Annabel Lee : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Was Annabel Lee Edgar's cousin?

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003


In a sense, yes. Annabel Lee was written about the loss of his wife, Virginia Clemm. Virginia was also Edgar's first cousin.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2003

Problematic, one of the great controversies about Poe. More of a case can probably be built for his direct reference to Sarah helen Whiman with whom he was exchanging poems. She herself howver supports the subconscious haunting of Virginia within this poem. Comparing it to the clearer allegory of Hop Frog it would seem to be his passionate dwelling on the recent death of Virginia, both works different manners of revolt against the loss. Poe depersonalized the issue further by flattering other women he was courting- which led to others rallying behind the Virginia theory. Absurdly, all the claims of the concerned parties are clouded and inaccurate. On the surface it is a poem of an idealized woman to portray the emotion of a disturbed man who will NOT be beaten but cannot live normally. In the great poemsof Poe the name is never biographical and the references to real loves never simply actualized. As Yeats said about HIS poems, his loves inspired but cannot be simply identified with this or that poetic lady. On the next level he was urged and inspired to write(deep in his funk over Virginia) and connect with others by new woman friends, some of whom he was actively- even simultaneously courting(obviously grasping and unstable). thirdly, his real torment and inner workings cannot help but be reflected even in an artiifical poem.

Poe, sometimes more than any other eclectic Romantic is obsessively personal with central emotions and themes derived from his inner self and experience. Check his other poems long before Viriginia ever died. the theme is there so often it hardly seems possible to absolutely prove originality of anyhting other than the desperate straits Poe was in from his wife's real death. More despair, more anger, more the picture of a trap of a man left on the shore. The story or the names are not so important as his portrayal of his own heart. Annabel Lee barely exists as a real person and is not even described in that "love" poem.

-- Anonymous, June 09, 2003

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