The Raven — a spooky treat

Posted on 2017 October 29

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the raven johnny-automatic-crow-flying [crop]

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” — Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American author who is arguably among the greatest writers of horror fiction. He also invented the detective novel and helped usher in science fiction. And he wrote poems.

Back in the day — long before radio, records, CDs, TV, the Internet, and streaming video — most entertainment was performed live, often by amateurs in their own homes. The piano (and not the TV-stereo) was the centerpiece of evening activities; singing, acting, story-telling, and reading aloud were common amusements after dinner.

Poe’s macabre tales — “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “A Descent into the Maelstrom”, “The Telltale Heart”, “The Premature Burial”, and others — provided endless hours of enthrallment. Yet it is a single poem, “The Raven”, that is perhaps Poe’s most famous work.

“The Raven” tells of a young man, mourning the death of his beloved, who is visited one cold night by an ebony bird that utters a single word relentlessly until the man loses his mind. The poem’s complex rhythms and interwoven themes — of longing, terror, and insanity — work their dark magic on our minds until we begin to wonder whether it is we who are going mad.

Every evening brings darkness (a “Plutonian shore”, as the poem puts it), and any night can be a good one for listening to “The Raven”. The story takes place in December, but whether it’s Halloween or a moonless summer’s eve, the tale will creep into your soul.

Please enjoy this recording of Poe’s “The Raven”, narrated by your blog host, Jim Hull.

THE RAVEN

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Posted in: Fiction, The Arts