“Understandably distraught when his beloved cat Bob died in 1862, the writer was eager to keep a visual memory on his desk. One of Bob’s paws was promptly stuffed and adhered to an ivory blade, which was engraved “C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862.”
There is a picture of said letter opener via the link. I’m still not quite sure what I think about it, but it seems entirely like a Chaz thing to do. Didn’t he also have his pet raven stuffed as well?
Was just about to post this article! The Raven Grip was also stuffed, and is now on display at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department. It’s pretty creepy to see in person (they also have plenty of other Dickens-related holdings).
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)
A lovely little poetry animation just in time for Halloween! Edgar Allan Poe “reading” his classic THE RAVEN!
Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically. His intention was to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explains in the follow-up essay: “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett’s poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship”.
Still poor, Poe wrote a letter to the most admired young writer of the day, Charles Dickens, and asked for a meeting with Dickens, who was touring the country. Dickens agreed, and a conversation they had over lunch — in which Dickens confessed that his family had recently lost its beloved pet raven — changed American poetry forever.
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.