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i need to analyze lenore, and i need a bit of help to get it done in the time i have to do it in.

can anyone give me a few specifics about the poem? i get the idea that this guy de vere (who is he?) loved lenore but did he kill her?

what are the references to the stygian river, paean and peccavimus about?

i don't even know what else to ask...there seems to be so much in this poem, i mean with literary devices and whatnot...so whatever you can tell me about it would be extremely helpful. thank you!

-- Anonymous, April 21, 2002


Mabbot's commentary is very instructive, especially on the difficult history of this poem which Poe rewrote(A Paean becomes Lenore)and revised with Raven style long lines etc. His own comment on elegiac poetry in the Marginalia might be helpful "Better still, (they should)utter the notes of triumph. I have endeavored to carry out the latter idea in some verses which I have called 'Lenore.'" This is indicative of Poe's unconventional stance toward death, which is neither final nor clear or consoling- usually. The original name in A Paean was Helen which in the early poem To Helen sdtood probably for Jane Stanard who died when Poe was a boy. Poe himself drew the connection between the names Hellen, Ellen, Elenore, Lenore, Eleanora all generally meaning light or bright, signifying the ideal, or positive beacon of hope. Other poets used variations of the name is somewhat similar fashion. Had a sonorous tone fitting the theme too.

Guy DeVere(suggesting "true") from John Plummer Ward's novel(1827) De Vere, mentioned in two reviews by Poe. At this funeral the lover is unconventional and rebellious. He does not weep, he curses the hypocritical mourners and proclaims that tone of triumph in Lenore's celestial glory. Then(peccavimus= "we have sinned" from the Burial service in Latin leaves this cursing for the sorrow of the narrator. She still seems alive, at least in her hair, but not in the all-important eyes. Hell is this life. Lenore is enthroned in heaven, so let no bell toll to rise up and siturb her. Note other poems and stories where silence holds death or vision in suspension and a discordant note can destroy. Also he sings a Paean(song of joy)about memory, which is his glad direct connection to her present glory and his past happiness with her.

This refusal of the dirge and traditional mourning is more than philosophical. Poe deeply felt memory(the lost time of happiness) and heaven(the unseen hope beyond the barrier of death) were the things that last, but which he in this life sometimes found both as comfort and despair, because in actuality, in the existential moment he possessed neither one. While honest to his restless place caught between the two, he is also defiant, even bitter in trying to connect the bridges and defy death.

Oh, Stygian is the river Styx, river of death leading to the underworld, which you can look up in various Greco-Roman mythologies for its characteristics. For Poe, this earth IS too often the underworld in his experience.

-- Anonymous, April 22, 2002

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