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Grip the Raven

November 20, 2011 by
Filed under: Charles Dickens 

“Halloa, halloa, halloa! What’s the matter here! Keep up your spirits. Never say die. Bow wow wow. I’m a devil, I’m a devil, I’m a devil. Hurrah!”

The above  is a quote from Baranaby Rudge by Charles Dickens.  Can you identify the speaker of these lines?  A gold star to you if you said, “Grip the raven.”

What you may not know, and I didn’t until recently, is that Dickens really had a pet raven named Grip.  While Dickens was writing Barnaby Rudge he wanted to get a better idea about what a pet raven would be like.  So he acquired Grip.  That raven was quite a handful!  Because of Grip’s propensity for biting children he was banished from the home and  ended up living in the carriage house.

Edgar Allan Poe

Grip’s influence didn’t end with Dickens either.  An interesting aside is that Grip may have provided inspiration for Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.  While there’s no direct evidence that one work inspired the other, it does seem likely.  Poe read Barnaby Rudge and even reviewed it for Graham’s Magazine.

In 1841 Grip passed away Dickens had him stuffed.  Grip was sold in an auction after Dickens died and eventually came to be owned by Philadelphia’s Colonel Richard Gimbel as part of his collection of objects relating to Edgar Allan Poe.  Later Gimbel’s collection was donated to the Free Library of Philadelphia.

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