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Romanticism was a literary movement that lasted from approximately 1789 to 1832. Two important features of Romanticism were:
*the idea that an individual's feelings were more
important than the traditions of religion or society
*the idea that feeling, emotion, and dreams are
more important, and more accurate, than logic
Although Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee" was written in 1849, seventeen years after the "official" end of the Romantic movement, the poem is a classic example of Romanticism.
In describing his love for Annabel Lee, the poet states that "the winged seraphs [angels] of Heaven / Coveted her and me"; he further states that it was the angels who killed Annabel because of their jealousy. I doubt that this idea of angels coveting human lovers is found in the doctines of Christianity, the religion that Poe was most familiar with. Rather, it is an example of the Romantic notion that one's feelings, rather than received tradition, are the truest source of esoteric knowledge.
In the last stanza, the poet writes:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
This, of course, is not logical. No scientist would ever observe a lover's "bright eyes" in the shine of a star. To the Romantic, however, his imagination and dreams are more real than the logical observation of a scientist.
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