Why did Poe write Annabel Lee?

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I am doing a term paper on Edgar Allen Poe and I was wondering who exactly Annabel Lee was and why he wrote the poem in reference to her.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2000


I think Annabel Lee is just a name he made up but the poem is about his wife who died at a young age. He was in love with her very much and was devastated when she died. The poem is about how much he loved her and how he believed the angels were just jealous of that and took her away from him.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2000

Annabell lee is his daughter or realative i thought that was well known

-- Anonymous, April 28, 2000

Hi, Poe wrote Annabel Lee actually when Virginia (his wife) was dying. He supposedly wrote it about her if you read it and understand it. But it was written in New York, the same house they lived in when she was extremely ill.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

Annabel Lee is a beautiful poem about how he one he loved was stole away from him..and buried...

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2000

Well im doing a term paper on Edgar Allan Poe also but mainly on the poem "Annabel Lee" and he wrote the poem while his beloved wife, and cousin, Virginia Clemm, was on her death bed with tuberculosis. But by fact the poem was not published till after his death! He had many woman in his life in which they all made him grieve but Virginia inspired him to write "Annabel Lee"

-- Anonymous, April 10, 2001


Actually, for the sake of accuracy, Virginia died in January 1847 and the poem "Annabel Lee" was not written until the spring of 1849 just prior to his leaving for Richmond for a lecture tour. While numerous women claimed to be the inspiration for the poem, traditional opinion holds that it was inspired by the profound love and devotion shared by Virginia and her husband.


-- Anonymous, April 11, 2001

Actually, I'm currently vacationing in the Charleston area and a local story here tells of a young woman who loved a young soldier, but was forbidden by her father to ever see him. When she disobeyed, her father punished her severely, locking her in her room, and eventually, her soldier moved to Virginia but he continued to try to see her. When she was buried, it was in an unmarked grave without ceremony (which she is said to haunt even today, many people claim to have seen her apparition) to prevent him from ever finding her. Her name? Annabelle Lee Ravenelle.

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2001

Unforunately, most of these "local" stories prove, upon examination, to be just that -- stories, and usually of fairly recent concoction. Rarely is there any sort of reasonable documentation, and almost never does such documentation take the story back to Poe's lifetime or before (so that he might, at least, have heard the same story). In this case, the last name of "Ravenelle," in particular, smacks of invention.

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2001

annaible lee is a fake person but he though about it and made a name for virginia so he maded annabel lee.he wrote the poem for his wife . annabel lee is not a relative or family member i thought that was clear i studied him for a while and now have to do a paper on him

-- Anonymous, October 30, 2001

I have been in Charleston lately, and have gone on a ghost tour also. This story is absolutely true. Annabel Lee Ravenelle was a true person. She was a lot younger than him, and fell in love with Poe when he was a soldier in Fourt Moultrie. Their families forbid them to be together. She is actually buried in the Unitarian graveyard in Chareston...hence the kingdom by the sea. Her family actually bought 6 different burial plots in different graveyards just so he could not come back to see her. I have actually been to this graveyard and seen the grave where she lies and haunts still looking for her true love. There is a lot of evidence throughout the poem of this actual story. He was very young when he met Annabel Lee, and if this was actually about Virginia, then he was not young at all when he was with her. If he really had mourned her death this much, then it would not have taken him 2 years to write this poem.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2002

I just returned from Charleston, SC and also heard the story about Annabel Lee. I was so very interested, that I raced to my computer when I arrived home to try to substatiate the story. First of all, the spelling of the Ravenel name may have been a hang up for none@yahoo.com. Ravenel is truly a last name that was and still is very common to Charleston. It is also true that, when in the Army, Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie (on Sullivans Island in Charleston) in 1827. On literarytraveler.com I found the following, "It is believed that Poe developed relationships with two prominent South Carolinians. One of them was Dr. Edmund Ravenel, a conchologist and professor at the Medical College, who maintained a house on Sullivan's Island and practiced on the island. Ravenel is known to have wandered the shore searching for shells. Over the years Ravenel developed a large collection of shells, some which he found himself and some acquired by exchange with other collectors. While there is no concrete evidence - letters, notes or memoirs - documenting the exchange of ideas it is difficult to imagine that the two did not talk, sharing as they did a common interest and living on the same very small, isolated sea island." So my quest continues to substantiate this story. I kind of like the Charleston version, personally.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 2002

It all sounds like just so much myth-making to me. Print the documentation for a Poe connection or stop spreading false information. Why does Annabel Lee have to be a real person at all?

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2002

?Annabel Lee? is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe this poem was published in 1849. This poem has a lot of meaning and feeling involved in it. I think that Poe wrote this poem because he was upset about his wife?s death, and it was the only way he could express his feelings. Although we do not know that he wrote this poem because his wife died, we just expect that. I think that his wife is ?Annabel Lee? and the narrator represents himself.

-- Anonymous, September 12, 2002

of course if you wanted a more abstract answer (this coming a group of high school students and an AP English teacher), he wrote it because he was a romantic poet. no, no not that mushy romantic stuff, but of the age of romantism. you know with longfellow, holmes, whitter, bryant, etc. they loved to write about creavity, through in rather cryptic ways. cryptic as in being, the moon is a symbol for the poet kind of thing. anyway as for the poem itself. annabel lee symbolizes creativity, childlike, innocent, creativity. angels (adults) envied that, so they took it away, kinda like how the world disillusions children as they turn into adults. notice the line "the moon never beams, without giving me dreams, of the beautiful Annabel Lee". moon symbolizes poet. annabel symbolizes creativity. therefore he can never think with out wondering about his childhood imagination. bing! there's an abstract version for ya.

