Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a Day No.125: The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe illustrated by Heath Robinson

Whilst not strictly Lovecraftian (indeed, pre-Lovecaftian), my personal odyssey through the world of weird poetry begins with Poe; indeed, as much as I admire Lovecraft's verse, his work (stylistically, even if not thematically) remains eclipsed by Poe's. And, of course, Poe's influence on Lovecaft is substantial, to say the least. 

I originally encountered Poe's verse in audio format. This was back in the 1970s when, yet again, my local library proved to be a veritable treasure trove of weird literature. There I discovered the classic Caedmon recordings of Poe (and we are talking old-school audio tape here) read by Basil Rathbone. There have been a number of audio recordings of The Raven by luminaries such as William Burroughs and Christopher Walken, but Rathbone's remains the definitive rendition ss far as I am concerned. The Rathbone recordings can now be purchased for download from iTunes, by the way. 

A few years later I picked up today's item from a library sale: a selection of Poe's verse illustrated by Heath Robinson, no less. I'm not sure how familiar readers are with Robinson's work, but in the UK he was notable for his comical illustrations of incredibly complex machinary (usually designed to fulfil some mundane if not pointless task) as well, if I recall correctly, as producing illustrated adverts for Guiness. Nice.

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