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Disputing The Lost Woman And Inspiration Within Poe's "Annabel Lee"

1014 words - 5 pages

Upon Edgar Allan Poe's death, several women have enthusiastically come forward to claim themselves as Poe's inspiration for his last full length poem, "Annabel Lee." Adding more fuel to the fire, several literary critics question the originality of "Annabel Lee" due to its similar structure and or theme to several other poems, suggesting that "Annabel Lee" interprets more figuratively rather than literally. Because of the mysterious inspiration behind the words of Poe's "Annabel Lee," context clues support the idea of similarity between his poem and others, mainly an earlier poem by poet Frances Sargent Osgood, as well as several claims for identification of the lost visage of Annabel ...view middle of the document...

17). Booth believes this statement "supports his first love, Sarah Elmira Royster, perfectly" since Poe and Sarah Royster met at age fifteen (1945, p. 17). Later, after Poe attempted to marry Sarah Royster, Royster's parents immediately forced the two lovers to lose contact with one another; all angelic figures aside, the "highborn kinsman" who "bore her away from [the narrator]" parallels the parents of Sarah Royster who forbid the marriage between her and Poe. Booth mentions the same year Poe composed "Annabel Lee" he also ran into Sarah Royster again and drunkingly begged her to marry him, and was in the process of getting to the wedding when he died (1945, p. 18).
Reportedly, multiple women were involved in Poe's life, including some notable poets. Poe had multiple connections to poets of his lifetime: together they traded poems back and forth and criticized one another on their literary works. However, his relationship with Frances Sargent Osgood created controversy not only in the suspicion of adultery, but for the multiple aspects of similarity between Poe's poem "Annabel Lee" and Osgood's "The Life-Voyage."
As aforementioned, the possibility of committed adultery between Poe and Osgood ignites an entire discussion between critics who either deny the relationship went beyond innocent flirting to full-blown accusation of Osgood serving more of a purpose in "Annabel Lee" besides the belief of her poem as inspiration structure-wise. Osgood disputes both her relationship with Poe and herself serving as inspiration for the woman of Annabel Lee by stating that Virginia Poe "was the only woman Poe ever loved" (Jones & Ljungquist, 1983). The notion of Osgood as the face of Annabel Lee, when compared with the context of the poem itself, dismissingly remain wildly absurb, but the poem similarities continues undenied.
While a variety of poems exist with diction and allusion relating to the sea, multiple sources outside of Osgood's poem...

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