The Raven in popular culture

The Raven in popular culture

Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" has been frequently referenced and parodied in contemporary culture. Immediately popular after the poem's publication in 1845, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Some consider it the best poem ever written.[1] As such, modern references to the poem continue to appear in popular culture.



  • Writer James Russell Lowell, a contemporary of Poe's, references "The Raven" and its author in his poem, A Fable for Critics: "Here comes Poe with his Raven, like Barnaby Rudge, / Three fifths of him genius, two fifths sheer fudge." This mention alludes to the belief that Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty inspired Poe to write "The Raven".[2]
  • In Edmund Clerihew Bentley's Trent's Own Case (1913), Trent, standing at an open French door and reciting the fifth stanza to himself, receives an unexpected reply:
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ..."
Will Elder's absurd illustrations of "The Raven", from Mad Magazine #9, March 1954.
  • In the magazine Mad issue 9 (March, 1954), "The Raven" is reprinted in full with absurd illustrations by Will Elder. Another parody appeared in a Mad collection, We're Still Using That Greasy MAD Stuff (1959). It was titled as "The Spaniel." Rather than "Nevermore," the author was bombarded with famous commercial taglines. A more recent parody in Mad by Frank Jacobs, titled "The Reagan", appeared in issue 265 (September 1986). Even more recently, the poem was used to parody horror movies, and how successful ones often have sequels made that are of low quality. The recurring line is, "Quoth Wes Craven, let's make more!"[3]
  • In the Donald Duck 10-pager "Raven Mad" by Carl Barks, published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #265 in 1962, Huey, Dewey and Louie play with a raven who can only say "Nevermore." As in the poem, the raven often repeats the word throughout the story.
  • "The Raven" has been the subject of constrained writing. Georges Perec's novel A Void (1969), written entirely without the letter 'E' in French and subsequently translated into English by Gilbert Adair under the same constraint, contains a full-length "translation" of "The Raven" entitled "Black Bird." It is attributed to "Arthur Gordon Pym."[4]
  • Mathematician Mike Keith has also referenced the poem in three examples of constrained writing:
    • "Near a Raven" is a reworking of Poe's poem in which the length of words correspond to the first 740 digits of pi (1995)
    • Cadaeic Cadenza, a longer work under the same constraint, begins with the full text of "Near a Raven" (1996)
    • "Raven-Two", a poetic anagram of the original (1999)
  • In Joan Aiken's novel Arabel's Raven (1972), as well as further books from the Arabel and Mortimer series, a young girl named Arabel has a pet raven named Mortimer who often says the word "Nevermore!" Aiken won an Edgar Award in 1972.
  • The Calvin & Hobbes collection "The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury" (released September 1988) contains an original illustrated poem, "A Nauseous Nocturne," which is clearly patterned after "The Raven."
  • In Stephen King's novel Insomnia (1994), Ralph compares an omen to the raven of the poem. The novel Black House (2001), written by King and Peter Straub, also features a talking crow reminiscent of the raven in Poe's poem.[5] Part III of the novel is entitled "Night's Plutonian Shore."
  • In Robin Jarvis's Tales from the Wyrd Museum trilogy (1995–1998), Woden has two raven servants named Thought and Memory. Memory is known as Quoth throughout the stories, and occasionally says "Nevermore".
  • In the seventh book of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Vile Village (2001), a tree in the center of the village covered with crows is called the "Nevermore Tree."
  • Neil Gaiman references "The Raven" in two of his works:
    • In the novel American Gods (2001), the protagonist, Shadow, asks one of Odin's ravens, "Hey, Hugin or Munin, or whoever you are. Say 'Nevermore.'" The raven responds, "Fuck you."[6]
    • The comic book series The Sandman features a raven named Matthew, who has been transformed into a raven as an alternative to death. At one point in the series, he flaps his wings and screams, "Nevermore!", only to explain that he was "being Peter Lorre in that one Roger Corman movie".
  • Level Ground Press and artist Bill Fountain published an illustrated re-imagining of "The Raven" in 2005. The book incorporates raven myths and legends from around the world into the visual interpretation of the story.
  • Holly Black quotes the poem in her 2005 novel Valiant : A Modern Tale of Faerie, alluding to it as the source for the name of the drug called 'Nevermore'. However, this is later contradicted, when one of the characters asserts that the name comes from the limitations of its use: "Never more than once a day, never more than a pinch at a time, and never more than two days in a row."
  • The fantasy novel The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde features a villainous character named Jack Schitt who is ultimately trapped inside a copy of "The Raven".
  • The first of the books based on the hit TV series Supernatural is called Nevermore. Poe is also very important for the rest of the book, as the murders that the main characters, Sam and Dean Winchester are investigating are reinactments of The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell-Tale Heart, respectively, and it all turns out to be part of a ritual to bring Poe back to life.


