Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically. His intention was to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explains in the follow-up essay "The Philosophy of Composition". The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty by Charles Dickens. Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship".
The first publication of "The Raven" on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror made Poe widely popular in his lifetime. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated. Though some critics disagree about the value of the poem, it remains one of the most famous poems ever written.