The carefully preserved and stuffed raven named Grip — later the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem — is perhaps the quirkiest part of the Philadelphia public library’s valuable Dickens collection, now on display to celebrate his bicentennial.
Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, at the Free Library in Philadelphia for the first time seeing the family pet Grip, which Edgar Allan Poe appropriated for his masterpiece ‘The Raven.’
I visited the Free Library about a year ago to see Grip. Their rare books collection is really fascinating, and they have a number of other Dickens-related items, too. Definitely check it out if you’re in Philly!
How Dickens’s pet inspired Edgar Allan (and how that taxidermied bird ended up in Philly)
The raven was in a highly reflective state; walking up and down when he had dined, with an air of elderly complacency which was strongly suggestive of his having his hands under his coat-tails; and appearing to read the tomb-stones with a very critical taste. Sometimes, after a long inspection of an epitaph, he would strop his beak upon the grave to which it referred, and cry in his hoarse tones, “I’m a devil, I’m a devil, I’m a devil!” but whether he addressed his observations to any supposed person below, or merely threw them off as a general remark, is matter of uncertainty.
Excellent article about Dickens’ pet raven Grip, who inspired the raven in Barnaby Rudge and, most notably, Poe’s poem The Raven. The raven was preserved and is on display in the rare book dept. at the Free Library of Philadelphia.