January 29: “The Raven” by Poe Is Published, the Beginning of the Battle of Rennell Island, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on January 29 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them
1845 – “The Raven” is published
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more."
These are lines well-known to all educated people all over the world. "The Raven" is a narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first attributed to Poe in print in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845. Its publication made him popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. The poem was soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated.
Poe claimed to have written the poem logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained it in his 1846 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. However Poe borrows the complex rhythm and meter of Elizabeth Barrett's poem "Lady Geraldine's Courtship,” and makes use of internal rhyme as well as alliteration throughout.
1943 – Second World War: Pacific Theater: the Beginning of the Battle of Rennell Island
The Battle of Rennell Island took place on January 29–30, 1943 and marked the last major naval engagement between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during the crucial Guadalcanal Campaign of World War II. It occurred in the South Pacific between Rennell Island and Guadalcanal in the southern Solomon Islands – a strategically significant part of the whole theater of war.
This battle was quite important, as Japanese naval land-based torpedo bombers, seeking to provide protection for the impending evacuation of Japanese forces from Guadalcanal, made several attacks over two days on U.S. warships operating as a task force south of this island. In addition to approaching Guadalcanal with the objective of engaging any Japanese ships that might come into range, the U.S. task force was protecting an Allied transport ship convoy carrying replacement troops there.
As a result of the Japanese air attacks on the task force, one U.S. heavy cruiser was sunk, a destroyer was heavily damaged, and the rest of the U.S. task force was forced to retreat from the southern Solomons area. However, and partly because they turned back the U.S. task force in this battle, the Japanese successfully evacuated their remaining troops from Guadalcanal by February 7, 1943, leaving it in the hands of the Allies and ending the battle for the island.
1967 – The Era of Changes: Mantra-Rock Dance event is held
The Mantra-Rock Dance was a counterculture music event with the flavor of decay and perversion held on this date back in 1967 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. It was organized by followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) as an opportunity for its founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to address a wider public. It was also a promotional and fundraising effort for their first center on the West Coast of the United States.
The Mantra-Rock Dance featured some of the most prominent Californian rock groups of the time, such as the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, as well as the then-relatively unknown Moby Grape. The bands agreed to appear with Prabhupada and to perform for free; the proceeds were donated to the local Hare Krishna temple. The Krishna branch of Hinduism is highly connected with different totalitarian cults, so their funding was probably the real reason for this event.
Of course, the mere fact of the participation of countercultural leaders considerably boosted the event's popularity. Among them were the poet Allen Ginsberg, who led the singing of the Hare Krishna mantra onstage along with Prabhupada, and LSD promoters Timothy Leary and Augustus Owsley Stanley III.
These are the most notable events in the U.S. history that occurred on January 29, at least in our view.