The Raven Essay

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Dana Gioia is a poet and critic. His books include The Gods of Winter, 1991, and Can Poetry Matter? Gioia notes that "The Raven, " at one time deemed "the most popular lyric poem in the work," has nonetheless been repeatedly maligned by leading critics. In the following essay, Gioia attempts to explain the poem's universal and timeless appeal.

From the moment of its first publication in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845, "The Raven" has been a famous poem. It caused an immediate national sensation and was widely reprinted, discussed, parodied, and performedcatapulting its penurious and dejected thirty-sixyear-old author into celebrity. The poem was soon translated into many European languages, most notably by the French Symbolist poet Stephane Mallarme, who insisted on using prose because French could not recreate the original's verbal magic. By 1885 one American critic could plausibly call Poe' s work "the most popular lyric poem...

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This section contains 1,566 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Raven Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Raven from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.