  • "The Raven" was recreated as a hallucination of Poe's in the 1915 silent film The Raven. A fictionalized biography, it starred Henry B. Walthall as Poe.
  • The 1935 film The Raven has Bela Lugosi as a Poe-obsessed doctor and costars Boris Karloff. The film has a interpretive dance of "The Raven".
  • In 1942, Fleischer Studios created a two-reel Technicolor cartoon based upon "The Raven" which turned the story of the poem into a lighthearted comedy.
  • A Bugs Bunny cartoon has Bugs reading a few lines from the poem, starting with the words, "While I nodded nearly napping".
  • In 1963, Roger Corman directed The Raven, a comedy very loosely based on the poem.
  • In the 1967 stop-motion film Mad Monster Party, Baron von Frankenstein tests his new potion on a raven, and lets it fly until it lands on a tree branch. Watching the resulting explosion, he says with a chuckle, "Quoth the raven... nevermore. Ah, I've done it -- created the means to destroy matter!"
  • The stop-motion short film Vincent (1982), by Tim Burton, features a protagonist named Vincent Malloy, whose "favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe." As Vincent lies, seemingly dying, at the end of the film, he quotes the final couplet of "The Raven".
  • In the 1983 film The Dead Zone, Christopher Walken (as a school teacher Johnny Smith) quotes "The Raven" to his class during a lesson.[7]
  • In the 1989 film Batman, Jack Nicholson (as The Joker) quotes "The Raven" to Kim Basinger's Vicky Vale when he says, "Take thy beak from out my heart."
  • Hannes Rall directed an animated, German-language version of The Raven (Der Rabe) in 1998.
  • In the 1994 film The Crow, Eric, the tragic main character, references "The Raven" before blowing up Gideon's pawn shop: "Suddenly, I heard a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. You heard me rapping, right?"
  • In the 2001 sequel Dr. Dolittle 2 starring Eddie Murphy, when Dolittle holds a meeting with all the animals about how Archie the bear can help save their forest, most of the animals walk away because Archie seems like an idiot who won't be of much help. An irritated raven flies away saying "Nevermore". [8]
  • The poem was translated to film by Trilobite Pictures and director Peter Bradley in 2003. The short film was released on DVD in 2005 by Lurker Films.
  • The film Nightmares from the Mind of Poe (2006) adapts "The Raven" along with three Poe short stories: "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Premature Burial".
  • In the 2005 film The Crow: Wicked Prayer the third sequel to The Crow, during the final battle between Jimmy and Luc, Jimmy tauntingly shouts "Quoth the raven nevermore, motherfucker!"
  • In the 2010 film The Expendables, numerous references are made to ravens and, obliquely, to "The Raven." The character played by Sylvester Stallone is in the process of getting a tattoo completed which features a raven, and the seaplane which his team travels in also features an oversize picture of a raven.


