What is Al Aaraaf about??

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

I just wonder what part 1 and 2 shortly is about! Would be glad if anyone could give an answer!

-- Anonymous, August 16, 2004


Before sinking into the morass of highblown philosophical fantasy that makes other Romantic poets equally difficult and much more turgid recognize two things. the natural beauty of this early verse as a natural presursor of poe's very consistent body of work. Second, underlying his complex story is the working out of his own psyche, a frenzied melancholy that never changes despite its mature transformation and perfections in smaller less grandiose poems. This limbo is separate, finite, melancholic, a star set apart form the Chirsina by being Arabic, from the ordinary by being the star discovered by Tycho brahe that then was lost, by conferring a second temporary life without peace ofr perfect happiness. Wherte the forgetfulness and eventual death is itself the devout wish of soul tortured by the relentless memories of life. Poe also in that letter to Isaac lea at the publishers house in 1829, that the point where Job turns from the comforters "I would not live always- let me alone" is the founding sentiment of his portrayal of a Romantic afterlife.

Also from mabbott's book on Poe's poetry the summary is: Beauty as the sole object of poetry which is Nesace. Ligeia is Harmony> These are how the higher unattained Truth is communicated to mear mortals. Interestingly human passion is too mundane, God is too vast to be human. Poe's book Eureka climaxes his grasping this panteistic aesthetic and world of connected symbols.

Sources(deliberate, Milton's symbolic obscurity, Moore's form(Lalla Rookh, Loves of the Angels) even to imitating footnote use and Arabic sources. Poe always favored the lonely star, here as a mythical personal haven after life. Like the transcendentalists or other Romantic poets it is useful to read them and see how uniquely different, and authentically new Poe's approach is to art.

As to footnotes of Poe, (about as helpful as Eliot's in "The Wasteland"which completely ignores Irish mythic sources for one thing) the intimidated reader can get lost in them. To get lost in them is a great part of what Poe will be trying to accomplish with his art as a whole, falling under the spell of the effect, the sound, the intimation, the teasing incompleteness of understanding, the shadow itself as the light. In such a case we always miss the main point or goal of the work as it's magic works on our appreciation of beauty, our emotions as much as we might pretend to be searching, like Nesace, for Truth.

Also the echos, even whole borrowed lines and sentiments recast can be seen in many subsequent Poe poems. Yyet this was not a ramble simply looted of its gems to inlay bbetter masterowrks. It's own argument, though uncharacteristically encrusted with too much description and device, is worth distilling to match it's own heart's core with Poe the more mature poet.

A simpler poem(also modelled after Thomas Moore) is "The Lake" a simple youthful sentiment. When reworked in his mature years we have a great window to a few simple continuities, fidelity to his vision, and ranking it highest against all intervening experience, including love. For those setting the grieving Poe rebellion against lost love in Annabel Lee as his final word, perhaps this is the center of his poetic compass. A place of bland repose, neither attaining perfection nor immortality, nor release from sufferings and memories, an existential viiiision between the lost illusions of real life and the afterlife he will not even pretend to know. His communion with that silent, restless state between comprsises his fidelity to his Muse.

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2004

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