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Edgar Allan Poe

A Dream Within a Dream

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1849

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Amoretti LXXV” by Edmund Spenser (1595)

Spenser’s sonnet 75 is the perfect example of a Spenserian sonnet. It is part of a sonnet cycle titled Amoretti, written to court his second wife, Elizabeth Boyle. This Renaissance poem shares themes of immortal love with “A Dream Within a Dream.” However, in this poem, the speaker writes about his love to give her immortality after the name washes away in the sand. This contrasts the immortal but broken love of Poe’s verse.

Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1816)

This poem is an earlier example of a Romantic poem written about a dream, or dream as a metaphor for imagination. Coleridge wrote the poem based on an opium dream he had in his youth and reworked it throughout his life. The poem features an exotic and orientalist journey with some otherworldly qualities. It was initially written in 1797 but was published after some revision in 1816, at the request of Lord Byron. Because Coleridge focused on the supernatural and the psychological in his poems, he influenced Poe’s writing.

The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)

“The Raven” made Poe famous and is still one of his most beloved poems today, perfectly capturing his poetic philosophy and ethos.