Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven 1845

For this assignment I’ve chosen ‘The Raven’, by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1845. The Raven is a poem that was released alongside a series of poems -though it is a poem, it’s fairly lengthy, so here I have reimagined it as an independent release. The poem tells the story of a distraught man who is tormented by a raven at his window in the night; he realizes that the raven can speak and he begins to ask questions that have been troubling him.

My cover for 'The Raven', Edgar Allan Poe
My cover for ‘The Raven’, Edgar Allan Poe

 

My initial attraction to this poem comes from its original visuals which were done by Eduard Manet. Edgar Allan Poe had commissioned Manet to do a series of lithographs to accompany the poem, which were minimalist and mono print. These lithographs inspired my visuals and my chosen monochromatic aesthetic as well.

Manet Lithograph
Manet Lithograph
Manet Lithograph
Manet Lithograph
Manet Lithograph
Manet Lithograph

 

My design choices were both inspired by Manet’s visuals and informed by historical accuracy. I first scalped a Lino print and used that as a basic bottom layer, and then I filled in some details by hand, and digitalized the image in order to add the text. I don’t have access to lithography right now, but I was trying to recreate an image that somewhat resembled a lithograph as I imagined that for the cover of a book like this a lithograph would be very suitable. The reason that I’d used a monochromatic colour scheme is not only because I was inspired by Manet, but because historically, in 1845, it would not be likely to have a coloured lithograph -which was the visual aesthetic I was trying to recreate. We learned in the first portion of lecture number 3 that lithography with colour did not come to Europe until about 1855- 10 years after this poem was published. European artists had not yet come in contact with Japanese woodblock print which was the inspiration to print lithographs in colour. The lettering I’d chosen may not be exactly what I was searching for, though the font for ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ I’m a little more happy with. I was looking for a font that somewhat resembled the humanist lettering practiced in France and England in the late 1700’s. I thought that it would be likely to have something like this in a lithograph as it would have to be done by hand so the famous Didot lettering that may have been popular in France during the time of the French artist Eduard Manet may not have been an option for a book like this. I also find that the seriousness and bold quality to this type of lettering suits the poem, as well as the monochromatic minimalistic visual. It does not attempt to tell any more of the story than what is given in the poem, leaving it still to the imagination when reading.

 

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