what's "Lenore" about?

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Why did he write "Lenore"? Who did he write it about? Did he write it out of anger, or spite? Why would you reccomend it to readers? If you would reccomend it to any, who?

-- Anonymous, February 09, 2002


Hmmm. This is a case of constant reworking of an old poe "A Paean" written in his early collection in 1831. The 1843 version is the best BUT Poe reworked it again for the last 1844 version and was still working on it the summer of his death. The long version, perhaps inspired by the structures of Barrett"s "Lady Geraldine's Courtship", is best known as a a steeping stone to "The Raven." Something the "Marginalia" by Poe in 1844 concerning elegiac poems sums up his aim : "Better still, (they should) utter the notes of triumph. I have endeavored to carry out this idea in some verses which I have called "Lenore'"

Helen, Ellen, Elenore, Lenore, Eleanora are consciously chosen. All generally signify "bright" or "light" the muselike beacon Poe writes so well about in "To Helen". These sonorous names had been used nby others in the context of tragic beauty. As for a particular woman this is doubtful. This is Poe's grand ideal theme, the woman being his symbol of ideal beauty and the goal toward which his unsatified heart ever turns.

The tale of the poem: Stock mourners(Ecclesiastes 12:5-7 and the Premature Burial, 3rd paragraph) in this elegy question the bereaved lover DeVere why he shows no appropriate sorrow. (DeVere is just a name taken from a novel of the time of no other real imprtance for the understanding of the poem "Guy DeVere A Man of Independence",1827, by John Plummer Ward. DeVere rebukes the mourners like Job his accusers who are hypocrites who envied and hated her. Spare her the sorrow and this wrong and let her be the hope that goes before and let the poet sing with joy the old happy memories. "Let NO bell toll!"from the "damned earth" to disturb her in happiness and glory.

Well, and so forth. The interesting thing is Poe's attitude differs from the conventional. That is part and parcel of his own alienation from jealous and inferior foes and his miseries that can only be overcome in two ways. By keeping his eyes fixed on his Ideal, his heaven, his hope, his loves that have gone before AND keeping the memories of past happiness. Nuts to the present world. The varying success of these goals in Poe's other poems comes from his persona's rooted stance before the grave, before the shore, looking behind and ahead but in neither place, possessing neither the past nor salvation just yet, just that dynamic passion. (With help from Thomas Ollive Mabbott's book on Poe's poems.)

-- Anonymous, February 10, 2002

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