January 11th, 2014

Edgar Allan Poe had a cottage…

…in the Bronx.*

And it’s still standing, although it’s been relocated a few hundred feet, and a little park built around it.

At the time Poe moved there, the Bronx was not a city. His young wife was dying of tuberculosis, and he’d hoped the move and the country air might help to heal her. Now the cottage’s address is Kingsbridge and Grand Concourse, which if you know the Bronx is certainly a far different place than in Poe’s time. Let’s just say you wouldn’t call it the country.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea…

Scholars have speculated about the inspiration for the poem “Annabel Lee.” But the leading contender was Poe’s wife Virginia, a cousin of his whom he had married when she was thirteen and who died at twenty-four. Most scholars also think the marriage was not consummated for some years after it had occurred, and perhaps not ever.

[NOTE: *The title of this post comes from the title of this movie.]

4 Responses to “Edgar Allan Poe had a cottage…”

  1. Don Carlos Says:

    “Most scholars also think the marriage was not consummated for some years after it had occurred, and perhaps not ever.”
    Well, bully for “most scholars”. BFD, as Biden would say. Poems should stand alone, as they were formed before there were any “scholars” to take note.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    Oh nonsense. Poems do stand alone. As does Annabel Lee.

    The scholarship comes after during an examination of the writer’s life and methods. A legitimate field of endeavor.

    If it weren’t for scholarship you could not read The Bible.

  3. Don Carlos Says:

    An unprovable belief remains both unprovable and belief. Speculating whether the Poe marriage was consummated is not scholarship, unless one is in gender studies. In that case, such speculation will likely speed receipt of tenure.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos:

    If someone is studying Poe’s life (and I assume you’re not against studying the lives of poets and other literary figures), it is relevant in understanding him, especially since the bride was 13 at the outset of the marriage and the groom was 27. Of course, if it’s sheer speculation, that’s worthless. But it may be based on some evidence in letters and journals.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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