Teaching Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in Context

Thursday, November 1, 2012
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Eliza Richards
Professor of English and Comparative Literature
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

Edgar Allan Poe is a perennial classroom favorite. His heavy reliance on rhyme, for which his contemporaries labeled him “the jingle man,” makes his poems appealing curiosities to students, and his tales, with their demented narrators, are an endless source of cheap thrills. But is there more to Poe than sound and fright? What can he tell us about nineteenth century American culture, and how can the context in which he wrote illuminate his art?

This seminar will address these questions through close reading of his widely taught poem “The Raven.” Explore the culture of sentiment and mourning that gave us both the talking bird and the lost Lenore.

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Assigned Readings

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Biographical Timeline
  2. "The Raven," by Edgar Allan Poe
  3. Audio recording: listen online or download for later use.

  4. Contextualizing Documents

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Seminar Recording