The Simpsons version of "The Raven" (3rd segment of the first Treehouse of Horror special): Homer cries out "Be that word our sign of parting."
  • The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror" parodies the poem in its third segment as Lisa reads the story to Bart and Maggie. In the animated segment, Homer serves as the protagonist, Bart takes the raven's form, Marge appears in a painting as Lenore and Lisa and Maggie are angels. Bart sometimes complains as to how the poem isn't scary, and at one point, being that he plays the raven says his catchphrase "Eat my shorts" instead of "Nevermore". Homer provides the spoken dialogue for the narrator; his thoughts are voiced by James Earl Jones. The story culminates (after the last two lines of stanza 17 are repeated again) with Homer chasing the Bart-raven around the study before the last stanza.
  • Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling, featured a brief, humorous story entitled "Quoth the Raven." It featured Poe, portrayed by Marty Allen, being constantly maligned by a talking raven (voiced by uncredited Mel Blanc) on a bust of Pallas as Poe is trying to write the original "Raven" poem.
  • Garfield and Friends parodied the poem in the form of a U.S. Acres short titled "Stark Raven Mad", in which Orson narrates, to the tune of the poem, guarding the harvest against Roy's attempts to steal it.
  • The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a sketch in which a Peter Lorre-esque Poe attempts to pitch his poem to Sammy Melman, who wants a brighter poem with a happy narrator and a bunny instead of a raven. This frustrates Poe to no end and eventually drives him to publish the poem independently. Later in the episode, in a sketch featuring Poe as a villain, the raven serves as his sidekick.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures parodies the poem, with the character Sweetie Pie playing the role of the raven while Vincent Price does the voice-over for the narrator.[9]
  • The Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain episode "The Ravin!" parodies the poem, with the Brain narrating and Elmyra using a phrase repetitively.
  • In the TV show The Addams Family, Morticia uses "The Raven" as a bed-time story to her son Pugsley, reciting it as a nursery rhyme. (Episode 1.2 "Morticia and the Psychiatrist", original air date: 25 September 1964)
  • The 1960s sitcom The Munsters featured a cuckoo clock with a wise-cracking raven (who had named himself "Charlie") instead of a cuckoo, which would emerge and say, "Nevermore, Nevermore" - usually as a comic foil for Herman Munster.
  • The animated series Beetlejuice featured Poe as one of the eccentric residents of the Nietherworld.
  • An episode of Teen Titans entitled "Nevermore" follows two of the main characters, Beast Boy and Cyborg, as they use a magical mirror to enter the mind of their friend Raven.
  • In the Gilmore Girls episode, "A Tale of Poes and Fire," "The Raven" is recited by two men dressed like Edgar Allan Poe for a Poe convention.
  • In episode 3 of season 4 of Alton Brown's Good Eats ("Fry Hard II: The Chicken") on Food Network, Brown's prologue to the episode shows him rummaging through his cookbooks ("forgotten lore") looking for chicken recipes accompanied by a voice-over of him reciting a parody of the first few stanzas of the poem, during which a plastic chicken, taking the raven's place, perched on the bust of Julia Child and repeatedly says "Fry some more".
  • The DuckTales character Poe De Spell is a raven who often says "nevermore".
  • The Gothic cartoon series Ruby Gloom based on the apparel franchise of the same name features three ravens named Edgar, Allan and Poe, with Poe being the most prominent.
  • In one episode of "Bullwinkle's Corner" from The Bullwinkle Show, the poem parodied is "The Raven". The bird which comes into Bullwinkle's "chamber spooky" is a woodpecker instead of the expected raven. Bullwinkle pursues the imposter bird with a fireplace poker and ends up hitting himself on the head. The narration concludes "Now the room is round me wavin'/ feels like I've been in a cave-in/ When will next I read "The Raven"?/I can tell you...nevermore!"
  • In the 11th episode (called 'Nevermore) of television series Warehouse 13, many Poe poems feature, including The Tell-Tale Heart and, of course, 'The Raven'.


  • The psychedelic band The Glass Prism released an album in 1969 entitled "Poe Through the Glass Prism," with the lyrics coming entirely from various poems by Poe. "The Raven" was the single from the album.
  • The Alan Parsons Project album Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) includes a song based on "The Raven" and entitled the same, but with only two verses.
  • A musical variation of "The Raven" was performed by the Grateful Dead during Space on April 19, 1982.
  • The black metal band Carpathian Forest used the first two verses of the poem for "The Eclipse / The Raven" on their EP Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods (1995).
  • The gothic metal band Tristania released a track titled "My Lost Lenore" on Widow's Weeds (1998). It is clearly inspired by this poem, but does not incorporate the poem as part of the lyrics. The entire album is in fact reminiscent of The Raven."The Ravens" is another song inspired by the poem, although its main theme is terrorism.
  • The German black metal band Agathodaimon quotes "The Raven" in the song "Les Posédes" on their 1999 album Higher Art of Rebellion.
  • A song based on "The Raven" appears on the Grave Digger album The Grave Digger (2003), alongside other songs based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Lou Reed's 2003 album The Raven is based on Poe's work, including his own version of The Raven in a song by the same name.
  • The song Kremlin Dusk, from Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru's English-language album Exodus (2004), begins "All along, I was searching for my Lenore/In the words of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe/Now I'm sober and "Nevermore"/Will the Raven come to bother me at home." It also refers to the "dying ember" line in the poem.
  • Seattle, Washington metal band Nevermore got its name from the repeated refrain in "The Raven". The band also referenced it in the title track from their 2005 album This Godless Endeavor.
  • The Dutch neoceltic pagan folk band Omnia put a slightly edited version of the poem to music as the second track on their 2007 album Alive!.
  • The American gothic horror band Nox Arcana released a CD entitled Shadow of the Raven in 2007. Three songs—"Midnight Dreary", "The Raven" and "Nevermore"—as well as the album's title, are direct references to the poem.
  • The German symphonic metal band Xandria included the quote "Thus spoke the raven, 'Nevermore'" in their song Ravenheart, which is inspired by the poem as well.
  • The Christian third-wave ska band Five Iron Frenzy quotes many of Poe's lines in "That's How The Story Ends", from The End Is Near, and alludes ironically to the mysterious and somber mood of "The Raven".
  • The song "Campanas en la Noche" ("Bells in the Night") by the Argentine rock band Los Tipitos, the tale of a man wishing for the return of his lover, is loosely based on the poem. This relationship is even more evident in the song's video, which features the bust of Pallas and the titular raven itself.
  • Rapper MC Lars released the track "Mr. Raven" on The Laptop EP, quoting some lines directly from the poem and modifying others (e.g. "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I kicked it weak and weary").
  • The Canadian artist Nash the Slash included an instrumental track called "Lost Lenore" on his vinyl album The Million Year Picnic.
  • Jean Sibelius allegedly based an early conception of his fourth symphony on "The Raven".[citation needed]
  • The Devil Wears Prada used a track of a man reading a part of "The Raven" as a part of an introduction to concerts during a 2008 tour with Underoath. The piece led into the ending breakdown in the song "Goats on a Boat"
  • The Dutch based hardstyle artist DJ Pavo released a track entitled "Raven", which quotes various lines from the poem.
  • Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra recorded an album of songs based on Poe's works. The album, "Poe for Moderns," includes a condensed, jazzy version of "The Raven."
  • The hip hop group CYNE included a track called "The Raven" on their 2009 album Water for Mars. The group paraphrases Poe's famous line in a few cynical lines (e.g. "Nevermore said the raven, goodbye to innocence").
  • Recording artist Natalia Kills released a Halloween inspired, abridged reading of the poem with backing from Space Cowboy (musician) for 2009. She then released a version with the full poem for 2010, with no backing from Space Cowboy or vocal effects, instead, there were sound effects to reflect the poem.


