Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
Yes, in the time of Poe, Carroll and many of the others, if the girl's parents consented, it was considered above-board.

The real Alice's parents didn't consent. Nor did the real Annabel Lee's parents.

Annabel Lee's parents went so far as to hide the girl's grave after she died of typhoid. (Or something... I forget, exactly.) Poe wrote the poem "Annabel Lee" to taunt the girl's parents after he found out the location of the grave in Charleston, SC.

As mentioned, we also have Carroll's letters "begging" for permission to see Alice again.

Back in the day, this was considered scandalous but not illegal unless a person violated the parent's wishes.

Today, both Poe and Carroll would probably have to register as sex offenders.
You mention this about Annabel Lee a couple of times, but from what I can find that is no more than a local legend, and not generally accepted by Poe biographers, most of whom think he was referring to his late wife Virginia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annabel_Lee#Inspiration

My aunt was married at age 13, to a man who was 27 years old (I think it was, about that at any rate) at the time, with parental consent. My mother is the youngest of three sisters and was born in 1928. The aunt in question was the oldest, but I'm not sure by how many years, probably 5-6, but was certainly born in the early 1920s, in Appalachian Tennessee. Even in that time and place a girl of 13 marrying a man of 27 was considered kind of creepy, but not criminal with consent. (They consented because both my aunt and uncle said they'd run away together if they didn't - that itself would be quite criminal now.) Had she been, say, 16 instead of 13 it wouldn't have even been considered very abnormal, and wouldn't have even raised an eyebrow had she been 16 and he, say, 23. My aunt and uncle remained married, apparently happily, for the rest of their lives. He lived well into his 90s and she into her upper 80s, dieing a few years ago.

The past is a different country. They do things differently there.