"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Primary Source Set

Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” appeared in early 1845 in two publications: the Evening Mirror in January and the American Review (under the pseudonym “Quarles”) in February. Poe was already an established writer of poetry and prose as well as a literary critic. He wrote in the Gothic tradition (also known as Dark Romanticism), often reacting against the optimism of his transcendentalist contemporaries. With “The Raven,” he became a household name; the poem was praised, reprinted, and parodied internationally. It has become Poe’s most famous piece of writing and one of the most popular literary works of the period. With compelling musicality, “The Raven” explores the darker aspects of human existence by telling the story of a man mourning a lost love. In the poem, the narrator is visited in his grief by a raven whose repetitive refrain drives him towards madness. This primary source set includes portraits, illustration, correspondence, and commentaries that provide context for and different perspectives on the poem and its creator.

Additional resources for research

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Resources, The Raven Society, University of Virginia.
  2. Edgar Allan Poe, The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.
  3. Poe’s Life, Poe Museum.

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