On this day in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” was first published, in The Evening Mirror. Poe’s reputation as a writer of horror tends to overshadow the fact that he was a technical master. During most of his lifetime, he was better known as a literary theorist than a writer. Pretty much everything he is known for was written in the last decade of his life. Of course, “The Raven” made him a star (not that it meant that much at that time).
But the main thing is that he wasn’t just telling stories or writing poems. He was approaching it from a technical standpoint. Think about “The Raven.” I don’t think people remember it all these years later because of the story. There isn’t much of story to it. It’s just really, really disturbing. Certainly a part of it is the mystery. What is the loss that is being talked about? What happened to Lenore? Does it matter? And what’s with that menacing bird?
Anyway, here is Vincent Price performing the poem from a television special he did of Poe’s work: