lenore, hasbeen visited by a talking bird who knows only theword, "Nevermore.“• The narrator feels so grieved over the loss of his love that heallows his imagination to transform the bird into a prophetbringing news that the lovers will "Nevermore" be reunited, noteven in heaven.• Poes own essay about "The Raven," he describes the poem asone that reveals the human penchant for "self-torture" asevidenced by the speakers tendency to weigh himself down with
The chamber of a house at midnight. Poe uses theword chamber instead of bedroom becauseapparently chamber has a dark and mysteriousconnotation.
First-Person Narrator (Persona) A man whohas lost his beloved, a woman named Lenore.He is depressed, lonely, and possibly mentallyunstable as a result of his grief.
A raven, which can be up to two feet long, is atype of crow. Ravens eat smallanimals, carrion, fruit, and seeds. They oftenappear inlegend and literature assinister omens.
The death of a beautiful woman, aslamented by her bereaved lover.
As in his short stories, Poe is careful to useprimarily words that contribute to the overallatmosphere and tone of the poem. Thesewords includeweary, dreary, bleak, dying, sorrow, sad, darkness, stillness, mystery, ebony, grave, stern,lonely, grim,ghastly, and gaunt.
The melancholy tone of "The Raven" relies as muchon its musical sound and rhythmic pattern as on themeaning of the words. To achieve his musicaleffect, Poe uses rhyming words in the same line(internal rhyme), a word at the end of one line thatrhymes with a word at the end of another line (endrhyme), alliteration (a figure of speech that repeats aconsonant sound), and a regular pattern of accentedand unaccented syllables. This pattern uses astressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllablewith a total of sixteen syllables in each line.
It is possible thatLenore, the idealizeddeceased woman in thepoem, represents Poe’sbeloved wife, Virginia, whowas in poor health whenPoe wrote "The Raven."She died two years afterthe publication of thepoem, when she was onlyin her mid-twenties.
Some reviewers in Poe’s day, including poet WaltWhitman, criticized “The Raven” for its sing-song, highly emotional quality. The poem is stillcriticized today–and often parodied–for the samereason. However, the consensus of critics andordinary readers appears to that the poem is ameticulously crafted work of genius and fullydeserves its standing as one of the mostpopular poems in American literature. It is indeeda great work.
It is midnight on a cold evening in Decemberin the 1840s. In a dark and shadowybedroom, wood burns in the fireplace as aman laments the death of Lenore, a womanhe deeply loved. To occupy his mind, hereads a book of ancient stories. But a tappingnoise disturbs him. When he opens the doorto the bedroom, he sees nothing–onlydarkness.
When the tapping persists, he opens theshutter of the window and discovers araven, which flies into the room and landsabove the door on a bust of Athena (Pallas inthe poem), the goddess of wisdom and war inGreek mythology. It says “Nevermore” to allhis thoughts and longings. The raven,a symbol of death, tells the man hewill never again ("nevermore") seehis beloved, never again hold her–even in heaven.
•"The Raven" is the most famous of Poes poems, notablefor its melodic and dramatic qualities.•The meter of the poem is mostly trochaic octameter, witheight stressed-unstressed two-syllable feet per lines.Combined with the predominating ABCBBB end rhymescheme and the frequent use of internal rhyme, thetrochaic octameter and the refrain of "nothing more" and"nevermore" give the poem a musical lilt when read aloud.
•Poe also emphasizes the "O" sound in words such as"Lenore" and "nevermore" in order to underline themelancholy and lonely sound of the poem and to establishthe overall atmosphere.•The repetition of "nevermore" gives a circular sense to thepoem and contributes to what Poe termed the unity ofeffect, where each word and line adds to the largermeaning of the poem.•Like a number of Poes poems such as "Ulalume" and"Annabel Lee," "The Raven" refers to an agonizedprotagonists memories of a deceased woman.
•Poes choice of a raven as the bearer of ill news isappropriate for a number of reasons. Originally, Poe soughtonly a dumb beast that was capable of producing human-like sounds without understanding the wordsmeaning, and he claimed that earlier conceptions of "TheRaven" included the use of a parrot.•The raven is important because it allows the narrator to beboth the deliverer and interpreter of the sinistermessage, without the existence of a blatantly supernaturalintervention. At the same time, the ravens black featherhave traditionally been considered a magical sign of illomen.
•Due to the late hour of the poems setting and to the narratorsmental turmoil, the poem calls the narrators reliability into question.At first the narrator attempts to give his experiences a rationalexplanation, but by the end of the poem, he has ceased to give theraven any interpretation beyond that which he invents in his ownhead.•The raven thus serves as a fragment of his soul and as the animalequivalent of Psyche in the poem "Ulalume." Each figure representsits respective characters subconscious that instinctively understandshis need to obsess and to mourn.•As in "Ulalume," the protagonist is unable to avoid the recollection ofhis beloved, but whereas Psyche of "Ulalume" sought to prevent theunearthing of painful memories, the raven actively stimulates histhoughts of Lenore, and he effectively causes his own fate throughthe medium of a non-sentient animal.
The Raven is a poem that has many interpretations. Onecould say The Raven is a reflection of Poe’s delusions, or aforeshadowing of his premature death. Furthermore, thispoem could even mirror his struggle with Poe’s dark past.The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe has been the inspiration formany widely acclaimed motion pictures such asBatman, The Crow, and even story lines for T.V. sitcomslike the Simpsons. Edgar Allan Poe was the first to use araven to symbolize death. One thing is for certain Poe didstruggle with reality and his past. He was a man thatemulated women. After losing many women in his life Poedefinitely had a premise for writing on loss.