Charles Dickens, whose 200th birthday was this week, provided the inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Dickens had a pet raven named Grip (pictured), who was preserved via taxidermy and is currently displayed at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Grip made a guest appearance in one of Dickens’ lesser known works, Barnaby Rudge, which included a scene where Grip croaks ominously and taps at the chamber door. Poe wrote a review of the work, and made several mentions of the raven’s croaking, especially how it could be more prophetic. Poe wrote The Raven a few years later, and never made pains to hide the connection between the two.

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