Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

On January 29, 1845, readers of the New York Evening Mirror were treated to a narrative poem called "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.

The editor of the Mirror, Nathaniel Parker Willis, introduced the poem, calling it "unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent, sustaining of imaginative will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it."

Image: The Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore
Poe was paid nine dollars for its publication.

George Rex Graham, a friend and former employer of Poe's, had declined Poe's offer to be the first to print "The Raven." Graham said he didn't like it, but paid Poe $15.00 in charity. Graham made up for his poor decision by publishing Poe's essay, "The Philosophy of Composition" in Graham's American Monthly Magazine for Literature and Art, a year later.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Wilkie Collins

On this date in 1824, British novelist Wilkie Collins was born

T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as the first and greatest of English detective novels.

A quote from The Woman in White seems to have stood the test of time:

"There are foolish criminals who are discovered, and wise criminals who escape.  The hiding of a crime, or the detection of a crime, what is it?  A trial of skill between the police on one side, and the individual on the other. When the criminal is a brutal, ignorant fool, the police, in nine cases out of ten, win.  When the criminal is a resolute, educated, highly-intelligent man, the police, in nine cases out of ten, lose."

Click here for more Wilkie Collins quotes.