Ravenous: The Enduring Legacy of Poe
February 1 – April 30, 2019
During his courtship of poet Sarah Helen Whitman in 1848, Poe frequented the Athenæum, checked out at least one novel, and signed a copy of his poem “Ulalume” in a library book. While Poe’s romantic courtship of Whitman has been well documented, less attention has been given to other members of the literati who have ties to Providence, such as salonière Anne Lynch Botta, bookseller and publisher John Russell Bartlett, and writer Margaret Fuller. This exhibition will showcase Poe’s connections to these familiar faces and to Providence, and trace the extraordinary popularity and endurance of his work and persona. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Susan Jaffe Tane, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and Christie’s.
Highlights from the Athenæum’s collection include Poe’s signature, a portrait of Sarah Helen Whitman, a print of Le Corbeau “The Raven” by Édouard Manet which was inscribed to Whitman by Stéphane Mallarmé, and numerous first editions by Poe and other memorabilia. On view alongside the Athenæum’s collection will be over thirty items on loan from the world-renowned Poe collection of Susan Jaffe Tane, including early newspaper printings and contemporary parodies of “The Raven,” as well as art work, music, and other ephemera of modern pop culture. Other loaned items include a lock of Poe’s hair (John Hay Library, Brown University), a taxidermy corvus (RISD’S Nature Lab), and a rare plaster bust (Levi Leland, private collector).
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12-6pm
Other times by appointment