Gustave Doré and “The Raven”

Life’s a bit breakneck at the moment, but I’m pulling my head up out of the water just high enough to mention this:

Gustave Doré, whose spectacular illustrations for Don Quixote would be the absolute pinnacle of an amazing artistic career if he hadn’t ALSO DONE DANTE, produced 26 engravings for Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

They are, predictably, fantastic. But they’re also a bit different from some of his other works, as highlighted by OpenCulture’s post:

 Like all of his illustrations, the images are rich with detail, yet in contrast to his earlier work, particularly the fine lines of his Quixote, these engravings are softer, characterized by a deep chiaroscuro appropriate to the mood of the poem.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never—nevermore.”

So…maybe not the best stuff for someone’s who’s feeling a bit overwhelmed. But still, gorgeously dreary. Much like Poe, himself.

Project Gutenberg has the entire work, with links to all 26 of the images. And this “Dan Short” fellow’s got a bunch more at his site, which features extensive Doré galleries.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.

  • Ethan_C

    He also did really good ones for Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”.

    • Joseph Susanka

      Wow, Ethan. These are amazing. (Again, not terribly surprising, I suppose. But very, very gratifying.)

      • Ethan_C

        Glad I could introduce them to you! Seriously, if you know of any Dore illustrations that *aren’t* amazing, that would be news to me. :)

        • Joseph Susanka

          I’ve certainly never run across a single entry in the “Unimpressive Dore Engravings” category, Ethan. Part of what makes him so special.