I need criticism on Annabel Lee!!!!

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I have a thesis pare that is due on mrch 24th and it rquires the research of criticm on the poems, The Raven and Annabel Lee. I have more than enough info on The raven, but I am in desperate need of criticism on Annabel Lee. Please, this is extremely urgent. Thanks!

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2000


Annabel Lee is about Poe's obssesion with drinking.

-- Anonymous, March 21, 2000


First, thank you for your kind comments. I have been a long time admirer of Poe and was astonished to find that there was an open forum for discussion of his works. My participation in the forum is for my own enjoyment and to share what I have learned of Mr. Poe over the last 40 years. However, let me caution you that I am no Poe scholar nor do I profess any greater intimate knowledge or wisdom of Poe or his works than the typical Poe devotee. My opinions are mine alone and while I have surely gained some insight over the years, I do not profess to represent myself as an authority. I unabashedly promote the positive side of Edgar Allan Poe at every opportunity. Regardless, you are most welcome to use these assessments as you wish but please understand that it is at your own risk.

Poes poem, Annabel Lee was completed in May of 1849 and was first published by the New York Tribune on October 9, 1849, two days after his death. Some feel that Edgar knew that this would be his last poem and that this was the reason he had made several copies and distributed them to his friends. As I understand it, some copies were signed, others were not. I do not agree! This presumes that Edgar was somehow conscious of his coming demise and known historical facts simply do not support this view. In fact, he was scheduled to be married to Elmira Royster Shelton, a childhood sweetheart, on October 17, 1849 and he was feverishly working to get his dream magazine, The Stylus off to a good start.

It is my firm position that the context of time relative to the completion of Annabel Lee is important to understanding just who the poem was intended to represent. Ironically, many women of the time professed to be the inspiration for the poem. Most scholars, and the one I tend to favor most, Arthur Hobson Quinn, states that the poem was written in remembrance of his beloved Virginia. I fully agree.

However, much has been made by others of the fact that Virginia had no high born kinsman and the fact that Poe and Virginia were thirteen years apart in their ages and were not children as indicated in the second stanza. These inconsistencies were considered evidence that Poe wrote the poem for someone else. This is Nonsense and I can hear Edgar laughing to this day!

Edgar Allan Poe was first and foremost a poet. It was his greatest love, his lifes ambition and his God given genius. Poe felt that prose was for the mind and body and was to serve the intellect. But POETRY well, Poe believed that poetry should stir the heart and soul and that it serve beauty above all else. He also believed that poetry need not demand truth as a component of creation. That is to say truth as it relates to factual representation. Poe found factual truth to be much to confining and limiting. He further believed that beauty was best served through melancholy. In effect, what could be more elegantly stirring and enduring to man or beast than the loss of a beautiful woman. Few poems do this better than Annabel Lee. In his essay The Philosophy of Composition, an itemized description of how he constructed The Raven, Poe details these views very well.

Actually, it is my view that Annabel Lee is a much less complex poem than many of his others. It merely tells the story of love and devotion so profoundly deep and pure and enduring that even the  angels, not half so happy in heaven, went envying her and me. By the end of the poem we find that his devotion to her is so enduring and so complete, that he has joined her, soul to soul, for eternity.

Annabel Lee does not lend itself well to deep analysis because the fundamental meaning is clearly spelled out in its verses. It is one of his few poems that is laid bare from beginning to end. Comparatively speaking, it is much less complex than The Raven with much less symbolism or allegory. Annabel Lee has much of the music quality somewhat lacking in The Raven, I think.

I trust this helps, Jill. I also hope you will be kind in your assessments of Poe the man. He was a genius of unparalleled talent unmatched to this day. He deserves a break dont you think?

Best Wishes


-- Anonymous, March 21, 2000

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