The Raven and Other Poems (1845)


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This volume was issued on November 19, 1845, about four months after his Tales (1845) by the same publisher. The number of copies printed is uncertain. Apparently, only 750 copies were planned, but this number was perhaps raised to about 1,500 in anticipation of demand based on the success of Poe’s Tales . The volume was initially issued separately with pink paper wraps. Beginning sometime early in 1846, it was issued in hard covers, bound together with the earlier Tales . The original sale price was 31 cents for the separate volume, and $1.00 for the double volume.

The Raven and Other Poems (1845)

There are at least two known presentation copies, both of the double volume: (1) Poe to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, “To Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, With the Respects of Edgar A. Poe” (April 1846);  (2) Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman, “To Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman — from the most devoted of her friends. Edgar A. Poe.” (with the name “Stannard” added in Poe’s hand to the title of “To Helen”). (Sarah H. Whitman inscribed this copy many years later to a friend, Caleb Fiske Harris: “Sarah Helen Whitman To C. Fiske Harris. Oct 21, 1874.”) Poe’s personal copy contains a number of manuscript alterations. This copy, generally known as the J. Lorimer Graham copy, was used by R. W. Griswold in preparing his edition of The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe (1850). On the fly-leaf is Griswold’s signature, with the note “Poe’s Private copy.” Elsewhere, it also bears the name of George P. Philes, a New York dealer who appears to have sold the book to J. L. Graham sometime between 1857 and 1876. A supposed presentation copy to a “Miss Durant” was offered for sale sometime around 1942, but seems to have been discredited by Thomas Ollive Mabbott (T. O. Mabbott, “Introduction,” The Raven and Other Poems , New York: The Facsimile Text Society, 1942,  p. xviii, n 24). The alleged inscription from Poe to Sarah Virginia Durant read, “Miss Sarah Virginia Durant [/] from her very sincere friend [/] The Author” (This copy was sold in the auction of the library of A. E. Newton in 1941. The catalogue includes a facsimile of the inscription.) Another copy with a forged inscription, this one from Poe to J. D. Snodgrass, was sold in England about 1931 (Heartman and Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe , Hattiesburg, Mississippi: The Book Farm, 1943, pp. 105-106). A copy of uncertain authenticity is noted in American Book-Prices Current for 1928. This copy is in paper wrappers, presented to E. D. Webb, with Poe’s inscription on the front paper cover. It is further described as “showing wear and with front wrapper torn off; this wrapper was stitched on by Mrs. Webb and the copy passed by inhereitance directly from Mr. Webb to his grandson, W. S. Bull, consignor in this sale.” The book sold for $7,600. E. D. Webb may be a relative of James Watson Webb (1802-1884), the editor of the New York Morning Courier , who unfavorably reviewed Poe’s Poems (1831) on July 8, 1831, but collected 50 or 60 dollars as a donation for the Poe family about December of 1846. On February 11, 1848, J. W. Webb favorably noticed Poe’s lecture on the Universe (delivered February 3, 1848 at the Society Library in New York). In a letter of January 17, 1848 to H. D. Chapin, Poe expresses interest in meeting J. W. Webb and thanks Chapin for a letter of introduction, which he had then “not found an opportunity of presenting . . . thinking it best to do so when I speak to him about the lecture.”  It is certainly reasonable that Poe may have signed a copy of his most famous book at this time. The association is sufficiently obscure as to suggest that it may be a genuine item. Its current location is unknown.


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Bibliographic Data:

8vo. (7 1/2 in x 5 in). Pages [i-vii], [1]-91. Bindings: Tan paper wrappers, with printed text.


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Census of Copies:

There are many surviving copies, although copies in the original paper covers are rare. It would be impractical to attempt a complete census of copies, but here are some significant ones:

  • University of Texas (the famous copy of J. Lorimer Graham, previous owners: R. W. Griswold (his name is written in the book); George P. Phines, New York dealer (his name is written in the book); James Lorimer Graham (1835-1876); Century Club, New York (given by J. L. Graham’s widow); Miriam Lutcher Start Library at U. of TX.
  • New York Public Library (E. A. Duyckinck’s copy)
  • New York Public Library (Berg collection, inscribed copy formerly belonging to John Bisco)
  • H. Bradley Martin (bound with Tales, 1845) sold at auction in 1990 for $71,500.
  • Gimbel Collection (Martin F. Tupper’s copy of the London edition, as well as several other copies)
  • Abraham Lincoln (a copy noted in ABC )

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Bibliography:

  • Blanck, Jacob, “Edgar Allan Poe,” Bibliography of American Literature ; volume 7: James Kirke Paulding to Frank Richard Stockton, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983, p. 121. (Volume 7 is edited and completed by Virginia L. Smyers and Michael Winship.) (This book is item 16147.)
  • Heartman, Charles F and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe , Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 1943, pp. 97-108. (Reprinted, Millwood, New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1977.
  • Hubbell, Jay B., “Introduction,” Tales and The Raven and Other Poems , Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill, 1969 (a photographic facsimile edition of the two collections printed by Wiley & Putnam in 1845.)
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, volume I: Poems (1969); volumes II & III: Tales and Sketches (1978), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Editions - The Raven and Other Poems (1845)