The Romanticism of Edgar Allen Poe

Categories: Edgar Allan Poe

The Romanticism era originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century and was a reaction to the Age of Reason. This new time born some of the greatest writers still known today: Washington Irving, Nationiel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allen Poe. Some of the traits of Romanticism that these writers included in their works was: focus on self/individual, the fascination with the supernatural, and yearning for the picturesque or exotic. Edgar Allen Poe was a phenomenal poet and short story writer, he addresses his work in a gothic nature, and readers can easily relate to what is in his poems.

Edgar Allen Poe’s writing gain attention in the late 1830s and early 1840s. Poe’s dark and gothic nature in his work this was no coincidence, when Poe was three years old both of his parents died. In 1825 he was accepted into the University of Charlottesville, unfortunately after a year he was forced to leave because of his uncontrollable debts and inadequate financial support.

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After leaving Boston Poe enlisted in the army and published his first poetry collection, “Tamerlane, and Other Poems”. His volume continued to go unnoticed by readers, after publishing his second collection, “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems”, received slightly more attention in 1829. Shortly later he was honorably discharged from the army. In 1836 he married his thirteen-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. In 1847 Virginia died of tuberculosis.

The last complete poem by Edgar Allen Poe was, “Annabel Lee”, which was a symbol for his dead wife Virginia.

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In poetry the desired effect was to arouse the reader’s sense of beauty, an ideal that Poe closely associated with sadness, strangeness, and loss. Poe’s work explored the heart of darkness and “Annabel Lee” is a perfect example of this. The theme of the poem is eternal love, where the love between the narrator and Annabel Lee is so strong that even the angels in heaven are in envy, they send a chill that kills Annabel Lee. However, their love survives for their souls will always remain united. Edgar’s poems often contain death that gives them the dark and mystified meaning. This specific poem contained repetition, alliteration and internal rhyme to develop the theme of eternal love. The repetition in the poem are the two phrases, “In this kingdom by the sea” and “My Annabel Lee”. The purpose of adding repetition into the poem is to make an idea or feeling clearer and more memorable. Poe relied heavily on alliteration in his poem “Annabel Lee” to create the pleasing sound patterns. An example of this is lines 6 and 7 of stanza 4 is: “That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee”. The alliterating words: came, cloud, killing – the effect of using alliteration is to establish a rhythm and make the poem more complex. An internal rhyme is a rhyme that occurs in a single line, “For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams”. The sounds repetition due to internal rhyme makes a poem sound unified, adds meaning to the words, and enhances the effects.

I can relate to the theme of loving someone and having them pass away. For my great grandma and I, the kingdom described in the poem was her house. My grandma was the finest cook I know, she would always bake cinnamon rolls for my family, they were warm and soft, the flavor would melt off your tongue. My mom would always tell me how she would make donut holes for her from scratch. During the summer she would plant pees in her small garden just for me and I would spend the day picking them. She gave my brother this massive bear hide, the bear had killed a man in Montana during the winter in the 1900s, it attacked him and tore off a side of his face. She noticed how I always played with her snow globe when I was at her house and she gave it to me. I still have it, it has a wooden base with a big moose in the globe. She was quirky and kind, when she passed away her house was sold and the whole situation felt wrong. Even though she is gone my family still talks about her and fortunately she is a long way from being forgotten.

Edgar Allen Poe not only created unbelievable pieces of work, but he influenced other writers of the Romanticism era, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and H.P. Lovecraft who wrote their works similar to Poe’s. I love his poem “Annabel Lee” because of the different feelings it reflects while reading it. The way Poe wrote it – using the three P’s; rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, emotionally tied you to the story. Not only this, but his word choice evoked a dreamland atmosphere, he uses sepulcher to refer to Annabel Lee’s burial chamber, but in the seventh line of Stanza 6 – he uses tomb to refer to her resting place, it has a deathly ring like a funeral bell.

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The Romanticism of Edgar Allen Poe. (2021, Aug 17). Retrieved from

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