Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" has been frequently referenced and parodied in contemporary culture. Immediately popular after the poem's publication in 1845, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Some consider it the best poem ever written. As such, modern references to the poem continue to appear in popular culture.
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ..."
Will Elder's absurd illustrations of "The Raven", from Mad Magazine #9, March 1954.
In the magazine Mad issue 9 (March 1954), "The Raven" is reprinted in full with absurd illustrations by Will Elder. Another parody appeared in a Mad collection, We're Still Using That Greasy MAD Stuff (1959). It was titled as "The Spaniel." Rather than "Nevermore," the author was bombarded with famous commercial taglines. A more recent parody in Mad by Frank Jacobs, titled "The Reagan", appeared in issue 265 (September 1986). Even more recently, the poem was used to parody horror movies, and how successful ones often have sequels made that are of low quality. The recurring line is, "Quoth Wes Craven, let's make more!"
Sections of "The Raven" are quoted in Hubert Selby Jr's 1964 novel Last Exit to Brooklyn. In the story entitled "The Queen is Dead" the lead character, Georgette, reads the poem aloud to her acquaintances.
In Joan Aiken's novel Arabel's Raven (1972), as well as further books from the Arabel and Mortimer series, a young girl named Arabel has a pet raven named Mortimer who often says the word "Nevermore!" Aiken won an Edgar Award in 1972.
The Calvin & Hobbes collection "The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury" (released September 1988) contains an original illustrated poem, "A Nauseous Nocturne," which is clearly patterned after "The Raven."
In Stephen King's novel Insomnia (1994), Ralph compares an omen to the raven of the poem. The novel Black House (2001), written by King and Peter Straub, also features a talking crow reminiscent of the raven in Poe's poem. Part III of the novel is entitled "Night's Plutonian Shore."
Drew Hayes's illustrated poem The Crow, is an adaptation of "The Raven", telling the story of the separation of the main character of the comic book Poison Elves, Lusiphur, and his wife, the sorceress Hyena'. B&W version in Mythography #1, an anthology book also featuring work from other independent comics creators, Bardic Press, 1996. Color version in Poison Elves Color Special, Sirius Entertainment, December 1998
Neil Gaiman references "The Raven" in two of his works:
In the novel American Gods (2001), the protagonist, Shadow, asks one of Odin's ravens, "Hey, Hugin or Munin, or whoever you are. Say 'Nevermore.'" The raven responds, "Fuck you."
The comic book series The Sandman features a raven named Matthew, who has been transformed into a raven as an alternative to death. At one point in the series, he flaps his wings and screams, "Nevermore!", only to explain that he was "being Peter Lorre in that one Roger Corman movie".
Level Ground Press and artist Bill Fountain published an illustrated re-imagining of "The Raven" in 2005. The book incorporates raven myths and legends from around the world into the visual interpretation of the story.
Holly Black quotes the poem in her 2005 novel Valiant : A Modern Tale of Faerie, alluding to it as the source for the name of the drug called 'Nevermore'. However, this is later contradicted, when one of the characters asserts that the name comes from the limitations of its use: "Never more than once a day, never more than a pinch at a time, and never more than two days in a row."
The fantasy novel The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde features a villainous character named Jack Schitt who is ultimately trapped inside a copy of "The Raven".
In 1942, Fleischer Studios created A Cartoon Travesty of The Raven. A two-reel Technicolorcartoon based upon "The Raven" which turned the story of the poem into a lighthearted comedy.
A Bugs Bunny cartoon, No Parking Hare, has Bugs reading a few lines from the poem, starting with the words, "While I nodded nearly napping". The comic he reads them from is stated as "Poe's Kiddie Comics".
In the 1967 stop-motion film Mad Monster Party, Baron von Frankenstein tests his new potion on a raven, and lets it fly until it lands on a tree branch. Watching the resulting explosion, he says with a chuckle, "Quoth the raven... nevermore. Ah, I've done it -- created the means to destroy matter!"
The stop-motion short filmVincent (1982), by Tim Burton, features a protagonist named Vincent Malloy, whose "favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe." As Vincent lies, seemingly dying, at the end of the film, he quotes the final couplet of "The Raven".
Hannes Rall directed an animated, German-language version of The Raven (Der Rabe) in 1998.
In the 1994 film The Crow, Eric, the tragic main character, references "The Raven" before blowing up Gideon's pawn shop: "Suddenly, I heard a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. You heard me rapping, right?"
In the film The Pagemaster, when Richard and his books enter Dr. Jekyll's mansion and the door closes behind them, a raven flies down past them and says "Nevermore" as it does so.
