Text: William Doyle Hull II, “Part II, Chapter II,” A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1941) , pp. 223-224


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[page 223:]

CHAPTER II: AN EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCE FOR POE REVIEWS IN BURTON’S GENTLEMAN’S MAGAZINE
 
VOLUME IV: JANUARY, 1839, TO JUNE, 1839.

There is no evidence that Poe contributed to Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine before the July, 1839, number, except for the Burton-Poe letter of May 30, 1839. The fact that Poe had written one review for the June number which had been rejected rather makes it seem likely than unlikely that he did some others which Burton made-use of.

JUNE, 1839.

1. THE PHANTOM SHIP. BY CAPTAIN MARRYATT.

This review I am convinced is Poe’s:

Per contra, we have evidence, upon every page of the numerous volumes which which [[sic]] he has surfeited the public, of a miserable. mental inanity, a positive baldness of thought, an utter absence of all lofty imagination, an inconsequence of narration . . . (BGM, IV, 359) .

With the phrase “a miserable mental inanity” compare, from the October Poe review of Marrryatt’s Travels this: “the flat falsehoods and miserable inanities of the Marryatts. . .” (BGM, V, 227) . In the following one recognizes Poe’s mania for carefully defining such value terms as popularity: [page 224:]

In short, Captain Marryatt seems born to show the age the abundant falsity of that old dogma which esteems the popularity, or, more striotly, the circulation of a book, a proper and sufficient test of its merit (BGM, IV, 359) .

The concluding criticism is, I think, typically Poe: Burton does not write like this:

The Phantom Ship has ‘been too long before our readers to need an extended notice. The old legend of the Flying Dutchman (a legend, by the bye, possessing; all the rich materiel which a vigorous imagination could desire) is worked up with so many of the pitiable niaiseries upon which we have commented, that few persons of disciplined intellect will derive from the medley any other impressions than those of the ridiculous and outre. The story, however, is by no means the worst from the pen of Captain Marryatt, and thus far we most unequivocally recommend it. At all events it is a somewhat more creditable production than that unfortunate Diary of a Blaze (BGM, IV, 359) .

? 2. THE UNITED STATES MILITARY MAGAZINE FOR MAY.

This is merely a notice of the appearance of the Military Magazine; there is nothing to mark it as Burton’s or as Poe’s, save for the fact that Poe reviewed it twice later, in December, 1839, and February, 1840.

 


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[S:0 - CCWEAP, 1941] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - A Canon of the Critical Works of EAP (W. D. Hull) (Part II, Chapter II)