The Literary Criticism of Edgar Allan Poe


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This selection of Poe’s literary criticisms is just in the beginning stages. Within these selections, all original punctuation, abbreviations and spellings have been retained. Where these spellings differ greatly from modern spellings, the most current form is noted in brackets immediately following the word. A number of obvious variants, such as “colour” for “color,” reflect conventions to which we no longer adhere, but which were considered acceptable during Poe’s lifetime and are left to stand without additional commentary. For manuscript material, including Poe’s own corrections to printed sources, text contained within angle brackets “<...>” shows annotations made by Poe himself for the main text given. Reversed double-angle brackets “>>...<<” show text that Poe has canceled by striking or scratching out. Text contained within square brackets “[...]” is not part of the original. This text is intended as notes or corrections of typographical errors. In the original printings, some text occasionally appears within square brackets “[...].” In such cases, these have been changed to standard parentheses to avoid confusion. (Note: Over time, we will be changing our previously stated policy concerning square brackets to retain Poe’s usage and distinguish our own editorial notes by enclosing these in double-square brackets “[[...]]”.)

Since most of the literary criticism of Poe’s era is unsigned, attribution is a complex and divisive issue. All items included here have been attributed to Poe at one time or another, but are subject to further analysis as our project proceeds. In general, uncertain attributions are noted by the presence of a question mark (“?”), with more question marks (“???”) being used to denote less certain items. A few doubtful items are included merely because they have not been disproven. Again, these marks are not definitive at this stage.


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The Collections and Books:

During his lifetime, Poe planned, but never published a collection of his literary notices. A posthumous collection, edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold, incorporates a few of his reviews, taken from the material Poe had accumulated for “Literary America.” These collections are listed chronologically.


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The Criticism:

These items are arranged alphabetically by the name of the tale. Within each name, the items are listed chronologically. A few tales were published by Poe under more than one name, or under a name assigned by later editors. These tales are listed under the name most commonly used.


Scroll down, or select letter:


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~~ B ~~


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~~ C ~~


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~~ D ~~


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~~ E ~~


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~~ F ~~


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~~ H ~~


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~~ I ~~


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~~ J ~~


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~~ O ~~


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~~ V ~~


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~~ W ~~


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Related Material:


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Bibliography:

  • Edsall, Thomas, ed., The Poe Catalogue, Baltimore: The 19th Century Shop, 1992. (This catalogue includes a few reprints of material which are not noted elsewhere.)
  • Harrison, James A[lbert]., ed, The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 17 vols, New York: T. Crowell, 1902.
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943. (The best overall bibliography of Poe, although it does contain errors and is somewhat outdated.)
  • Hull, William Doyle, II, A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, With a Study of Poe as Editor and Reviewer, unpublished doctoral disseration for  University of Virginia, 1941.
  • Pollin, Burton R., ed., The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe; Vols. III & IV- The Broadway Journal: Non-Fictional Prose, New York: Gordian Press, 1986; Vol. V - The Southern Literary Messenger: Non-Fictional Prose, New York: Gordian Press, 1997.
  • Thompson, G. Richard, ed., Essays and Reviews, New York: The Library of America, 1984. (A good basic collection.)
  • Vines, Lois D., ed., Poe Abroad: Influence, Reputation, Affinities, Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999. (An extremely useful compendium of articles by various authors, divided by country or region.)
  • Woodberry, George E[dward]. and Stedman, Edmund Clarence, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 10 vols, Chicago, 1894-1895. (Reprinted in 1903 and 1914.)

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - The Literary Criticism of Edgar Allan Poe