To One in Paradisegreenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread
Was to one in paradise written with Virgina in mind? I need to do an essay on how the death of Virgina impacted his writings, so I have "The Raven" "Annabel Lee" and I was wondering if "To One in Paradise" would fit?
-- Anonymous, October 24, 2000
Generally speaking, it would be difficult to select any of his poems that better expresses the love and devotion Edgar Poe felt toward his wife, Virginia, than his poem, "To One in Paradise." Unfortunately, however, it appears that based on the context of time and relevance, it was not Virginia that he had in mind when this poem was written. Actually, there doesn't really appear to be anyone other than the fictional character, the Marchesa di Mentoni, mentioned in his short story, "The Assignation." By this I mean to say that he seems to have written the poem expressly for this short story.
Now, I do not mean to say that Virginia or, perhaps, some acquaintance of note was not the seed of inspiration for the poem. But, while this is certainly possible, it appears unlikely. Poe was known to use poetry he had previously written and include them in his stories but only where it fully supported the theme of the story. He had done this with his poem, "The Haunted Palace" in 1839. The poem had been printed in the American Museum of Science, Literature and the Arts in April of 1839 and then it was included in his tale, "The Fall of the House of Usher" in September of that year.
Conversely, the poem, "To One in Paradise" first appeared (untitled) as a part of the story, "The Visionary" when it was printed in Godey's Lady's Book in January, 1834. Years later, the story was re- titled, "The Assignation" when it was printed in the Broadway Journal in June of 1845. The first time the poem appeared with any title was in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in July 1839, as "To Ianthe in Heaven." The title, "To One in Paradise" was first used when it was printed in the Saturday Museum in March, 1843.
In addition to the poem's significance to the tale, it first appeared in January 1834 while Edgar was living in Baltimore. The information available on this period of his life is scarce but he had left Richmond after a confrontation with his foster father, John Allan in about May of 1831. He had sought work as a teacher and as a clerk without success but continued to write. He was known to have spent time with his brother William Henry and they both socialized with his young cousins and their friends in Baltimore. Edgar and William both would write acrostics in the albums of their female acquaintances. One was his cousin Elizabeth Herring, the daughter of his Aunt Elizabeth Poe and Henry Herring and another was a teenaged young lady by the name of Ms. Mary Starr of whom he seemed especially fond. In 1833, Poe went to live with his Aunt Maria Clemm, Virginia, his cousin and his grandmother, Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, Virginia was only 11 years old at this time and while they may have been close, their affections for each another did not mature for another couple of years.
Perhaps you may wish to consider the poem, "A Bridal Ballad." It was written in 1836 and printed in the Southern Literary Messenger in January of 1837, eight months after Edgar and Virginia were married on May 16, 1836.
-- Anonymous, October 25, 2000