High-rez scan of Poe's "Raven," illustrated by Dore

The Library of Congress's website hosts a high-resolution scan of a rare edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" illustrated by Gustave Doré. The title-page is at page 11, the list of illustrations is on page 14.

The illustrations are amazing, like no other illustrated Poe I've seen. I've collected my favorites below, and there are a lot of them -- honestly, it was impossible to choose.

The Raven / by Edgar Allan Poe ; illustrated by Gustave Doré ; with comment by Edmund C. Stedman. (via Reddit)

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  1. Whoa! Thanks, Cory, great find.

  2. KipTW says:

    In case it's not obvious to anyone visiting the LC site to prospect for the art, you can select 'higher quality images' and then even 'highest.' The pixel size of the higher-quality JPEG and the highest-quality TIFF is the same, but the file size of the TIFF is so darn big — 36MB instead of about 3MB — it must be better! (Yeah, I know. Compression. The big JPEG doesn't look at all bad, though — not seeing any artifacts at 100% size.)

    It's a little tedious to navigate. You have to go to a particular page and then choose the size. To save time, increment the filename in your browser, changing /0025v.jpg to /0026v.jpg, and so on. (I think DownloadHelper is the extension I use in Firefox to make this process easier — just hit a plus sign in a toolbar, and then 'SAVE' and repeat for the next.)

    There are a lot of blank pages. I doubt you'll want all of them.

    If you want the high-res, though, you'll need to click through to LC. The ones in the article are the 'q' JPEGs. For instance, here's the URL of the first illustrated page (from which you can choose the larger scans):

    The big JPEG URL of that page (with a word after it so that it doesn't display as an embedded image):

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/rbc/rbc0001/2003/2003gen37813/0011v.jpg word

    The big TIFF URL of the same page (ditto):

    http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/rbc/rbc0001/2003/2003gen37813/0011.tif word

    The pictures are beautifully melodramatic and drenched in emotion. I can imagine stage actors studying the poses to use for their own swooning scenes, and silent movie actors picking them up from the stage actors (if indeed Doré didn't get them from stage actors to begin with). I suppose Poe's point was that the narrator was such a weed, once he knew this talking bird could say just one word, he'd only ask it questions whose answers would dash his frail hopes on the rocks of despair — an early example of martyrbation, and one of the best.

    Apologies for all the words. I know it's not always easy to skip words, due to a common hardwired brain belief that there must be a pony in there somewhere. No pony. Also, I ate the plums.


  3. I had these illustrations in some children's compilation I had as a kid. I was *terrified of them, but so loved the poem that I'd put a piece of paper over the illustration while I read that page. Never knew they were Dore.

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