Monday, January 29, 2007

Today in History: "The Raven" first published

On January 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" was first published in the New York Evening Mirror:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

"The Raven" has been big in American popular culture, including a number of parodies (of varying quality). My favorite re-doing: "Near a Raven," a version that remains faithful to the original while being a mnemonic device for the number pi (3.14159...) to an amazing 740 places.