necrophiliac?!? : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Someone told me that Poe was a necrophiliac, is this true???

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001


No. Generally, the only people who accuse Poe of necrophilia are simple-minded bumpkins who misunderstand his poem "Annabel Lee."

-- Anonymous, July 10, 2001

Hmm... I love Poe, but I ain't devoted to his work, and I'm sorry but sometimes corpses are misplaced, all the atmosphere is mysterious, so y not? Y not... Maybe he was frustrated n couldn't be himself necrophiliac. He wrote his urges, that's all... To keep them in line, natch! Maria

-- Anonymous, July 16, 2001

I don't think so!!! well if he do, I gueez thers nothing wrong with that. Actually I'm having a research paper regarding necrophiliac and came to realize that it's not that easy to have an ill like that. ethel

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2001

I was under the impression that his poem "annabelle lee" was he was talking about his wife dying and when she is lying in the tomb he goes there and has sex with her now if someone got something different from that would you please e-mail me sharing it. thanks

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2001

There is no, let me repeat NO, sex in "Annabel Lee." Why do modern readers insist on imposing what is not there?

-- Anonymous, October 21, 2001

In fact, this is a great deal more complicated than any of the above answers (at least the serious ones) would suggest. There are three, or possibly four, different meanings of 'necrophilia' and it is only by being clear about these can any sense be made of the debate.

Dealing with the easiest one first: if by 'necrophilia' we mean a mental disorder which leads to a person only being sexually aroused by corpses (or by imagining a corpse, or by the presence of a corpse, etc.) then neither Poe's work in general, nor 'Annabel Lee' in particular, offer any evidence for this. Poe's work, as is often noted, is very 'unsexy' -- he seems little interested in sexual desire as a motif.

Second: taking 'necrophilia' literally -- love for someone dead -- then 'Annabel Lee' is obviously a necrophilic poem. The narrator is still in love with someone, despite their death. However, this use of 'necrophilia' is trivial and therefore useless. Merely labelling something so obvious does not get us anywhere.

Third, and this is where it begins to get interesting: 'necrophilia' is a technical term within psychoanalytic theory. I would like to make clear that it is not necessary to be a fully paid up subscriber to everything Freud wrote (and I am not) to find some aspects of psychoanalytic theory useful.

Anyway, when someone has invested a great deal of themselves in someone else (the strange phenomenon we call 'love') the loss of that person is difficult to deal with. What should happen is that the surviving lover will go through a period of mourning, during which time they slowly learn to break the intense bonds which they formed with the deceased (who could be a lover, a parent, etc.). At the other end of this period of mourning, the mourner can then return to normal life. Most societies have formal rituals (wearing black, for example) to help the mourner through this difficult time.

However, in some cases the act of mourning fails to be accomplished successfully, and someone will continue to invest the intense energy of love in the deceased person, despite consciously knowing they are dead. In effect, they start to love the image of the deceased which they hold in their mind rather than anyone in the real world. This condition was described by Freud as 'melancholia', and is one manifestation of what we now call 'depression'.

Because the melancholic has fallen in love with someone who now only exists inside their head, the energy which should be expended outwards towards someone in the real world is turned inward, and the melancholic becomes withdrawn and rejects a lot of contact with reality. Again, quite similar to some forms of depression.

Since this love is directed at a dead person, this type of melancholia can properly be described as necrophilia. Which is where we can once again turn to 'Annabel Lee'. The narrator evidently knows that his lover is dead but continues to mourn for her loss in a way which can be considered excessive -- the lying down by the tomb each night bit. He also gives us no grounds for suspecting that he will 'get over it' and ever rejoin the world to fall in love with a living person.

Evidently, then, this excessive mourning represented in 'Annabel Lee' is an example of necrophilia on an unconscious level. The narrator is not behaving rationally and mourning (as described above) but has become fixated (possibly forever) on his dead lover. Whether or not you consider this use of the word 'necrophilia' helpful to your understanding of the poem is obviously a separate issue.

One final point: it should be obvious from what I've said above that this tells us nothing about Poe's feelings, conscious or otherwise. It is an analysis of his work, not an analysis of their author!

-- Anonymous, October 23, 2001

I would like to think that Poe was not a necrophiliac, but a genius with words. He may have expressed himslef and his mourning a little too much in the story, but you would probably feel the same way too if you lost a loved one. If you have any comments, feel free to e- mail me...

-- Anonymous, October 29, 2001

Well, First Off, I Think Poe Is A Brilliant, Astounding Man, Built For One Soul Purpose: To Be What He Feels, Wich Is Clearly Informed From Eddie, Who I Thank Greatly For What He Said, Becuase, Well, Its True, Poe May, Or May Not Have Been A Necrofeliac, If He Was, He Most Sertainly Only Was Mourning, And Loving His Lost Wife Anabel! Secondly, Poe's Writing May Seem Evedentualy "Gothic" But Hell, We All Feel A Little... Pissed At The World, Right? Also, I Mean, He Discusses Chapters And Volumes No Other Writer Dares To Creep Into, For Fear Of Being Hated, Discraced, Or Maybe Unlooked Apon, But I Think, The Reason Poe Was Sucssesful, Was For His Brilliant Explanation Of Feelings, Something We All Need, Explanations. See, EVERYONE Feels Anger, Sadening, Fear, Aguish, Deprivity, Pervertednes, And So On, And Therfore, He Touches Thoughs Thaughts, And Braught Them To Our Attention By Producing Them On A Higher Level By Creating A Scary, Eary Atmosphere To Scare The Piss Out Of Us, And In Sucsseeding This, He Also Teaches You "Fealing Is Just That...FEALING" See, He Explains To Us What We Feal, Why We Feal It, That You Can Feal It Without Being Ashamed, That You Can Be Maraline Manson If You Want, You Can Be Ozzy If You Want, If Thats You, Then *Clap Clap Clap* Be You!


