Edgar Allan Poe was the absolute master of spooky stories and poems. You probably mainly know him for his deliciously eerie stories, like "The Tell-Tale Heart" or "The Cask of Amontillado," or his smash-hit poem "The Raven" (which even The Simpsons love). His poem "Dream-Land" was first published in the June 1844 issue of Graham's Magazine, which was a literary magazine in Philadelphia that published some of Poe's most famous stories. Poe had also worked as the magazine's editor, although he had quit by the time "Dream-Land" was published. Though "Dream-Land" didn't hit it big like "The Raven," it's one of our favorites. It covers a bunch of classic Poe themes (loss, depression, the supernatural – you know the drill) and does it in a stylish, exciting, and spine-tingling way.
Have you ever had one of those eerie dreams that stick with you all day? A dream so full of wild and scary things that you want to get out of it as fast as you can, but afterwards sort of wish you could go back? Have you ever been so lost in a fantasy world that you were sorry you had to leave?
This happens to us all the time – when we read, when we watch movies, when we space out on the bus. We all spend a lot of time wandering in imaginary worlds. Doesn't it sometimes seem like most of the country would rather live in vampire novels than in the normal world? And that's what this poem is all about – the journey into another world and then the trip back.
Edgar Allan Poe was fascinated with imaginary worlds, with places where the real and the supernatural blend together. More than 150 years after this poem was written, we think Poe still gets right to the core of our longing for and fascination with the electrifying world of the imagination. We here at Shmoop love to wander in Poe's twisted worlds, and we're pretty sure you will too.