We are permitted to copy (in advance of publication) from the 2d No. of the American Review, the following remarkable poem by EDGAR POE. In our opinion, it is the most effective single example of “fugitive poetry” ever published in this country; and unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent, sustaining of imaginative lift and “pokerishness.” It is one of these “dainties bred in a book” which we feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it.
The introductory text is presumed to have been written by Poe’s friend, Nathaniel Parker Willis.
Considerable discussion has been spent on the burning bibliographical question as to whether the present item, or that in the American Review, is technically the first publication of “The Raven.” Although the introductory note above states that the poem is being printed “in advance of publication,” magazines of that era were typically printed and sent out a week or more prior to the month of issue to ensure delivery. It is possible that this issue of the Evening Mirror did indeed appear just before the February issue of the American Review was available, but it is equally possible that the American Review for February was out on the street by mid-January. A copy of the January issue in the Gimbel Collection of the Philadelphia Free Public Library includes a printed note (“To the subcribers and friends of the ‘American Review’), presumably by the publishers and now bound as part of the volume, that the February issue would be available “early in January,” the January issue having actually been distributed in a preliminary form, as a way of soliciting subscribers for the new periodical, as early as November 1844.