In the 2001 sequel Dr. Dolittle 2 starring Eddie Murphy, when Dolittle holds a meeting with all the animals about how Archie the bear can help save their forest, most of the animals walk away because Archie seems like an idiot who won't be of much help. An irritated raven flies away saying "Nevermore".
The poem was translated to film by Trilobite Pictures and director Peter Bradley in 2003. The short film was released on DVD in 2005 by Lurker Films. As of 2012, the full film can be viewed online.
In the 2005 film The Crow: Wicked Prayer the third sequel to The Crow, during the final battle between Jimmy and Luc, Jimmy tauntingly shouts "Quoth the raven nevermore, motherfucker!"
In the 2010 film The Expendables, numerous references are made to ravens and, obliquely, to "The Raven." The character played by Sylvester Stallone is in the process of getting a tattoo completed which features a raven, and the seaplane which his team travels in also features an oversize picture of a raven.
A film entitled The Raven, which stars a fictionalized Poe, was released in March 2012.
The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror" parodies the poem in its third segment as Lisa reads the story to Bart and Maggie. In the animated segment, Homer serves as the protagonist, Bart takes the raven's form, Marge appears in a painting as Lenore and Lisa and Maggie are angels. Bart complains that the poem is not scary, and at one point the raven says his catchphrase "Eat my shorts" instead of "Nevermore." Homer provides the spoken dialogue for the narrator, while James Earl Jones voices his thoughts. Much of the story is cut for time for this segment. The story culminates (after the last two lines of stanza 17 are repeated again) with Homer chasing the Bart-raven around the study before the last stanza (before said last stanza is told, the Bart-raven drops books of other stories by Poe onto Homer). Poe and "The Raven" are also referenced in the episode "Saturdays of Thunder", when Dr Nick Riviera appears in an infomercial spruiking a cleaning product that will clean dirty grave stones. Troy McClure responds to Riviera with: "Quoth the raven, 'What a shine'."
Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling, featured a brief, humorous story entitled "Quoth the Raven." It featured Poe, portrayed by Marty Allen, being constantly maligned by a talking raven (voiced by uncredited Mel Blanc) on a bust of Pallas as Poe is trying to write the original "Raven" poem.
Garfield and Friends parodied the poem in the form of a U.S. Acres short titled "Stark Raven Mad", in which Orson narrates, to the tune of the poem, guarding the harvest against Roy's attempts to steal it.
The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a sketch in which a Peter Lorre-esque Poe attempts to pitch his poem to Sammy Melman, who wants a brighter poem with a happy narrator and a bunny instead of a raven. This frustrates Poe to no end and eventually drives him to publish the poem independently. Later in the episode, in a sketch featuring Poe as a villain, the raven serves as his sidekick.
The Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain episode "The Ravin!" parodies the poem, with the Brain narrating and Elmyra using a phrase repetitively.
In the TV show The Addams Family, Morticia uses "The Raven" as a bed-time story to her son Pugsley, reciting it as a nursery rhyme. (Episode 1.2 "Morticia and the Psychiatrist", original air date: 25 September 1964)
The 1960s sitcomThe Munsters featured a cuckoo clock with a wise-cracking raven (who had named himself "Charlie") instead of a cuckoo, which would emerge and say, "Nevermore, Nevermore" - usually as a comic foil for Herman Munster.
The animated series Beetlejuice 4th season episode "Poe Pourri" featured Poe as one of the eccentric residents of the Neitherworld who comes to Beetlejuice's Roadhouse searching for his lost Lenore, and with him comes a talking raven who does his verse rapper-style.
An episode of Teen Titans entitled "Nevermore" follows two of the main characters, Beast Boy and Cyborg, as they use a magical mirror to enter the mind of their friend Raven.
In the Gilmore Girls episode, "A Tale of Poes and Fire," "The Raven" is recited by two men dressed like Edgar Allan Poe for a Poe convention.
In episode 3 of season 4 of Alton Brown's Good Eats ("Fry Hard II: The Chicken") on Food Network, Brown's prologue to the episode shows him rummaging through his cookbooks ("forgotten lore") looking for chicken recipes accompanied by a voice-over of him reciting a parody of the first few stanzas of the poem, during which a plastic chicken, taking the raven's place, perched on the bust of Julia Child and repeatedly says "Fry some more".
In one episode of "Bullwinkle's Corner" from The Bullwinkle Show, the poem parodied is "The Raven". The bird which comes into Bullwinkle's "chamber spooky" is a woodpecker instead of the expected raven. Bullwinkle pursues the imposter bird with a fireplace poker and ends up hitting himself on the head. The narration concludes "Now the room is round me wavin'/ feels like I've been in a cave-in/ When will next I read "The Raven"?/I can tell you...nevermore!"
