Horror story: How WashU restored Poe’s spine-tingling text

Buried deep inside the vault at Olin Library was a mysterious tome with a disfigured spine and pages as wrinkled as a witch’s claw.

Cassie Brand, curator of rare books at the Washington University in St. Louis Libraries, stared upon the grisly sight and wondered, “Could this be a first edition of one of the world’s scariest texts — ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe?” She cracked open the book and let out a shriek! Alas, it was a rare first edition — but the book was so damaged, Brand feared that it was forever doomed. 

In this YouTube Short, Brand reveals the happy ending to this horror story. 

“Edgar Allan Poe has such a spooky style and ability to create this atmospheric language,” Brand said. “The imagery is so classic. It’s so easy to conjure this idea of ‘Nevermore.’” 

Read more about the conservation project on the University Libraries website.

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