Tonight, for the next in our 5th annual “Spooky Sleep Story Series”, we shall read the narrative poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1845.
The poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a distraught lover who is paid a mysterious visit by a talking raven. The lover, often identified as a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further antagonize the protagonist with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore".
By the way, “a bust of Pallas” refers to a sculpture of Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. The fact that the narrator has one in his bedroom represents his interest in learning and scholarship, and also can be taken as representing his own rational, sane mind. The Raven, by landing on the bust when it flies into the room, signifies a threat to the narrator’s ability to understand the reasons (if any) behind the Raven’s coming and its message. That the Raven stays on top of the bust of Pallas at the end of the poem, never flitting, suggests that irrationality has taken up a permanent home in the narrator’s formerly rational mind.
Poe claimed to have written the poem logically and methodically, with the intention to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes. The poem makes use of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references. Its publication made Poe popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. It remains one of the most famous poems ever written.
Tune in every Wednesday this month for sleep stories of the darker variety- like classic horror literature and ghost stories, read in a way to evoke a mood of spookiness, without actually causing a fright. Catch up on previous years by finding our free podcast “Snoozecast Presents: Spooky Stories” or if you are a premium subscriber, look for “Snoozecast+” or “Snoozecast+ Deluxe: Spooky Stories” instead to listen ad-free.