Annabel Lee : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I'm doing a report for my English class. I would like to know what inspired Poe to write Annabel Lee. What people may have been in his life, some events in his life and so on?

I need to know this soon so please email me ASAP T.M.D.

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2000


T. Dunlap,

The poem Annabel Lee was first published by the New York Tribune on October 9, 1849. If this date sounds somewhat familiar, it is because it was the day that Edgar Allan Poe was being laid to rest in Baltimore, having died two days before. It is thought that the poem was written just before or during the spring of 1849 because Poe mentions it in a letter to Annie Richmond, a friend and admirer of Poes work, and promises her a copy.

In his biography, Edgar Allan Poe  A Critical Biography(Appleton- Century-Crofts, Inc., New York), Arthur H Quinn recognizes the brilliance and boldness to be found in Poes art. In part Quinn says, Any theory that Poe was failing in 1849 in mental power is refuted by this poem, which shows his complete mastery of the sonnet structure. For those with an interest in Poe, the man, this is a salient point and contrasts sharply with those that have routinely dismissed Poe as singularly wicked, immoral, a drunkard and a madman.

Following the poems appearance in print, there were numerous women that assumed or, through sublime wishful thinking, had come to believe that they were the source for Poes inspiration. Clearly, the only undeniable proof of the source of inspiration may never be known to a certainty. There were many women in Poes life after all. Some he loved, many he was very fond of and a few he merely tolerated. However, there was only one capable of stirring the passions, the sensitivity, the adoration and the devotion we find expressed by Poe in this beautiful poem. This was his beloved wife, Virginia.

In a letter from Ms Frances S. Osgood to Rufus W. Griswold, she broaches this subject with a certainty born of personal conviction gained from her own knowledge and personal observations of Poe and Virginia. In the letter, she speaks of the

 exquisite pathos of the little poem lately written, of which she (Virginia) was the subject, and which is by far the most natural, simple, tender and touchingly beautiful of all his songs. I have heard it said that it was intended to illustrate a late love affair of the author; but they who believe this, have in their dullness, evidently misunderstood or missed the beautiful meaning latent in the most lovely of all its verses  where he says,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee,

So that her high-born kinsmen came,

And bore her away from me.

I trust this reaches you in sufficient time to be of some benefit, T. Your questions were rather broad and open ended. Perhaps if you had asked a lot earlier : )



-- Anonymous, September 15, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