Edgar Allen Poe


I was reading your review of Debussy: The Quiet Revolutionary and I came across this passage:

    Debussy was crazy about the writings of Edgar Allen Poe which may tell you about his mental limitations.

Being a Poe fan myself, I wonder what the mental limitations are of someone who enjoys his work. Keep in mind that I am public school educated, and received my BFA from a private art school ... did I just answer my own question?

--- guttermth8@aol.com

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Our reviewer responds:

Some people find Edgar Allen Poe to be a treat. Others find him more like a treatment. Of castor oil.

For instance, let us take his poem "Annabel Lee" which begins:

    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...

Three questions:

  • What is the difference between "many a year ago" and "many and many a year ago?"
  • What is a love that is "more than love?"
  • And how could you (and I) possibly know Annabel Lee?

It is said that the French adore the poetry of Poe. We are not sure if it is a love that is more than love, but it certainly causes us to question the sanity of a people who gave us the wit of Molière, the wisdom of Diderot, and the tragic vision of Camus.

Notwithstanding your education, good taste and various accomplishments, we fear that you have been, as my beloved old Mammy would have it, "gulled."

--- R. Saturday
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