Love in Edgar Allan Poe Work

Poe is arguably the American Gothic horror master!    He wrote numerous short tales and poetry that continues to inspire us today.   He was also one of the premier literary critics of the Victorian era, often critiquing his contemporaries.   His personal life, though, was littered with utter tragedy.

He fell in love with and married Virginia Clemm, his first cousin, when she was just thirteen years old! So Jerry Lee Lewis was not the first famous person to marry their thirteen year old cousin!    Virginia by all accounts seemed to be rather happy with their marriage, but would end up dying of consumption when she was just 24 years old.   This loss would end up making Poe fall into an even deeper abyss of depression than he already was.   He would rely more and more on alcohol, until his own mysterious and untimely death.

The poem Annabel Lee is about Virginia and her early death.   There are other examples of love in the works of Poe.   The Raven is essentially a poem about a man mourning the loss of a lover and the raven itself is an allusion to his survivors guilt.    My personal favorite work of Poe is Ligeia, which is a story about a man whose wife was a witch.   Within the short story there seems to be a possibility of reincarnation or possession.   This possibility is picked up on and utilized in the film The Tomb, which is loosely based on the story!    The film is very fun to watch, and the highlight was Wes Bentley’s portrayal of the lead character!

Love and horror have long had a strange intimacy.   There is a fine line between romance and horror.   The Romantic period came to utilize this to great proficiency.    Gothic Romance is still a very popular genre, and re-imaginings and films based on these works are still being made regularly.    The film Twixt is one that actually used Virginia Clemm as a ghostly character.    The film is eerie and a very interesting use of Poe, as is The Raven.    The film The Raven is a story of a murderer using Poe’s tales to commit his crimes.   Poe works with the police to try to catch the killer.   Both films are worth watching for their interesting storylines! 

I hope you enjoyed this look at romance in the works of Poe.   What is your favorite instance of love in the work of Edgar Allan Poe? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the poster from the Twixt film.   I found the image on 

Further Reading/Watching

  • The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Raven (2012)
  • Twixt (2011)
  • The Tomb (2009)