"Annabel Lee," the last major poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, was published immediately after his mysterious death in 1849. If you know a little bit about Poe, you might not be surprised to hear that "Annabel Lee" is spooky and sad, and that it deals with one of the author's favorite subjects, the death of a beautiful young woman.
It's always a little hard to separate the life of the legendary Poe from his works. In this case, there are some big similarities. Poe was also in love with a young woman, his cousin Virginia Clemm, and married her when she was just 13. She had died two years before this poem was written. Whether or not this poem is "autobiographical," we can be sure that Poe knew what he was talking about here. This intense and fascinating poem is one of Poe's most famous. Whether you're an old fan of Poe or brand new to his work, "Annabel Lee" is a really cool example of his unique style and subject matter.
You know how sometimes you become a fan of a band because you hear their first single and love it right away? Then you download the whole album, and even though you still like that song, you get pulled in by other tracks that you start to love just as much? We think of this poem as being one of those great songs you stumble on once you're already a fan of Poe. If you ask anyone to name a poem by Poe, they'll probably say "The Raven." Sure, that poem is probably Poe's "greatest hit." We certainly love it, and could read it again and again. But there's something special about "Annabel Lee." Where the Raven is spooky, Annabel Lee shows an even darker side of Poe. It's fun to read because it's so intense. Poe is so spine-tingling-ly good that it's worth reading as much of his stuff as you can get your hands on. Once you get hooked, you just can't stop.
Annabel Lee Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe.
Written in 1849, "Annabel Lee" was published the same year, just two days after Poe's death on October 7. It appeared in two newspapers, the Richmond Examiner and the New York Tribune, and then in the 1850 edition of The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe. The poem has since become one of Poe's most popular works. Using a melodious narrative form, the speaker laments the death, many years ago, of his beloved young bride Annabel Lee. His loss moves him to state that envious angels caused the girl's death to "dissever" (separate) the young married couple. He tells briefly of her funeral and entombment "in her sepulchre ... by the sea." The narrator then reveals that he has been unable to accept their separation. Since her death, he has spent night after night at her tomb, an astonishing and perverse example of the immortality of young love.
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