Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Audubon's raven

my favorite Audubon's: 

The Raven

A bird not perched upon a pallid bust of Pallas above a chamber door but a hickory tree. This portrait came 12 years before the famous poem by Poe. John James Audubon knew better where to find them.

"Their usual places of resort are the mountains, the abrupt banks of rivers, the rocky shores of lakes, and the cliffs of thinly-peopled or deserted islands ... There, through the clear and rarefied atmosphere, the Raven spreads his glossy wings and tail, and, as he onward sails, rises higher and higher each bold sweep that he makes, as if conscious that the nearer he approaches the sun, the more splendid will become the tints of his plumage," writes Audubon, the naturalist, in his Ornithological Biography.

Why is Audubon relevant? Because in addition to his artistic talent, perseverance and derring-do, he was a d--- good naturalist. A lot of what we know today about birds, the audacious, yet often farouche, John James Audubon was the first to put in print.

And "from my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore /For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore/Nameless here for evermore," a poem by the same name, first published on this date in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.

The Raven by  Edgar Allan Poe read by American actor Christopher Walken.

1 comment:

Marie said...

They are truly lovely birds! I enjoyed the reading of The Raven also!