Literature Annotations

Poe, Edgar Allan
Sonnet - to Science

On-Line Text
Genre Sonnet
KeywordsAlternative Medicine, Medical Education, Psycho-social Medicine, Science
SummaryPoe asks why science preys on the poet. Science is peering, destructive and interested only in cold realities. It will not allow the poet to soar in fantasy or even to sit peacefully dreaming beneath a tree.

The poem has two primary, linked interpretations. According to the first, science is "bad," destroying man’s ability to dream. It reduces everything to observable facts. The second interpretation is guided by Poe’s works as a whole. Poe believed that poetry or fantasy was not in opposition to science and its reading of reality. Rather, poetry uncovered another level of reality. Science is one way to find one kind of truth; fantasy is a way to find a different kind of truth that has as much claim to reality as scientific fact.

SourceSelected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe
PublisherHoughton Mifflin
EditorsEdward H. Davidson
Place PublishedBoston
MiscellaneousFirst published: 1830
Annotated by Moore, Pamela
Date of Entry 08/08/94
Last Revised 01/09/07