Each line of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven still has the power to send a chill down the spine.
Now Charles Dickens’ pet raven called Grip – the little known, real-life inspiration behind one of literature’s most terrifying poems – has been has been put on display to commemorate the author’s 200th birthday.
The bird, which Dickens has a taxidermist preserve, has been given pride of place in a new exhibition in Philadelphia’s public library.
The raven appeared as a minor character in Dickens’ book Barnaby Rudge, which Poe reviewed and criticised for the bird’s small role.
Four years later, in 1845, he penned his immortal and haunting poem The Raven.
It told of a talking raven visiting a distraught man whose lover had just died, arriving ‘as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door’. The paragraphs then trace the man’s slow descent into madness.
Somewhere around here I have an MP3 of me reading the Raven while I was sick and had a raspy voice …