Melissa T. Yang | Thirteen Ways of Looking at Grip the Raven

Written by on June 3rd, 2018 // Filed under 31.1 Animal Studies

Abstract

Grip was the first and favorite of several ravens Charles Dickens owned. Dickens declared his love
for Grip in letters, fictionalized him in Barnaby Rudge (1841), and had the bird taxidermied. After Dickens’ death, the stuffed raven spent years in auctions before landing in Philadelphia, where Dickens met Edgar Allan Poe. Poe had reviewed Barnaby Rudge and critiqued Dickens’ Grip before composing his own raven masterwork and “Philosophy of Composition” (1846). Grip’s remains now reside alongside the handwritten manuscript of Poe’s “The Raven” in Philadelphia. This project explores Grip’s iterations — living, fictionalized, taxidermized — and parallels between biography and taxidermy.