In the 11th episode (called 'Nevermore) of television series Warehouse 13, many Poe poems feature, including The Tell-Tale Heart and, of course, 'The Raven'.
In The Following the message "Neverwhere" is found in multiple murder scenes and the murders are strongly connected to Poe's work. Additionally, Joe Carroll, the series' primary antagonist and an admirer of Poe, says "Quoth the raven... Nevermore." as his last words, just prior to his execution by lethal injection.
In the show Mama's Family, the local high school was named for Edgar Allan Poe (Edgar Allan Poe High School), with their team nickname being the Ravens. In an early episode, Vint and Naomi recall their days at EAPHS by singing the school fight song: "GO! GO! GO! EDGAR ALLAN POE! We will leave'em weak and weary, we will give'em midnight dreary, will they ever top our score? Quoth the raven, NEVERMORE!".
In 1974, English rock band Queen recorded the song "Nevermore" based on "The Raven" for their second album "Queen 2".
The psychedelic band The Glass Prism released an album in 1969 entitled "Poe Through the Glass Prism," with the lyrics coming entirely from various poems by Poe. "The Raven" was the single from the album.
The band Kennelmus released the song "The Raven" on their 1971 album "Folkstone Prism" with lyrics derived from the poem.
The gothic metal band Tristania released a track titled "My Lost Lenore" on Widow's Weeds (1998). It is clearly inspired by this poem, but does not incorporate the poem as part of the lyrics. The entire album is in fact reminiscent of The Raven."The Ravens" is another song inspired by the poem, although its main theme is terrorism.
A song based on "The Raven" appears on the Grave Digger album The Grave Digger (2003), alongside other songs based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
Lou Reed's 2003 album The Raven is based on Poe's work, including his own version of The Raven in a song by the same name.
The song Kremlin Dusk, from Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru's English-language album Exodus (2004), begins "All along, I was searching for my Lenore/In the words of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe/Now I'm sober and "Nevermore"/Will the Raven come to bother me at home." It also refers to the "dying ember" line in the poem.
The Dutch neoceltic pagan folk band Omnia put a slightly edited version of the poem to music as the second track on their 2007 album Alive!.
The American gothic horror band Nox Arcana released a CD entitled Shadow of the Raven in 2007. Three songs—"Midnight Dreary", "The Raven" and "Nevermore"—as well as the album's title, are direct references to the poem.
The song "Campanas en la Noche" ("Bells in the Night") by the Argentine rock band Los Tipitos, the tale of a man wishing for the return of his lover, is loosely based on the poem. This relationship is even more evident in the song's video, which features the bust of Pallas and the titular raven itself.
Rapper MC Lars released the track "Mr. Raven" on The Laptop EP, quoting some lines directly from the poem and modifying others (e.g. "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I kicked it weak and weary").
The Canadian artist Nash the Slash included an instrumental track called "Lost Lenore" on his vinyl album The Million Year Picnic.
The Devil Wears Prada used a track of a man reading a part of "The Raven" as a part of an introduction to concerts during a 2008 tour with Underoath. The piece led into the ending breakdown in the song "Goats on a Boat".
The Dutch based hardstyle artist DJ Pavo released a track entitled "Raven", which quotes various lines from the poem.
Buddy Morrow and His Orchestra recorded an album of songs based on Poe's works. The album, "Poe for Moderns," includes a condensed, jazzy version of "The Raven."
The hip hop group CYNE included a track called "The Raven" on their 2009 album Water for Mars. The group paraphrases Poe's famous line in a few cynical lines (e.g. "Nevermore said the raven, goodbye to innocence").
Recording artist Natalia Kills released a Halloween inspired, abridged reading of the poem with backing from Space Cowboy (musician) for 2009. She then released a version with the full poem for 2010, with no backing from Space Cowboy or vocal effects, instead, there were sound effects to reflect the poem.
A song written by Darren Criss entitled 'High School Rock Out' made a reference to the Raven with the line "And you think he might be waiting but behind him is your raven singing 'Nevermore' I'm laying him down".
The Band known as "Circus Contraption" had the lyric "Nevermore the raven said and then he fell upon his head the poor bird lost his balance in flight" in their song "We Are All Mad".
In his song "Now Is Now", Reverend Flash uses the line "Vainly, I had sought to borrow" in a verse which ironically addresses purported plagiarism in the song itself.
