Friday, October 31, 2008

Raven Spoke

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), American poet, critic, short story writer, and author

"Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven,
wandering from the nightly shore.
Tell me what thy lordly name is
on the Night's Plutonian shore. "
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

First published in 1845 in the New York Mirror, the poem 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe tells the story of the lost Lenore, the rare and radiant maiden.

Rev. George Gilfillan, a contemporary literateur of Rev. Rufus Griswald, Poe's literary executor, declared Poe hastened his wife's death to write the poem. The Reverends and Poe waged bitter war with politeness, justice, and truth on the side of Poe.

The first publication of "The Raven" on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror made Poe widely popular in his lifetime. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated. Though some critics disagree about the value of the poem, it remains one of the most famous ever written.

Poe is now considered the father of the modern detective story and highly lauded as a poet.

No aspect of his life has so fascinated Poe's fans and detractors as his death. Unfortunately, there is also no greater example of how badly Poe's biography has been handled. Shrouded in opinion and contradiction, the essential details of Poe's final days leave us with more questions than answers. In the end we must accept that the few tantalizing facts we have lead to no certain conclusion. Poe's death must, probably, remain a mystery -- but the puzzle still teases and entices us. It is easy to find ourselves reviewing the stories again in hopes of finding something new, to settle the question once and for all.

Adding to the mystery surrounding Poe's death, an unknown visitor affectionately referred to as the "Poe Toaster" has paid homage to Poe's grave every year since 1949. As the tradition has been carried on for more than 50 years, it is likely that the "Poe Toaster" is actually several individuals; however, the tribute is always the same. Every January 19, in the early hours of the morning, the man makes a toast of cognac to Poe's original grave marker and leaves three roses.

Members of the Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore have helped in protecting this tradition for decades.

"Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore — Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

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