parody of "The Raven" (do not know author) : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

My husband remembers a very witty parody of "The Raven" but doesn't remember the author. Do you have any information about this? Thanks

-- Anonymous, August 16, 2002

Answers has some versions of this most parodied of all poems. You need to provide more information if you can't find it there or among the early historic parodies that came out shortly after "The Raven" hit the presses.

-- Anonymous, August 16, 2002

Some words about the parody

Such criticisms only make the author of them contemptible, without soiling a plume in the cap of his victim. You have selected this poem of Mr. Poe's, for illustrating my remarks, because it is recent, and must be familiar to all the lovers of true poetry hereabouts. It is remarkable for its power, beauty, and originality, (out upon the automaton owl that has presumed to croak out a miserable parody and shows more forcibly than any which I can think of, the absurdity and shallowness of this kind of criticism. One word more, though acquainted with Mr. Brookfield, I have never seen Mr. Snowdown --, nor do I even know in what part of the country he resides; and I have no acquaintance with Mr. Pym. I have written what I have written from no personal motives, but simply because, from my earliest reading of reviews and critical notices, I have been disgusted with this wholesale mangling of victims without rhyme or reason. I scarcely remember an instance where the resemblances detected were not exceedingly far-fetched and shadowy, and only perceptible to a mind pre-disposed to suspicion, and accustomed to splitting heirs.

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2002

A very clever answer from Mr Bill Carson, indeed; and an excellent (scholarly) joke! Perhaps necessary to precise that this note is, almost verbatim, token (purloined?) from the "Outis" letter hoax published in the New York "Evening Mirror" to prolong Poe's polemical "war" against Longfellow and other plagiarists into the columns of the "Broadway Journal" in the early months of 1845, at the time he was just beginning his editorial job for this weekly literary paper. Many arguments(*) --most of them detailed by B. R. Pollin-- prove that this anonymous letter was really written by Poe himself; and so have we, through Mr Carson's intervention (thanks, Mr Carson), Poe's own opinion about parodies. Note that Poe was, on several occasions, rather ambiguous about such "jeux d'esprit", e.g. his (feigned?) attack against some of W. Lord's poems which, though really intended to as parodies of some of his (Poe's) verses, he (Poe) feigned to receive as mere plagiarism... Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium). (*) To my mind, the strongest argument in favor to Poe as the real author of the "Outis" letter, is found within the very words "...this wholesale mangling of victims..." used, at the same period, in "Some Words with a Mummy", just like an avowed, though veiled, signature. P.S. J. H. Ingram, a British worshipper- editor of Poe, wrote a study on "The Raven" in 1885, including many parodies. Perhaps ,herein, the lines you are asking for?

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2002

Some more information about the "KA" and the "flying angel"

The ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. Contradictions, however, existed side by side in their belief regarding the afterworld. They thought that the dead lived on in the tomb. At the same time they thought of the dead as having gone to a blessed afterworld in some far-distant place. Such inconsistency did not disturb the Egyptians: they provided for both. In no other civilization have such elaborate preparations for the afterlife been made in the preservation of the dead.

When an Egyptian was born, an invisible corporeal "twin," known as "ka," was born with him. The ka was something of a protecting genius or guardian angel, although his most useful functions were not performed during life but in the afterworld. As long as one was with his ka, he was among the living. When one lost his ka, he died. The ka did not die, but waited for the deceased in the afterworld where the two were united to live in happiness forever.

In addition to his body and his ka, an Egyptian had a soul, which flew away at death. The soul was thought of as a human-headed bird with the face of the deceased. During life the soul had resided within the body--probably in the belly or in the heart--but after death it flew freely about the world, taking refuge in the tomb at night, when evil spirits might be about. But in order to find the right tomb, it was necessary that the soul be able to recognize the body from which it had come. Hence the body of the deceased was preserved in the best possible way--it was mummified.

The word "mummy" is not of Egyptian origin, but is derived from the Arabic mumiyah, which means "body preserved by wax or bitumen." This term was used because of an Arab misconception of the methods used by the Egyptians in preserving their dead. The actual process of embalming as practiced in ancient Egypt was governed by definite religious ritual. A period of seventy days was required for the preparation of the mummy, and each step in the procedure was co-ordinated with relevant priestly ceremonies. The embalmers' shop might be a fixed place, as in the case of those connected with the larger temples. Often, however, it was a movable onersometimes a tent--which could be set up near the home of the deceased.

-- Anonymous, August 21, 2002

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