Spoken at the end video for the Thirty Seconds to Mars song 'Hurricane' are the lines "Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before".
"Deep into that darkness peering Long I stood there Wondering, fearing, doubting." A large theme of the game is the characters' slowly collapsing sanity. It sets up the games "sanity meter" mechanic where things in the game make less and less sense as your sanity depletes: walls start to bleed, screams are heard, and sometimes the game will make you think the game itself has reset and will show you the quote again making you think that you lost all your progress only for the screen to flash and put you right back where you were as if nothing happened.
Lord Buckley recorded a "hipsemantic" version of "The Raven" in 1956 ("It was a real drugged midnight... dreary.").
The Raven Society, founded in 1904, is the University of Virginia's most prestigious honor society, combining requirements of high-level scholarship, service, leadership, and "promise of further advancement in the intellectual field." New members must supply a parody of the poem for initiation, which takes place in the room where Poe lived when studying at the University, now under the curatorship of the Society. The Society also maintains several other Poe sites, including the grave marker of his motherEliza Poe in Richmond, Virginia.
The comic strip Shoe ran a strip in which a large, strange, black bird was sitting at Roz's bar, uttering random words starting with "never-" or ending in "-more" (e.g., "Livermore!"; "Nevertheless!"), when one of the regular characters announced that the raven was bombed.
Poe lived in Baltimore for a time and is buried there. Residents of the city elected to honor Poe by naming their National Football League team the Baltimore Ravens after the poem. Furthermore, the three mascots for the team are three ravens, appropriately named "Edgar", "Allan" and "Poe." For many years, pre-game introductions of the Ravens' starting lineup would be preceded by a stanza from the poem, usually one which ended with the word "Nevermore," referring to the opposing team's putative inability to score when facing the powerful Raven defense. In 2000, when the Ravens were on their way to winning their first Super Bowl primarily on the strength of that record-setting defense, Chris Berman of ESPN's NFL PrimeTime would often punctuate highlights of the team's results that day by saying, "Quoth the Ravens, Never score!". Another example is the all-haiku 2008 NFL season preview of ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook (who often calls the team the "Nevermores" in his column), which reads: "Awk! No offense. Awk! / Quoth the raven: "No offense." / Bal-a-mer Ravens".
In another PC game, Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships, if you find pieces of paper in the bottles while sailing, they will be automatically pieced together to form a passage from "The Raven", the one just before the raven appears. Certain letters in red will tell you to go to and dive to one of the sunken ships where the sharks are, and, using the metal detector from Johnny Rolle, you will find an Easter egg. This is also a reference of the next game, Warnings at Waverly Academy, as Corine mentions that she is a Poe fan, as well as Leela having the missing Poe book, "The Black Cat and Other Stories", which includes "The Raven" and other works, as well as the pendulum challenge, a reference of "The Pit and The Pendulum, which is also in Leela's book.
RavenCon, an annual science fiction convention in Richmond, Virginia, was named in honor of Poe, who grew up in Richmond.
In the video game modDefense of the Ancients, a hero is named Nevermore, after the word the raven sequentially spoke. Nevermore the Shadow Fiend is a demon who collects and traps the souls of his enemies and his ultimate ability Requiem of Souls, releases the souls collected into an area to damage his enemies in a line. In stand-alone sequel Dota 2, his description is reminiscent of the poem; his background story says Nevermore has the soul of a poet, as well as warriors, criminals, slaves, and priests.
In the game League of Legends, the champion Swain uses ravens for his attacks. He carries a raven on his shoulder that attacks his enemies. He can turn himself into a giant raven surrounded by smaller ones for a short time. He also has a spell called Nevermove which immobilizes his enemies.
In the universe of Warhammer 40.000, Corvus Corax, the primarch of the Raven Guard legion of the Space Marines, says "Never more" as his last words before he goes into the Eye of Terror and never returns.
A style of parody on messageboards involves mimicking the style of the poem to some degree, with the line "quoth the raven 'never more' replaced by "quoth the server, '404'", referencing a commonly seen http error code
A parody by John A. Carroll about the Viking lander, entitled "What's In Store..." and starting with the line "Once Upon a Planet Dreary", was published in Analog magazine in May 1977.
Chamber Door is a game on Newgrounds that is a clear reference to "The Raven." It involves waking someone named Lenore while passing through rooms with ravens that have been experimented on.
In RWBY, an American web-anime animated by Monty Oum and distributed by Rooster Teeth Productions LLC, one of the Grimm is identified as a Nevermore, a Grimm that bears a strong resemblance to a giant raven with four eyes.