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2002

I think he is writing about his wife dying because his mother died when she was 24 years old of tuberculosis and his wife died in the exact same age.

-- Anonymous, February 27, 2003

We will probably never know the true answer too Who is Anabel Lee? However, I live in Charleston and have lived here my whole life. I grew up on Isle of Palms, which is the island next to Sullivans Island. I have alwys heard that Poe was very much in love with Annabel Lee Ravenel. And yes there was such a person. I think you should believe what you want to believe and leave it at that. Being from the islands we were raised on the folklore of Poe and his story's, And it seems very reasonable that Dr. Ravenel would not want his daughter seeing an enlisted man, who is not from Charleston. Back in those days being a Ravenel, she was destined to marry a fellow blue blood. Charleston is a very rich old city with the old believes and they did not marry outsiders. If you were not born in raised in Charleston you were considered an outsider no matter how much money you had, and you were not permitted to be buried in the same cemetary as the locals. Not even the President of the United States was permitted to be buried at St. Phillips, where most of your local people were buried, so the story to me is not far fetched. Best of luck. Diane Leland

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2003

Annabel Lee was in fact a real person. Her full name was Annabel Lee Ravenel. The Ravenel family was and is very prominent in Charleston S.C. It is a matter of historical fact that Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie and during this time he met and carried on a secret relationship with Miss Ravenel. When her father found out he locked her in her room. She died not soon after of yellow fever. Poe was so grief stricken that he came into the city and demanded to see her body. The family refused and to make sure he did not come in and do anything to her body she was buried secretly and all the graves in the family plot were dug down to make it look like they all had something in them. If you come to Charleston you can go to the Charleston Library Society and request to see the Journal that Annabel Lee's sister kept. In this journal she details Poe and his strange behaviour. Also you can petition the Library of Congress to view Poe's personal journals. In said manuscript he speaks of going into the cemetary in Charleston to view her grave. The one thing he wrote that proves to me this poem is about her is upon seeing all the fresh graves "confusion overtook me and the words began to flow"

-- Anonymous, September 15, 2003

hahah.. a lot of theroies. and a lot of "actually"

-- Anonymous, September 29, 2003

I beleive that the real reason to write "Annabel Lee", from my point of view and many other people and much research, was for him to share how he felt about his dead wife. Though she was only but a yound teenager and him being older he wanted people to know how he really felt. He clearly had feelings that were bottled up and this was how he showed his feeling was my writing them all down. He also, at that time, wanted to make it clear that it was OK for him to marry his cousin. This may seem very wrong today but then it wasnt. So to answer the question all togther would be to say that Poe wanted to share how he felt about his long gone wife by writing a romantic poem for her. maybe he was trying to also tell everyone else about love and how though she is gone the love shall still live on. But no one can be really sure, i mean im only 14 so yes!!!

-- Anonymous, November 27, 2003

We in Charleston know the answer. Sorry that others cannot accept that. We in Charleston, who live history daily, have been to the Library Society and read the diaries of Annabelle Lee's sister. We have searched the churchyards of old Charleston and have found the grave, marked only with her initials -- A.L.R. The Ravenel family is still prominent in this area and the family history documents this episode in Poe's life. So do the circumstantial facts, which are abundant. It is a known fact that Poe wrote "The Gold Bug," one of his most popular stories, about his experiences living on Sullivan's Island, and the locations he mentions in the story can still be traced today. Want to find out for yourself? Come see us! You'll love Charleston!

-- Anonymous, November 29, 2003

That's beautiful and good enough for me.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 2003

I have to write a report on Annabel Lee, and I think that he wrote a poem about her because he loved her so much. He wrote the peom after she died to show everyne how much he really loved his young teenage wife. Since they were so far a part in age. He must have really loved his wife, Virgina Clemm, and he died in 1849, the same year that his poem, Annabel Lee, about his wife was written, his last poem.

-- Anonymous, December 21, 2003

Hello, Beth, AP English teacher.

"they loved to write about creavity, through in rather cryptic ways."

I liked the points you made, they were very insightful, but I expected that an AP English teacher would not misspell and "creativity" and "through"? I kinda assumed ya know. kinda.

-- Anonymous, January 02, 2004

I believe that Edgar Allen Poe stole that poem from a man named Joel Freazholet who was a french judge in the mid 1700s. This man Joel wrote the poem about his fiance Annabel who died before they were married, Edgar though I do not know how he got the poem some how aquired it a hi=undred years later.

It makes sense because that poem was completely different from all the other poems that he wrote right? if you have any responds please e mail me at craziefreak@yahoo.com

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2004


In reading Beth's response, I got the impression that she was talking as one of the AP students, not the teacher... sharing with us a class discussion. So let's be kind.

-- Anonymous, March 13, 2004

I was just in Charleston SC and was told the same story. I believe that what happened in Charleston many years ago is absolutely true.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2004

I'm from South Carolina and graduated from The Citadel. (in Charleston)

I believe that the Charleston stories are quite accurate, givn all the documentation.

-- Anonymous, September 22, 2004

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