Annabel Lee Questions and Answers
by Edgar Allan Poe

Annabel Lee book cover
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When was "Annabel Lee" written? How did she die?

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luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The poem was written in 1849. 

The poem, "Annabel Lee" does not state directly how Annabel Lee died.  In the 3rd stanza the line, "Chilling my Annabel Lee", and the lines in the 4th stanza, ..... , chilling / And killing my Annabel Lee" might indicate that she died of influenza or pneumonia which would have been common in the 19th century. This is conjecture, of course, since the poem does not represent any one person in particular.  Many have speculated that the inspiration for the poem was Poe's young wife, Virginia Clemm, but she outlived Poe so her death was not an issue with him.

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bolbi6 | Student

The teacher is wrong. Virginia died before Edger of Tuberculosis. Annabel Lee is often thought as a poem about Edger and Virginia's relationship, death, and grief. The poem was published in 1849.

stopdropandroll | Student

kay... listen ppl. i take an class where we're doing a scene including a character annabel lee and also including a few lines from the poem. my teacher told us to do research just incase she was wrong. this is what she said, "I'm pretty sure that Edgar Alan Poe's wife, Annabel Lee, died of tuberculosis disease. Which is where your lungs start to fill up with fluids taking the space where there's air in your lungs to breath. So it's a little hard to breath." She said that she has it. So, I think she would know. She said that they didn't have this back then but she is treated for it now. She also said, "If you go for awhile without any treatment the fluids will fill up your lungs and kill you bc you wouldn't be able to breath anymore." By the way... i did research it and turns out she was right!!!! Annabel Lee died of Tuberculosis Disease. Case closed.

nel649 | Student

Virgina did die before Edgar... Annabel Lee died a chilling death like hypothermia. Virgina died in the Bronx, N.Y because Poe moved her there because down in the south had too much humidity. When people had turberculosis and lived in the humidity was harder to breath.

hankinson19 | Student

Virginia Poe did NOT out live Edgar Allan Poe, she died in 1847. Poe died in 1849 and wrote the poem while Virginia was dying but it was not published until shortly after his death. Virginia died of Tuberculosis so it is probably safe to assume that Annabelle Lee also died of the same ailment, even though it is not said in the poem.