An Exceptional Copy of the First Edition, in the Original Printed Wrappers, of The Raven and Other PoemsEdgar Allan Poe. The Raven and Other Poems. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845.
First edition. One of 750 copies printed. Octavo (7.5 x 5 inches; 190 x 125 mm.). [i-viii], -91, [1, blank], [4, publisher's advertisements], [8, publisher's advertisements] pages. Both groups of advertisements are titled: "New and Valuable Books, Published by Wiley and Putnam, 161 Broadway, N. Y." The first two leaves of advertisements are duplicates of the first and last leaves of the second group of advertisements.
Original printed tan wrappers. Title on front wrapper: "Wiley and Putnam's Library of American Books. / No. VIII. / The Raven and Other Poems." Rebacked in matching plain paper, with minimal restoration of the front and rear covers along the spine and edges (bottom edge almost untouched). Paper fill somewhat noticeable on small portions of the rear cover near the fore-edge and bottom edge. Approximately 5mm of the top and bottom edges of wrappers shaved. The wrappers are lightly toned, soiled and slightly rubbed. Minimal edge wear. One soft vertical crease running the length of the front wrapper in the middle of the page. Tiny closed tear to top edge of rear cover. Minor glue remnants to gutters of first and last leaves. Corners of half-title renewed. Edges mildly darkened. Tiny closed tear to top edge of page 29/30. Occasional very minor circular dampstain to fore-edge of a few leaves. Slight creasing to a few leaves. Otherwise, the text is exceptionally clean. An excellent copy. Housed in a green cloth chemise.
"First edition in original wrappers, published about November 15, 1845. In addition to the title poem, it contains, among others, 'The Conqueror Worm,' 'The Haunted Palace,' and the final and immeasurably superior version of 'To Helen.' ('Ulalume' and 'The Bells' were written later.) Also issued by the publishers with Poe's Tales in one volume; Charles F. Heartman thinks that this form is not before the middle of February, 1846...Poe's proof that his essay 'The Poetic Principle' does work in practice, and places no fetter on genius. The book was published at one of the low ebbs of his fortunes, when his Broadway Journal was about to expire, and is thus characterized by Poe's 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 the imagination" (Grolier, 100 American).
"The poem was an immense success, and was copied far and wide in all the newspapers of the country. Writing to F. W. Thomas, May 4, Poe says: '"The Raven" has had a great run, Thomas-but I wrote it for the express purpose of running-just as I did the "Gold Bug," you know. The bird beat the bug, though, all hollow.' This popularity was the poet's greatest reward, for we learn that the actual money remuneration was only ten dollars" (Grolier, 100 English).
The critic Edmund Clarence Stedman (in Poets of America (Boston: 1894), page 242) said of The Raven: Only genius can deal so closely with the grotesque, and make it add to the solemn beauty of structure an effect like that of the gargoyles seen by moonlight on the facade of Notre Dame. In no other lyric is Poe so self-possessed...Poe's raven is the very genius of the Night's Plutonian shore, different from other ravens, entirely his own, and none other can take its place. It is an emblem of the Irreparable, the guardian of pitiless memories, whose burden ever recalls to us the days that are no more."
BAL 16147. Grolier, 100 American, 56. Grolier, 100 English, 82.
Heartman and Canny, pp. 97-108. Streeter Collection 4193. See also, J. W. Robertson, Commentary on The Bibliography of Edgar A. Poe, pages 224-231.
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