Poe's Poem The Bells

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

1. Why do the stanzas increase progressively in length? 2. What would be a valuable site for reviewing the analysis of his poetry?

-- Anonymous, September 27, 2000



It is thought that Edgar Poes friend, Marie Louise Loui Shew had some influence in the the creation of this poem. As the story goes, Poe was visiting Loui and her brother one evening and was complaining that he lacked the inspiration for a poem he was to write. Loui, in an effort to help, scribbled a title and the first line and he finished the stanza. The result was, ultimately, to become The Bells after Poe spent more than a year working on it. The original version had but seventeen lines but, as you can see, the final version has one hundred and twelve. It was first printed in Sartains Union Magazine of Literature and Art in November 1849, the month after his death.

There is a good but rather short essay available by Paul O. Williams that may answer your first question. I hope I have answered your second. The URL address is at:


Good Luck


-- Anonymous, September 27, 2000

The reason for the increase in stanza length is to heighten the dramatic effect and underlying tension of the piece. By the end of the poem, you can almost hear 'The Bells' of which he speaks.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2000

The increasing length of the stanza symbolizes that the good times go by very quickly and the bad times seem to stay with you forever or it may seem that way. Poe tried to create an emphasis of life and how it goes through different emotions and with different emotions comes different lengths.

-- Anonymous, January 08, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