New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1845. First edition. 2 volumes bound in one; first issue of The Raven and third issue of Tales without the typesetter's slug. Publisher's dark blue cloth stamped in blind and gilt. Tan endpapers. Minor chipping to spine ends, but generally a Near Fine, bright copy. Four pages of advertisements beginning with German Romance at the end of both works. Very minimal foxing throughout, more significantly to the center of the book's inner margins and the second work, which has a faint dampstain near the top page edges never affecting text. An exceptional copy of a rare and important work.
Considered the single most famous American poem, The Raven was also Poe's greatest masterpiece. Inspired by early lyrics written by the English poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to whom he dedicated the book, Poe composed a complex trochaic octometer to provide the poem with a hauntingly deranged musicality. Tapping into contemporary interest in sensational horror, Poe further drew together strikingly sensual images of a silk curtained chamber and a bust of Athena, atop which the Raven announced the death of Lenore with a single word: "Nevermore." Even before publication, Poe knew he had reached his literary pinnacle. To a friend he declared "I tell you it is the greatest poem ever written." It was true. Wiley & Putnam's release of The Raven paved the way for their publication of his other important works, including his Tales, a collection that introduced his pioneering detective fiction to a wider audience hungering for more from his dark mind. Near Fine (Item #4516)