High-rez scan Poe's "Raven," illustrated by Dore



Whoa! Thanks, Cory, great find.

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In case it’s not obvious to anyone visiting the LC site to prospect for the art, you can select ‘higher quality images’ and then even ‘highest.’ The pixel size of the higher-quality JPEG and the highest-quality TIFF is the same, but the file size of the TIFF is so darn big — 36MB instead of about 3MB — it must be better! (Yeah, I know. Compression. The big JPEG doesn’t look at all bad, though — not seeing any artifacts at 100% size.)

It’s a little tedious to navigate. You have to go to a particular page and then choose the size. To save time, increment the filename in your browser, changing /0025v.jpg to /0026v.jpg, and so on. (I think DownloadHelper is the extension I use in Firefox to make this process easier — just hit a plus sign in a toolbar, and then ‘SAVE’ and repeat for the next.)

There are a lot of blank pages. I doubt you’ll want all of them.

If you want the high-res, though, you’ll need to click through to LC. The ones in the article are the ‘q’ JPEGs. For instance, here’s the URL of the first illustrated page (from which you can choose the larger scans):

The big JPEG URL of that page (with a word after it so that it doesn’t display as an embedded image):

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/rbc/rbc0001/2003/2003gen37813/0011v.jpg word

The big TIFF URL of the same page (ditto):

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/rbc/rbc0001/2003/2003gen37813/0011.tif word

The pictures are beautifully melodramatic and drenched in emotion. I can imagine stage actors studying the poses to use for their own swooning scenes, and silent movie actors picking them up from the stage actors (if indeed Doré didn’t get them from stage actors to begin with). I suppose Poe’s point was that the narrator was such a weed, once he knew this talking bird could say just one word, he’d only ask it questions whose answers would dash his frail hopes on the rocks of despair — an early example of martyrbation, and one of the best.

Apologies for all the words. I know it’s not always easy to skip words, due to a common hardwired brain belief that there must be a pony in there somewhere. No pony. Also, I ate the plums.



Doré’s illustrations are always awesome to look at. Love his work for Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Paradise Lost.

I had these illustrations in some children’s compilation I had as a kid. I was *terrified of them, but so loved the poem that I’d put a piece of paper over the illustration while I read that page. Never knew they were Dore.


And all ll the illustrations for the Dore Bible are here on Project Gutenberg.

(I probably originally read this on Boing Boing so this may not be news.)

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Thanks for the gem…

Thanks. Highest resolution, JPEG or TIFF, is totally worth it. Moar angel.


Why did they think it necessary to scan all the blank pages? It’s nice to have them in the paper book, but they’re not needed in a scanned copy, are they?

Poe fans might also be interested to note that former illustrator Russell Hoban (later the author of the dystopian novel ‘Riddley Walker’, the children’s classic ‘The Mouse and His Child’, numerous children’s books as well as a series of London-based novels) illustrated the 1963 Macmillan New York edition of ‘Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe’. There are a couple of examples in an essay I wrote about his illustration work at the official Russell Hoban website and you’ll find the complete set of Hoban’s Poe illustrations here:

Several reasons. The purpose of archival scanning is to preserve not just the content but, as much as possible, the physical details of the artifact itself. Blank pages can sometimes, when processed correctly, reveal content that has faded or been erased, particularly in very old books. It can be of interest to know exactly how a book was bound and where the pages lay relative to each other, and in a book like this one that lacks page numbers, that information is lost if blank pages are omitted.

Basically, best practice is to always scan absolutely everything, because a scanner tech is not qualified to judge what may be of interest to researchers. Hell, the researchers themselves may not be.

(That said, whoever prepares an archive for public presentation has a duty to make it reasonably accessible, which could have been done better in this case.)

Just a quick tidbit for fans of Gustave Doré’s illustrations: One of my favorite authors, Walter Moers, wrote a beautiful twisted little fantasy story and used these illustrations for the book. It’s called “A Wild Ride Through the Night”, and it’s great. Some of you may know Moers as an illustrator as well, but for this one, he specifically refrained from drawing to let Doré’s illustrations speak for themselves.

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