I need some interpretations of Poe's "Fairy-Land.

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What is the meaning of "Fairy-Land" by Edgar Allen Poe?

-- Anonymous, October 29, 2002


Literary roots:Nearly a parody of a large poem of Thomas Moore's that he criticized with biting humor. Poe's own poem however, mixes playful beauty with the absurd, an "archness" or high humor on a a theme of pure fantasy. That is Poe's own description "A Few Words About Brainard". These articles may be found I believe at www.eapoe.org.

One of Moore's faults, according to Poe, was the serious use of wildly inappropriate similes. Referred to in "Fairyland: "Like almost anything/Or a yellow albatross." Most of his critics and publishers treated it in the same good humor, praising its charm("exqiuisite nonsense").

So besides humor ans self parody what is the poem? Sets it in a misty dimness which ironically is harder to see for the weepy eyes of the "we". Getting close to Lewis Carroll already though some distance and complicity with the reader appears in the use of the "we" instead of the "I". The moon(s) is even more fantadstically wild in the typical Poe usage of drowning out the star.

More humor "One more filmy than the rest/(A kind which upon trial,/They have found to be the best. This moon drapes film over everything like a vast tent. Deep in the passion of sleep, is a theme from "The Sleeper". Then upon awaking the moon is discarded as in an ancient theory of the moon being destroyed each night and remade("extravagant') Lucretius ":De Rerum natura".

The atomized moon and its veil fall upon butterflies and like the poet carry the fairyland beauty back to earth. Butterfly might mean the psyche,the soul. Compare "Midsummer Night Dream" by Shakespeare III,i, 175-176. Comments taken from Thomas Mabbott's "Complete Poems" of Poe. 1969.

So from the extraordinary and ludicrous impossibility a portrait of fancy is created with the feeling of beauty conveyed in fantastic words and delicate music. Not as silly as "The Walrus and the Carpenter" but quite a precursor.

-- Anonymous, October 30, 2002

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