Mini-Review: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore….'” I must admit that this is my first real encounter with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I once read an abridged collection as a young lad, one of those Great Illustrated Classics with an illustration on every facing page. It didn’t really do much for me at the time, beyond leaving me slightly disturbed, but I recently found a free Kindle edition of Poe’s best-known work The Raven (*****) on Amazon complete with the original woodcut illustrations by Gustave Dore. I can’t say I completely understood the poem, but….wow. There’s a lyrical beauty to it, despite its hopelessness as the narrator descends into madness. It simply begs to be read aloud, preferably with as epic a voice as you can summon. Has anyone recorded Hugo Weaving reading this? I think I might pay money to hear that….

The poem is a narrative by a young student whose love has recently died. He is visited in the night by a raven that seems to speak, answering every question with the word “Nevermore” and eventually driving the young man to despair. There is a good deal of ambiguity here–is the raven real, or an early symptom of the narrator’s madness? If it is real, does it really speak? If it speaks, is it conscious of its meaning, or does it merely parrot back the only word in its repertoire? We don’t know, it’s up to your interpretation. If you’ve never read this, I urge you to. It’s free! If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon allows you to read it on your computer. If you have a strange aversion to Amazon for some reason, here’s the same thing from WikiSource! So read it already!

If you are reading this on a basic Kindle, the e-ink version, the illustrations won’t have their full effect due to their small size. If you follow the link above you can see the full-size versions…..

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Filed under Reviews, Short Stories

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