Edgar Allan Poe, a successful writer of the macabre during the early to mid 1800’s, had published his poem “The Raven” to immediate acclaim. It was January, 1845, ten years after having married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm. Not long before its publication, Virginia began showing signs of tuberculosis when she burst a blood vessel while singing at the piano.

At this frail point in time, Poe’s ruinous alcohol consumption rapidly increased under the weight of his beloved wife’s deteriorating condition. Along with his drinking came late night dreams of pitch black ravens and odd machinery surrounded by peculiar townscapes. Visions that tormented him night in, night out...sometimes during his daylight hours.

Virginia Clemm died twenty-four months after “The Raven” was written. Poe came unhinged after his wife’s departure, and the ensuing months ushered in a steady fall into madness. In his final days, he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore wearing someone else’s clothing, in a profound state of delirium and human affliction. He gave up his ghost, having been comforted only by the ravens of his unearthly delusions.

Photography and writing © Jud Burgess 2015