The Poe Museum, located in Richmond, Virginia, interprets the life and influence of Edgar Allan Poe for the education and enjoyment of a global audience.
This farmhouse was built in 1838 by the Thomas Talley family, whose daughter, Susan Archer Talley, was a poet and a friend of Poe’s sister Rosalie. Poe and his sister spent many evenings there during the summer of 1849. Susan Talley, writing under her married name Susan Weiss, described Poe’s final private reading, given here just two weeks before his death.
Edgar Allen Poe gave his final reading of "The Raven" at Talavera. The Raven, first published in January of 1845, is perhaps his best-known poem. Most American schoolchildren have had a literature teacher dedicate several days to its analysis.
Rather than having a smooth creative flow when writing "The Raven", Poe admits that its writing was methodical, and he drew from several other sources for inspiration. He wanted the poem to have commercial appeal. Drawing from the talking Raven in "Barnaby Rudge" by Charles Dickens, the musicality of "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" by Elizabeth Barrett, and adding his extraordinary use of the macabre, he constructed a poem with seemingly universal appeal. When it was published, it made him very well known, although garnered him little financial success.
The poem's narrator is a man reading to try to forget his lost love, Lenore. He is then visited by a talking Raven who keeps repeating the word "Nevermore" driving him to torment.
The Sauer family, known for their food extracts, owned the home in the early 1900s and prevented it from being demolished while newer homes were being built all around it. In the 1970s, a group of preservationists purchased the house to restore it. Vincent Price visited the home in 1975 and recited “The Raven” in the same spot on which Poe stood while giving his final reading of the poem. Talavera remains a private residence and is not open to the public.
Vincent Price visited the home in 1975 and recited “The Raven” in the same spot on which Poe stood while giving his final reading of the poem. Price starred in the film adaptation of Poe's short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher." He also performed a film adaptation of "The Raven," which you can watch below.
Cover photo credit: Tess Dixon via Flickr