-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

okay here! i dont care if he is necrophiliac or not cause u see the man here has some dam true talent! And if he is necrophiliac then who the hell cares! He is the first poet ive ever really was intrested in! He some real talent and i dont think he is any way! People just understand Annabel Lee! Its a good poem and i dont give a care if hes cool or uncool or srange or normal to some people he is totally not necrophilac! and if he is i dont give a care he is the best poet in history!!!!! ^_^ :)

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

i hered from mr Froman that Poe often "Prked Teh Bone" lololololol

-- Anonymous, November 02, 2001


-- Anonymous, December 24, 2001

Saman, you seem like the kind of guy who likes to be perverted and a general pain in the butt. ignoring that little comment, I'll revert to the oroginal topic. lets dig out Annabel Lee... okay (since I didnt want to find a book, I found an online copy : )

I don't believe Poe was expressing necrophiliacal feelings in this - its basically a love poem. He loves her, and his devotion to her has not been broken off. An admirable trait if the loved one's life is in question, but if the loved one is confirmed dead, then the trait becomes a bit unusual, esp. after a long period of time.

This poem seems to be a narrative (I know, stating the obvious...), but from another person's perspective. I view this as a story about a young man (of course, in liberal america I am obligated to (but won't) change it to "person of unspecified gender and age") who has a deep love for his beloved, and thus stays by her side into death. this is not uncommon in the earlier stages of mourning, I would like to note.

someone(s) mentioned that Poe was mourning the death of his wife, and this is a valid point to. writers express their feelings through their writing (much easier for poets and short-story writers to do than for novelists), and this may very well be another example.

nowhere in this poem does it give an indication of sexual desire, lust, or longing for physical pleasures with the corpse. on the contrary, the poem simply says that after his beloved died, he spent time by her grave, he mourned her death, and justifies her death and blames it on heaven. feelings of betrayal/anger and sadness are apparent, but no lust.

well those are my thoughts. any hate mail, death threats, monetary offerings , unstable nuclear devices, etc. may be sent to my email address.

-- Anonymous, March 05, 2002

I agree with every thing vicky says. He is one of the greatest if not best poets in history! I dont know what the hell people are thinking, I mean who the hell gives a crap theres something weird ablout all of us.

-- Anonymous, November 02, 2002

I believe that he just wanted to express his feelings towards this person he loved even after death. If he was a necrophiliac how does it affect you? Does this make his poems and work bad? I don't think so, but if you have an issue (or issues) against him being a necrophiliac then don't read his material! It's just that easy. I think he is a Great Poet and writer. His material is just ever so wonderful and quite intreguing. The details where marvelous and spectacular! I am inlove with his way of putting information and details. It's just the fact that one poem was a little bit too detailed. Well this is MY opinion just letting you know yours may differ and you are free to argue with me about your opinions. You got my e-mail so use it properly. Thanks for reading this and taking the time to read my opinion on this subject.

-- Anonymous, November 20, 2002

i have not found what i am looking for but all of my teachers said it was so that he "edgar" was a necrophiliac that he loved and missed his wife so that he dug her up and had his way with her but as for finding proof. all of the society's and museums that are dedicated to him "edgar" all dance around this fact which tends to lead me to believe that anything worth covering up will be. so if anyone has proof that he was or was not i would like to hear from only that that are intelligent on this and can show me proof. if his writing does not already prove this i don't know what does.

-- Anonymous, August 24, 2003

Never, has it been stated factually, that Poe was a necrophiliac. His aparent "love for the unkown (i.e.: dead) was a popular trend in the time in which he lived. I speak not of necrophila, but of a profound interest in the supernatural and grotesque. Poe was a writer for his times.

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2003

Well to all of you I am just going to say that i don't read a whole lot of poetry but i can tell you that Poe is a genious. He wrote some of the best poetry ever. I however do not think that he is a necrophiliac for the simple reason that his poems, mainly the one in guestion, Annabel Lee, show enought evidence to say that. He simply lays down beside his wife as he longs to be with her. There is no mention of sex or any relations therefore i find this to be just another genious poem. Feel free to email me if you want.

-- Anonymous, June 23, 2004

When digging out Poe’s poetry, try to comprehend the 'impulse' that his words ıand lyrics ring in your self. ı ı Annabel Lee is a static loved one as a very absolute and not communicated ıunless at a moment of certain mental state. Such notion is impressed on me when the ıpoem read as a mixture of ‘untold myth’…an example, the half envious Angels, where ıdid that come from?... and a very serene in his pain yet intense progression is felt that ıreaches the highs as “the moon never beams without bringing me dreams of the beautiful ıAnnabel Lee”. ı A static lover for the fact that she is the same beside the monotones of the sea; at ıher sepulcher. Such eternal love, is rather of an ‘un-earthly’ understanding, an eerie ıgrace.ı Poe is an alchemist of impulses, psychological and mystic, a worshiper of that ıstrangely perceived “Beauty” that he raves about. ı Annabel Lee is an 'object' rather than subject, thus, a necrophilia (a sexually ıimpotent necrophiliac )that –in the narrator view- only at the level of physical waking ılife, yet, a eternal love and mode of shared existence at the other side. ı Yet she is an untouched subject since his love to her had never changed – as ıdecreased in its loyalty- while he is at his reality; a subject that is deified rather than ıdisturbed. ı Read also Percy Bysshe Shelley’s first lines and stanzas of Queen Mab; also ıperceive his Ginevra.ı Had Jung did any analysis on this poem, he would had demystified Poe!ı

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2004


-- Anonymous, March 11, 2005

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