The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
in a spectacular pop-up presentation by David Pelham and Christopher Wormell
If ever there was a poem that was made for reading aloud, it’s The Raven, Poe’s 1845 masterpiece of rhyme, metre and repetition. (I just adore the rhymes – ‘that is’ and ‘lattice’ in the 6th verse must have inspired Tom Lehrer…). But it begins thus:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
And now you can accompany reading it aloud to yourself or an audience with a wonderful pop-up book.
Pelham and Wormell have divided the poem into seven beautifully engineered Gothic spreads full of detail in every layer. Both are really experienced illustrators and paper engineers, having produced designs for over 100 books full of 3D, pop-ups, and flaps between them.
The portion of the text accompanying each of the pop-up spreads, folds out at one of the corners, sometimes two verses, sometimes three.
Here are photos of some of them to tempt you…
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more. (v7)
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” (penultimate verse)
This is so beautifully done. One for the Christmas list for sure and not just for kids, adults will love this too. Me? I just had to treat myself!
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Source: Own copy!
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe, pop-up presentation by David Pelham and Christopher Wormell (Abrams Books, 2016) Hardback, 14 pages.
7 thoughts on “‘Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’.’ …”
It looks absolutely beautiful! I loved The Raven (and I’m reading Poe at the moment). Have you listened to Basil Rathbone reading this – best version, in my view!
Ooh you sent me off to explore Youtube. You’re right Rathbone’s is the best by a mile. (Vincent Price – too hammy, Christopher Lee – too ponderous, Chris Walkern – good, loved the knitting). The only other one I really adored was The Simpsons with James Earl Jones. here.
The Simpsons version is brilliant too, and I’m so glad you like the Rathbone – his voice is just amazing and perfect for Poe. Although we think of him as Holmes nowadays, he was pretty good at baddies – he’s evil in “Love from a Stranger” (1937)
What fun! And perfect for Halloween. A friend and I memorized most of the poem in 8th grade (age 13). I can still remember a few stanzas, I think.
Pop Up Poe? Take my money!
I actually have a cd audio set of Poe’s stories narrated by the one and only Vincent Price which makes it 100 times more awesome.
Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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Well this is just great. Do you think pop-up The Raven is too scary for a tiny tiny baby? No, right? Tiny babies like morbid things! He’ll just hear rhythmic words and see interesting colors and shapes and he’ll love it. GREAT. GOOD AUNTING DECISIONS JENNY.
That is gorgeous. Such a find! The art is inspired.