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Poe's 'The Raven' Was Originally a Parrot

I

Infrarednexus

Guest
Greetings feathered friend enthusiasts and poetry lovers. I have rather entertaining findings for you!

*Taken from the link below and posted for reading convenience*

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1949) penned his most famous poem, The Raven, in his 30s. Originally, the poem's feathered subject was a bit....flamboyant.
By his mid-30s, Edgar Allan Poe was not only weary by the hardships of poverty, but also regularly intoxicated — by more than just macabre visions. Despite this, the Gothic writer lucidly insisted that there was still a method to his madness when it came to devising poems.

In an essay titled 'The Philosophy of Composition', published in 1846 in Graham's Magazine, Poe divulged how his creative process worked, particularly in regard to his most famous poem: "No one point in [The Raven's] composition is rerferrible either to accident or intuition… the work proceeded step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem."

That said, contrary to the popular idea that Edgar Allan Poe penned his poems in single bursts of inspiration, The Raven did not pour out from his quivering quill in one fell swoop. Rather it came about through a calculative process — one that included making some pretty notable changes, even to its avian subject.

As an example of how his mind worked, Poe describes in his essay that the bird that originally flew across the dreary scene immortalized in the poem was actually… a parrot.

Poe had pondered ways he could have his one word refrain, "nevermore", continuously repeated throughout the poem. With that aim, he instantly thought of a parrot because it was a creature capable of uttering words. However, as quickly as Poe had found his feathered literary device, he became as concerned with the bird's flamboyant form as its important function.

And as it turns out, the parrot, a pretty resplendent bird, did not perch so well in Poe's mind because it didn't fit the mood he was going for — melancholy, "the most legitimate of all the poetical tones." In solving this dilemma in terms of imagery, he made adjustments to its plumage, altogether transforming the parrot by bestowing it with a black raiment.

The details of the poem — including the bird's appearance — needed to all blend together, like a recipe, to bring out the somber concept he was trying to convey: The descent into madness of a bereaved lover, a man lamenting the loss of a beautiful woman named Lenore. With that in mind, quoth the parrot — "nevermore" just doesn't have the same grave effect.

bigthink.com: Originally Poe envisioned a parrot, not a raven

 
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MadKiyo

Imma bat in yer rafters
Just think; if he did settle with the parrot, he likely wouldn't be well-known, but still one of the only people to publish a poem that includes a parrot of all creatures.
 

Cannabiskitty

To Kill the Child; to Set the Adult Free
Nice bit of trivia. Never heard that one before but i guess in retrospect it seems obvious because parrots are well known for being able to mimic though I'm fairly certain that ravens can as well if their tongues are split or something or rather... I dont remember.
 

Shadow of Bucephalus

Banned
Banned
Greetings feathered friend enthusiasts and poetry lovers. I have rather entertaining findings for you!

*Taken from the link below and posted for reading convenience*

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1949) penned his most famous poem, The Raven, in his 30s. Originally, the poem's feathered subject was a bit....flamboyant.
By his mid-30s, Edgar Allan Poe was not only weary by the hardships of poverty, but also regularly intoxicated — by more than just macabre visions. Despite this, the Gothic writer lucidly insisted that there was still a method to his madness when it came to devising poems.

In an essay titled 'The Philosophy of Composition', published in 1846 in Graham's Magazine, Poe divulged how his creative process worked, particularly in regard to his most famous poem: "No one point in [The Raven's] composition is rerferrible either to accident or intuition… the work proceeded step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem."

That said, contrary to the popular idea that Edgar Allan Poe penned his poems in single bursts of inspiration, The Raven did not pour out from his quivering quill in one fell swoop. Rather it came about through a calculative process — one that included making some pretty notable changes, even to its avian subject.

As an example of how his mind worked, Poe describes in his essay that the bird that originally flew across the dreary scene immortalized in the poem was actually… a parrot.

Poe had pondered ways he could have his one word refrain, "nevermore", continuously repeated throughout the poem. With that aim, he instantly thought of a parrot because it was a creature capable of uttering words. However, as quickly as Poe had found his feathered literary device, he became as concerned with the bird's flamboyant form as its important function.

And as it turns out, the parrot, a pretty resplendent bird, did not perch so well in Poe's mind because it didn't fit the mood he was going for — melancholy, "the most legitimate of all the poetical tones." In solving this dilemma in terms of imagery, he made adjustments to its plumage, altogether transforming the parrot by bestowing it with a black raiment.

The details of the poem — including the bird's appearance — needed to all blend together, like a recipe, to bring out the somber concept he was trying to convey: The descent into madness of a bereaved lover, a man lamenting the loss of a beautiful woman named Lenore. With that in mind, quoth the parrot — "nevermore" just doesn't have the same grave effect.

bigthink.com: Originally Poe envisioned a parrot, not a raven


So VERY cool!
When I was in H.S., and we studied 'English Literature'?
I hated it, with a passion bordering on homicidal...
Like so many other things 'Taught' in the schools I attended, there was never any reference or back-story to EXPLAIN wth we were studying. Poetry either intrigues you, or bores the ever-lovin'-SHIT outta ya, esp. if you have nothing with which to base it on YOUR reality. (not being selfish here, just relating one perspective).
Always loved reading. Voraciously! I'd cover just about every genre I could lay my grubby hands on, from the public libraries around us (Summer Vacation? 3 boring months of NOTHING, yeah... Lotsa books, mahn! lol ), to magazines and such.

The 'Classics'? Poe, Shakespeare, and who can ignore Walt! (Breaking-Bad/Dead Poet's Society for the WIN!)...

Now that I'm ancient, and can 'Reflect' back on life?

I have a much better appreciation for these sorts o' 'Classics', and thankfully, did NOT surrender the many books I've collected over the years.
These cold winter months, and my being mostly an indoorsy/hermit type, gives me lotsa time to re/read these tomes.

Thanks for sharing the info. with us!

Funny, now I'm hearing a knocking at my door? ::scampers-off to investigate... ::
 
Nice bit of trivia. Never heard that one before but i guess in retrospect it seems obvious because parrots are well known for being able to mimic though I'm fairly certain that ravens can as well if their tongues are split or something or rather... I dont remember.
Raven's can just do it if raised and trained right.
 
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