who was Lenore? (in the Raven and the poem lenore)

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Is Lenore in the POems the Raven and Lenore a real person that POe wrote a pome about or was she a ficticious character? If she was a real person then what was her relation to poe?????????

-- Anonymous, November 02, 2000



Edgar Allan Poe's poem "Lenore" was first given this title in February 1843 when it was printed in the Pioneer and was a completely modified version of his original "A Paean" from 1831. The original poem, "A Paean", most likely, simply dealt with one of his favorite themes. That being the loss of beautiful, beloved woman. There is no specific cause to believe that Poe had any particular person in mind when he wrote the original poem.

However, the revisions to the poem that resulted in the new title, "Lenore" may have been inspired by his devotion to his wife, Virginia. Here, I would draw your attention to the words 'may have been'. The changes to the poem were significant and resulted in considerable improvement but the conception of the poem was already fully contained in the original 1831 version. In 1843, Edgar and Virginia had been married for about seven years and her health was in serious question. In January of 1842, while singing at a piano among family friends, Virginia had ruptured a blood-vessel. Poe's complete devotion to her caused him untold agony throughout the year as she slowly recovered. Fearful for her survival, he fell further and further into despair as her health declined and suffered several relapses.

The poem "The Raven", written throughout 1844 was first printed in the Evening Mirror in January, 1845 and the February edition of the American Review. This poem was so profoundly unique and powerful for the period that it became somewhat of a national sensation and was reprinted widely for months. It also received substantial attention in England and firmly placed Poe in the limelight of public literary attention. The poem's basic theme is the same as "Lenore", the loss of a beautiful woman, but is handled in a substantially varied fashion. Regardless, there seems little doubt, at least in my view, that the inspiration for this poem was, again, Virginia. The name Lenore then, becomes purely incidental to the poem and in particular, the recurring resonant refrain of "Nevermore." This is fully consistent with Poe's firm position of unity of effect and he brilliantly uses this appellation to support and enhance the flow and rhythm of the poem.

Whether Edgar Poe was familiar with or knew personally someone named Lenore, regretfully, I cannot recall from memory. I am reasonably confident, however, there was no real person named Lenore that directly inspired the poetic passions of Edgar Allan Poe.


-- Anonymous, November 04, 2000

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2000

Unlike Gibran I believe that Poe's Raven was based on his wife Virginia's death. It makes sense considering that she was dying of tubeculosis as he wrote the poem. He was predicting his own hardships without his wife (who was also his cousin). The narator questions the bird as to weather or not he will see his beloved, the same qustions were probobly going through Poe's mind as he pened the words. In many of his poems Poe adresses the question of life after death, he also expresses this in "The Raven". He says,"Nameless here forever more.", my inter pretation of HERE is earth. So he is wondring if she is anywhere at this point.


-- Anonymous, November 07, 2000

it is likely that his wife's early death...she was his cousin and in poor health--is the woman mourned in his works...I don't believe he ever had any other recorded female relationship??

-- Anonymous, November 09, 2000

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