In eighth grade I sucked at life. Even more than I do now. In English class the delightful* Lady Finnegan's teachings went in one ear and out the other. Honestly, I still don't really, truly know what an adverb is. I mean that sincerely.
Interestingly, of all the classics we read that year the only story that I remember engaging with on any real intellectual level was Ambrose Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. I read it several times. Thinking back to adolescent me, that attraction makes a lot of sense. But Hart Crane, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, much like the adverb lesson, went in one ear and out the other. I was not ready for them. So, in what is far from my first attempt to bridge the chasm in my knowledge of early American literature, I picked up Melville's Complete Shorter Fiction and Poe's Complete Stories and Poems at the library. I will read them both incompletely.
Incidentally, today is the 163rd anniversary of the first publication of "The Raven" in the New York Evening Mirror. Happy Birthday, Raven! What? What's that you say? You say, "Nevermore." Oh you incorrigible Raven!
"The Raven" performed by the incomparable Vincent Price
Spectator review of a new Poe biography
Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia
I knew about the Baltimore Ravens...
...but I had no idea about the mascots.