It was his first publication under his own name, and still one of his best known. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was printed in the Evening Mirror, a newspaper in New York City.
It wasn’t instantly recognized as a classic – neither William Butler Yeats nor Ralph Waldo Emerson, fellow poets both – thought much of it. But it had a catchy rhyme scheme – AA,B,CC,CB,B,B – which is complex but not too complex. And there is, of course, that wonderful one word refrain…
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
The very archetype of the tortured artist, Edgar Allan Poe was a writer of phantasmagorical fictions, often featuring delirium, madness and grief as major ingredients. As such, he is basically the forefather of the entire gothic movement, especially that portion of it that drinks absinthe.
Aside from his work in horror – which is the majority of his work – he also wrote several early science fiction stories, and is generally credited with the invention of the modern detective story. His detective, C. Auguste Dupin, not only predates Sherlock Holmes, but rates an occasional mention by the Great Detective even in the original Doyle stories.
On October 3, 1849, Poe was found on the streets of Baltimore by one Joseph W. Walker. Upon discovering that Poe was in some form of delirium, Walker took him to a hospital. Poe died there four days later at 5 in the morning. The cause of his death, or even of the delirium that preceded it, is unknown. Poe never became coherent after Walker found him, and thus, it has never been determined how he came to be in that state. Moreover, all the hospital records pertaining to his death have been lost.