Poe capitalized on the success of "The Raven" by following it up with his essay " The Philosophy of Composition " (1846), in which he detailed the poem's creation. His description of its writing is probably exaggerated, though the essay serves as an important overview of Poe's literary theory .  He explains that every component of the poem is based on logic: the raven enters the chamber to avoid a storm (the "midnight dreary" in the "bleak December"), and its perch on a pallid white bust was to create visual contrast against the dark black bird. No aspect of the poem was an accident, he claims, but is based on total control by the author.  Even the term "Nevermore", he says, is used because of the effect created by the long vowel sounds (though Poe may have been inspired to use the word by the works of Lord Byron or Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ).  Poe had experimented with the long o sound throughout many other poems: "no more" in " Silence ", "evermore" in " The Conqueror Worm ".  The topic itself, Poe says, was chosen because "the death... of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world." Told from "the lips ... of a bereaved lover" is best suited to achieve the desired effect.  Beyond the poetics of it, the lost Lenore may have been inspired by events in Poe's own life as well, either to the early loss of his mother, Eliza Poe , or the long illness endured by his wife, Virginia .  Ultimately, Poe considered "The Raven" an experiment to "suit at once the popular and critical taste", accessible to both the mainstream and high literary worlds.  It is unknown how long Poe worked on "The Raven"; speculation ranges from a single day to ten years. Poe recited a poem believed to be an early version with an alternate ending of "The Raven" in 1843 in Saratoga , New York.  An early draft may have featured an owl. 
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Some to Conceit alone their Taste confine,
And glitt'ring Thoughts struck out at ev'ry Line;
Pleas'd with a Work where nothing's just or fit;
One glaring Chaos and wild Heap of Wit;
Poets like Painters, thus, unskill'd to trace
The naked Nature and the living Grace,
With Gold and Jewels cover ev'ry Part,
And hide with Ornaments their Want of Art.
True Wit is Nature to Advantage drest,
What oft was Thought, but ne'er so well Exprest,
Something, whose Truth convinc'd at Sight we find,
That gives us back the Image of our Mind:
As Shades more sweetly recommend the Light,
So modest Plainness sets off sprightly Wit:
For Works may have more Wit than does 'em good,
As Bodies perish through Excess of Blood.
See commentary of Abarbanel to Genesis 7:7 , who quotes the Talmudic sages and the scientists of his day.