Abstract

Compared to the studies of Poe's fictional prose, the dearth of book-length studies devoted solely to his poetry and offering fresh, revisionary perspectives on Poe's poetic oeuvre as a whole, is surprising. One of the probable causes of this critical neglect, pointed out by several scholars, for instance, Dwayne Thorpe, Kent Ljungquist, and most recently Robert Evans, is perhaps the traditional view of Poe as the “jingle man,” supposedly preoccupied with musical and metrical effects for their own sake. Contrary to this condescending view of his verse, still encountered in some quarters, this article aims to demonstrate that “Annabel Lee” poem is a prime example of the way in which metrical and phonetic orchestration in Poe's poetry contributes to the development of meaning. The present article undertakes to demonstrate how the prosodic shape and the sound texture of “Annabel Lee” put forward its theme—the idea of love as a union that transcends both earthly and unearthly impediments. “Annabel Lee” shares many features with “The Raven.” In addition to their common thematic concerns—the death of a beloved woman and the speaker's response to the loss—these two late poems exploit the device of paronomasia, the similarity of sound to suggest the similarity of sense.

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