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#3559 - 06/19/00 07:23 AM raven mad
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
I'm reading "Barnaby Rudge" at the moment. The introduction says Dickens himself had a raven he was very fond of, and Landseer described him as raven mad, which later transmogrified into raving mad. Can anybody confirm this?

I did try the google thing, jmh, but raven mad is also the name of a pop group and I didn't feel up to wading through all the fan pages.


#3560 - 06/19/00 07:32 AM Re: raven mad
jmh Offline

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Try typing in "raven mad Barnaby Rudge" it'll get rid of the pop groups. The eighth one down looks promising but it doesn't answer your question.


"He loved animals, flowers and birds, his fondness for the latter being shown nowhere more strongly than his devotion than in his devotion to his ravens at Devonshire Terrace. He writes characteristically of the death of "Grip", the first raven: "You will be greatly shocked and grieved to hear that the raven is no more.. He expired to-day at a few minutes after twelve o´clock, at noon. He had been ailing for a few days, but we anticipated no seroius result, conjecturing that a portion of the white paint he swallowed last summer might be lingering about his vitals. Yesterday afternoon he was taken so much worse that I sent an express for the medical gentleman, who promptly attended and administred a powerful dose of castrol oil.
Were they ravens who took manna to somebody in the wilderness? At times I hope they were, and at others I fear they were not, or they would certainly have stolen it by the way. Kate is well as can be expected. The children seem rather glad of it. He bit their ankles, but that was in play." As my father was writing "Barnaby Rudge" at this time, and wished to continue his study of raven nature, another and larger "Grip" took the place of "our friend", but it was he whose talking tricks and comical ways gave my father the idea of making a raven one of the characters in this book. My father´s fondness for "Grip" was, however, never transferred to any other raven, and none of us ever forgave the butcher, whom we all held in some way responsible for his untimely taking off.

#3561 - 06/19/00 11:13 AM Re: raven mad
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Jo--while trying to look up raving mad, I did see this. You
had asked about this in a thread which I frankly don't feel
like searching for right now. I'll head back for r.m.
"Segue" was originally a technical musical term, drawn directly from the Italian "seguire" ("to follow"), and means to proceed from one movement of a composition to the next without pause. As a musical term it first appeared in English in 1740, but it wasn't until the early 1970's that the word was first used in a broader figurative sense. Hollywood was probably the source for the common usage of "segue," since film makers were among the first to borrow the word from musicians to describe a smooth transition from one scene or subject to another. It wasn't until this more general meaning of "segue" became popular that the word was really considered English and thus appeared in our dictionaries.

#3562 - 06/19/00 11:27 AM Re: raven mad
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I couldn't find anything, though one of the pages I tried
was not available. (quinion).
Since the word rave has had irrationality inherent in its meaning for so long, my guess would be that Landseer played on that w/ "raven mad".

#3563 - 06/19/00 02:41 PM Re: raven mad
David108 Offline

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Jackie - what about the possibility that Dickens was mad about ravens - i.e. one who had a great liking for the birds?

I found references to the raven at


And to obfuscate the picture:

...quoth the raven, "Nevermore"


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