Poe’s Most Famous Works

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I love how “The Raven” begins. There have been many times when I would be lying awake, feeling the weight of the world, and I would think, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…” I often wondered what was the inspiration behind this particular poem.

“The Raven”, which was published in 1845, is now considered to be one of the greatest works of American literature ever written. It is certainly very well known. Most remember that the raven’s only word is “nevermore,” and that is generally the extent of the average person’s remembrance. This poem was written from a narrator’s point of view who is lamenting the loss of Lenore, his one and only true love. He is visited by the raven who insists “nevermore” repeatedly.

Common themes, such as death and loss, are explored by Poe in this popular poem, as they are in several other pieces of his literature.

“Annabel Lee” is a lyrical poem which also explores the themes of loss and death. It is believed that Poe wrote it in memory of his wife Virginia who had passed away just two years before. He never really seemed to recover from her loss. This is one of the poems that was written later in life as he continued to work in different styles. The poem definitely has a different sound than some of his other work. Unfortunately, Poe died two days before the poem was published in the New York Tribune.  

Again, one of our favorites is Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” This story is about a man who is overcome with guilt after killing an old man that he had recently become obsessed with. The narrator, who insists he is not crazy, watches the old man sleep every night for a week. He would act as though nothing was amiss the next day. For whatever reason, he decides to kill the old man instead of merely watching him. Unfortunately, the old man awakes and cries out. That is when he first hears the man’s heart beating. He is terrified that someone is going to hear the old man’s heart beating because it is so loud. Now, if you want to find out what happens next, you will need to read it yourself! You might not want to read it before bed, though!