In January, BoingBoing featured a piece on the The Library of Congress scans of artwork from an original print of Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven."
These scans bring to vivid life one of Poe's most famous and beloved works. "The Raven" is a familiar tale of love, loss, mourning and insanity. It was no secret that Poe was something of a tortured individual, but his melancholy never stopped him from creatively and meticulously planning his works.
He was well-known for saying that writers should plan out their works ahead of time. In that respect he was a perfectionist and, like most writers, extremely critical of his own work. Whether or not one agrees with his belief that writers should always have a plan (or outline) before creating a story, poem or other written work, it is clear to see that "The Raven" is a great example of writing at its finest.
During the course of this classic poem, the narrator seems to be intentionally tortured by a pitiless raven, who constantly reminds the man that he'll never again see his lost love, Lenore. The raven itself is a common figure in mythology, usually as a messenger.
What really seems to make this poem stand out as a classic is how exceptionally it unites both narrative storytelling and rhyme. It might be said that even some epic poems of earlier ages failed to consistently hold both a strong narrative and flowing poetic rhyme throughout.
The haunting illustrations which accompany the manuscript, rendered by legendary French artist Gustave Doré, are as artistic and meticulous as the poem itself, and accentuate what was already a masterpiece on its own.