“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary": Rare First Separate Edition of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven
Poe, Edgar Allan.
Item Number: 30064
New York: W. Jennings Demorest, C. 1866.
First separate American edition and very likely the true first separate edition. Small octavo, original cloth, blue endpapers. In very good condition with some rubbing to the extremities. Copies were issued in both cloth and wrappers. The Raven first appeared in the February 1845 issue of American Review, and subsequently its first publication as part of a collection was in November of the same year by Wiley and Putnam in The Raven and Other Poems. Although no publication date exists in this volume, based on the dates the publisher, W. Jennings Demorest, was in operation (1886 – 1870) it was evidently published before 1870, preceding the first noted separate American Edition published in 1884 by both Dutton and Harper as well as the first separate British edition published by the Library of Congress in 1885.
The Raven is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man's slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word "Nevermore". The poem makes use of a number of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references. Biographer Hervey Allen: The most important volume of poetry that had been issued up to that time in America… In this little volume the weary, wayworn wanderer had successfully reached his own native shore in the realm of imagination” (Grolier, 100 American 56). Poe considered “The Raven” to be his finest poem—indeed, he was quoted as saying it was the finest poem ever written.