Commercialise Poe Nevermore

Few authors appear to have been commercialized as much as Edgar Allan Poe, who especially in the city of Baltimore, appears to have a special place in many neighborhoods and on many arms. The author’s image and works have been imprinted onto a plethora of material objects that include but are not limited to tattoos, beer mugs, candles, t-shirts and even entire football teams as Poe’s poem “The Raven” served as the inspiration for Baltimore’s football team, The Ravens. Although Poe gains significant amounts of exposure from being reproduced in numerous forms and to a wide variety of people who may otherwise not come across the author, the way in which he has been commercialized thus far appears to have more damaging than helpful consequences for his literary legacy.

Only certain of Poe’s works have been commercialized which limits the extent and power of his literary legacy as people generally only associate him with the horror genre and works such as “The Raven.” Despite the fact that Baltimore was home to Poe for a significant period of time, for the most part, the material culture dedicated to him mostly revolves around the poem perhaps because of the city football team’s name. Indeed, in Mt. Vernon lies a stately apartment building named “The Lenore,” which also references Poe’s most renowned poem in which the protagonist yearns for and laments the loss of his love, Lenore.


“Photos & Tour.” Luxury Apartments in Downtown Baltimore | The Lenore. Web. 14 May 2017.

The overwhelming amount of physical, material and cinematic iterations of “The Raven” although positive for the sake of exposure, undermine Poe as an author. He was a man of many talents who published an extraordinary amount of works, many of which are equally as compelling. Indeed, Poe’s mysteries such as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “Man of the Crowd” are barely reproduced in material or pop culture if at all, even though Poe was Arthur Conan Doyle’s predecessor in more ways than one and can be traced as an obvious influence in almost all of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

Furthermore, many of the mugs, t-shirts, television shows and tattoos that reproduce Poe’s image and work boil down both his character and tales and poems to a reductive state. Those who have reproduced “The Raven” for example tend to do so by either focusing on the word “Nevermore” or simply including an image of a raven. Although both the raven and the word are important to the poem, they are by no means all encompassing. By commercializing Poe, tattoo artists, mug manufacturers and logo creators and designers alike have undermined Poe’s literary legacy as the average person does not remember the way in which the author was able to incorporate infinite factoids and current events into his stories, or even recall the full plots of his most famous works. Instead, at least in Baltimore, people are most commonly simply reminded of a dark and sinister bird, and an antiquated word that does little to actually elevate the author beyond being a master of repetition.


Leonov, Lex. “Poe, Quoth The Raven, Tattoo .” Pinterest. 22 Feb. 2015. Web. 14 May 2017.

Indeed, even when thinking about reproductions of Poe’s image, the majority center on his alcoholism and sad personal past rather than on his tales, poems and review. This focus undercuts his literary legacy as people remember his personal history often before remembering Poe’s works, especially when these images of him are reproduced in bars and pubs and feature an intimidating, and seemingly drunken Poe. Although the author did appear to have a drinking problem towards the end of his life, he was much more than a troubled alcoholic, and wrote many of his most famous works before reaching this point.

dark usher bottle and glass 600w

MD Net Solutions. “” RavenBeer Annabel Lee white beer. Web. 14 May 2017.

Ultimately, some of Poe’s horror works are done justice through certain components of material culture such as the Baltimore Ravens logo because of the fear and intimidation factor present in both the story and the logo. However for the most part, commercializing Poe has undermined the author’s literary legacy because of the tendency to overwhelmingly focus on a narrow selection of tales and then exclusively hone in on their most marketable elements. By not showcasing Poe’s ability to write several different types of fiction and not highlighting the more subtly but literarily sophisticated and awe-inspiring elements of his texts and personal past, the process of commercializing both Poe’s image and works has undercut rather than elevated the author’s literary legacy.


Works Cited:

MD Net Solutions. “” RavenBeer Annabel Lee white beer. Web. 14 May 2017.

Leonov, Lex. “Poe, Quoth The Raven, Tattoo .” Pinterest. 22 Feb. 2015. Web. 14 May 2017.

“Photos & Tour.” Luxury Apartments in Downtown Baltimore | The Lenore. Web. 14 May 2017.


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