The Raven is noted for its musicality, stylized language and supernatural atmosphere, it tells of the mysterious visit of a talking raven to a distraught lover, tracing his slow descent into madness. This illustrated version contains detailed, masterly engravings by Gustave Dorés, from a 19th-century edition of The Raven, among the most popular American poems ever written. Dreamlike, otherworldly illustrations perfectly capture the bleak despair and mournful musings of Poe’s poem. Includes an introduction/analysis by Edmund. C. Stedman.
The secret of a poem, no less than a jest’s prosperity, lies in the ear of him that hears it. Yield to its spell, accept the poet’s mood: this, after all, is what the sages answer when you ask them of its value. Even though the poet himself, in his other mood, tell you that his art is but sleight of hand, his food enchanter’s food, and offer to show you the trick of it,—believe him not. Wait for his prophetic hour; then give yourself to his passion, his joy or pain. “We are in Love’s hand to–day!” sings Gautier, in Swinburne’s buoyant paraphrase,—and from morn to sunset we are wafted on the violent sea: there is but one love, one May, one flowery strand. Love is eternal, all else unreal and put aside. The vision has an end, the scene changes; but we have gained something, the memory of a charm. As many poets, so many charms. There is the charm of Evanescence, that which lends to supreme beauty and grace an aureole of Pathos. Share with Landor his one “night of memories and of sighs” for Rose Aylmer, and you have this to the full.