An 1890 political cartoon from Puck Magazine depicts The Raven as Secretary of State James G. Blaine watching President Benjamin Harrison.
  • Lord Buckley recorded a "hipsemantic" version of "The Raven" in 1956 ("It was a real drugged midnight... dreary.").
  • Computer scientist Guy L. Steele, Jr. wrote a parody entitled "The HACTRN" about a hacker haunted by a phantom process.[10]
  • The Raven Society, founded in 1904, is the University of Virginia's most prestigious honor society, combining requirements of high-level scholarship, service, leadership, and "promise of further advancement in the intellectual field." New members must supply a parody of the poem for initiation, which takes place in the room where Poe lived when studying at the University, now under the curatorship of the Society. The Society also maintains several other Poe sites, including the grave marker of his mother Eliza Poe in Richmond, Virginia.[11]
  • Professional wrestler Raven (Scott Levy) takes his stage name from the title of the poem, and often quotes from the poem in interviews, ending with "...Quoth the Raven...Nevermore..."
  • The comic strip Shoe ran a strip in which a large, strange, black bird was sitting at Roz's bar, uttering random words starting with "never-" or ending in "-more" (e.g., "Livermore!"; "Nevertheless!"), when one of the regular characters announced that the raven was bombed.
  • Poe lived in Baltimore for a considerable time and is buried there. Residents of the city elected to honor Poe by naming their National Football League team the Baltimore Ravens after the poem.[12] Furthermore, the three mascots for the team are three ravens, appropriately named "Edgar", "Allan" and "Poe." For many years, pre-game introductions of the Ravens' starting lineup would be preceded by a stanza from the poem, usually one which ended with the word "Nevermore," referring to the opposing team's putative inability to score when facing the powerful Raven defense. In 2000, when the Ravens were on their way to winning their first Super Bowl primarily on the strength of that record-setting defense, Chris Berman of ESPN's NFL PrimeTime would often punctuate highlights of the team's results that day by saying, "Quoth the Ravens, Never score!". Another example is the all-haiku 2008 NFL season preview of columnist Gregg Easterbrook (who often calls the team the "Nevermores" in his column), which reads: "Awk! No offense. Awk! / Quoth the raven: "No offense." / Bal-a-mer Ravens".[13]
  • In another PC game, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, if you find pieces of paper in the bottles while sailing, they will be automatically pieced together to form a passage from "The Raven", the one just before the raven appears. Certain letters in red will tell you to go to and dive to one of the sunken ships where the sharks are, and, using the metal detector from Johnny Rolle, you will find an Easter egg. This is also a reference of the next game, Warnings at Waverly Academy, as Corine mentions that she is a Poe fan, as well as Leela having the missing Poe book, "The Black Cat and Other Stories", which includes "The Raven" and other works, as well as the pendulum challenge, a reference of "The Pit and The Pendulum, which is also in Leela's book.
  • RavenCon, an annual science fiction convention in Richmond, Virginia, was named in honor of Poe, who grew up in Richmond.
  • In the game League of Legends, the champion Swain uses ravens for his attacks. He also has a spell called Nevermove.
  • The original version of Epcot's Journey Into Imagination included an open book with the shadow of the Raven in the Tales of Terror sequence.
  • A Penny Arcade comic[14] parodies the poem by making the raven say "Jersey Shore" as a comment on the ad supported Amazon Kindle.

See also


  1. ^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991. p. 237
  2. ^ "RE: Cremains / Ravens". Pro Exlibris archives. Retrieved 2007-04-01. [dead link]
  3. ^ Original issue unknown, source: "Greasy Mad Stuff"; compilation of various pieces from Mad, published by Signet, 1962. pp 132-133.
  4. ^ Perec, Georges. A Void. Translated by Gilbert Adair. London: The Harvill Press, 1995. p.108. ISBN 1-86046-098-4
  5. ^ "Back in 'Black' (2007) Stephen King and Peter Straub return to the shadows with the delightfully creepy Black House.".,,254673,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  6. ^ Gaiman, Neil. American Gods. Headline Review, 2005. p. 173 ISBN 0-7553-2281-9
  7. ^ "IMDB Memorable Quotes". 
  8. ^ "IMDB Memorable quotes for Dr. Dolittle 2". 
  9. ^ "Tiny Toon Adventures - Season 1 Episode 60 "How Sweetie It Is.". 
  10. ^ Computer songs and poems: The HACTRN
  11. ^ Raven Society
  12. ^ "Baltimore Ravens History". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2006-08-25. 
  13. ^ "TMQ's all-haiku NFL preview". Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  14. ^ "A Quaint And Curious Volume". 

External links

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