Edgar Allan Poe was an early 19th century American writer, who died young at the age of 40. He was mainly known for his gothic and/or horror style. Like many of us, I first read a selection of his work in a high school anthology. And that was the last time that I have read any of his work, which is all too common outcome. That brief high school “sampling” had no follow-up. Lo’ this half century later, I’ve been re-visiting many of the authors in that high school anthology.
And Kindle makes it so much easier, and in this case, acquiring “The Raven” was free. A few keystrokes, and the work is literally in your hands. Over 60% of this edition is the introduction! I found that another Amazon reviewer described my sentiments precisely. And as I write this, there is a charge of plagiarism in the media, specifically that one potential Republican “First Lady” cribbed her speech from another actual “First Lady.” Therefore, I’d like to give full credit to Billie Shoemate who called it an “…overly-long and drawn out windbag of an introduction…” and went on to briefly describe a high school teacher who put so many off from further reading of any author in the anthology. Skip the introduction.
As for the poem itself, it has a cadence that is appealing. And lines that many of us might still remember, since they have filtered into our popular culture, for example, the opening: “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.” The author is reading late at night, lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore, when the raven comes to his room. The lost opportunities of life are summed up by the raven with “nevermore.”
The poem itself is only 15% of this edition, with the remainder being a recap of the more famous lines (which is, to a large degree, a repeat of the poem itself!) One can read the poem itself, with reflection, in about 10-15 minutes, and I’d recommend doing just that, for the first time reader, or a repeater. Like Shoemate, think the poem deserves 5-stars, but will give this edition only 4-stars.