To Helen : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

What does this poem mean i am haveing great difficulty figureing out what Edgar Allan Poe is trying to say?

-- Anonymous, April 15, 2003


For its length it has many references within that are still uncertain and have various explanations- although the poem itself is clear enough. Many of Poe's themes and references are woven together here in commemoration of his mentor Mrs. Stanard, who in dying is here abstractly apotheosized into a divine Beatrice type of his Ideal and Muse. Thonas Mabbott's book on Poe "Complete Poems" is a very complete look at many of the references. Altogether, the references themseves are not as coherent or as important as their usage to paint a picture of a poet returning to his haven that is the very soul of his life.

Nicean- victorious? various classical seas referring to Ulysses, Bacchus, Catullus? hyacinth hair- the flower shape of the Greek statue's special hairdo. Naiad, statue references suggest serene immobility, the glowing Helen herself illuminated as if from within. Window niche(refers to Mrs. Stanard at the window). He later changes the "little scroll" she is holding as a sign of her literary influence with a "lamp" that further emphasizes her beacon star light brilliance.

Psyche(legend of Cupid and Psyche is an allegory for person and soul) So Helen is his soul life. See "Ulalume". Those "holy land" regions are more than the classical Mediterranean, but the depths of the ideal in his soul.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

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