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Friday, January 30, 2015

“The Raven” Turns 170

Written by Jon Williams

As noted on our Twitter feed, yesterday marked the 170th anniversary of the first publication of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “The Raven,” for my money one of the finest examples of poesy in the English language. The long narrative poem tells the tale of a man lamenting for his lost love to a raven that he has inadvertently let into his home. Appearing first in the New York Evening Mirror on January 20, 1845, the poem is a delight in print, but for the musicality of the language, it must be heard aloud for the full effect. One such performance can be found on Select Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, narrated by Chris Lutkin.

That audiobook also features eleven other classics from Poe, the others being pieces of his short fiction rather than poetry. Several of them are classic examples of the style that has led to Poe being known as the “Master of Macabre,” like “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado.” As much as he is associated with the horror genre, though, that was by no means the only trick in his bag. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” contains some grisly details, but it’s most notable for being the first modern detective story. So although this sometimes gets lost, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle owes as much to Poe as does someone like, say, Stephen King (who, in truth, is another writer associated with the horror genre that writes in a number of styles).

Classic literature never goes out of style or favor, of course, but merely sits on the shelf and patiently waits to be discovered by new generations of readers and/or listeners. And that’s why Dreamscape Media, publishers of the aforementioned Poe title, is producing a line of classic titles on audiobook with new recordings that will appeal to longtime literature lovers and first-time listeners alike. This includes such beloved favorites as A Christmas Carol and other Christmas stories from Charles Dickens, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and a number of other Oz stories from L. Frank Baum, to name just a few.

And that’s not all. Along similar lines, Dreamscape is also putting together narrations of historical texts. These include Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee as well as Letters from Lee’s Army, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (plus another edition that also includes the Gettysburg Address).

Needless to say, titles like these can add a great deal of value to your audiobook collection while enriching the lives of your patrons. SmartBrowse ‘Dreamscape Classics’ on our website for more new recordings of literature’s canon, or search for any other must-have titles you need for your collection.

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