It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
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 winged 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 kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
-Edgar Allan Poe
Surely most of you have already read this poem before, and probably most of you know what this poem means. What we will introduce today is the genre of this poem.
Annabel Lee (1849) is the last complete poem composed by the American writer Edgar Allan Poe. However, it was not published until Poe passed away that same year.
Poe is considered to be one of the masters of American literature. He was one of the first American writers to try the short story genre. He is also credited as the inventor of the detective fiction genre and contributor to the emerging genre of science fiction. However, he is best know for hisgothicliterary pieces. An example is the poem above.
“Gothic fiction, sometimes referred to as gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature that combines elements of both horror and romance.” If we will return to the lines of Annabel Lee, we will see how the narrator in the poem recounted his love story. He told us about his girl named Annabel Lee and their love for each other which he thinks is far better than any known kind of love despite them being just children. Then one day, the angels in heaven got jealous and put odds against the favor of the couple eventually taking away the life of Annabel Lee. Despite Annabel Lee’s death, the narrator stayed in love with her and every night, he goes to Annabel Lee’s tomb to sleep with her.
The story of love depicted in the poem is the romantic side of the piece but the image of a lover sleeping beside his woman/girl’s corpse because of true love is the “horror” side of it. This is the reason why this poem is a classic example of a gothic fiction. The contents are well-blended to achieve the effects of passion and dread.
Other famous examples of gothic fiction are Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and
Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.Now, what do you think about of “gothic fiction” pieces? Are they good read? Have you read other gothic fiction novels, stories or poems before? Share us your thoughts.