Text: William Doyle Hull II, “Part II, Chapter II,” A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1941), pp. 250-274


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[page 250:]

VOLUME VI: JANUARY, 1840 THROUGH JUNE, 1840.

JANUARY, 1840.

* 63. ALCIPHRON, A POEM. BY THOMAS MOORE.

Reviewing Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems in Graham’s for April, 1842, Poe wrote: “. . . in ‘Burton’s Magazine’ some two years since, we treated this point at length, in a review of Moore’s ‘Alciphron’ . . .” (H, XI, 79; GM, XX, 249). The reference in the critique of “Alciphron” to that of Drake, in the April, 1836, Messenger, and the quoting from it has already been noted.(1) “Marginalia” has a passage compounded from this review:(2) XVI, 27, 11.5-9, almost exact from X, 68, 11.10-15. XVI, 27, 11.13-24, almost exact from X, 68, 1.31 to 69, 1.9. XVI, 27, 11.26-29, from X, 69, 11.27-20, with the last two lines altered, XVI, 27, 11.30-3:5, altered from X, 70, 32 to 71, 1.3.(3)

In the Broadway Journal, January 18, 1845, review of Willis. Poe made use of another section of the “Alciphron.” XII, 37, 1.16, to 38, 1.6, from X, 61, 1.29 to 62, 1.20, with only slight changes save for the omission in the Journal of the three line reference to Bielfeld, for which two lines are supplied. The first twenty lines of this passage are found [page 251:] in “Literati,”(1) after the Journal version. Again, “The Poetic Principle” has a paragraph which develops the idea advanced in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the review (H, XIV, 282).

A CONTINUATION OF THE MEMOIRS OF CHARLES MATHEWS, COMEDIAN.

Burton reviewed in the February, 1839, number to the length of five pages The Memoirs of Charles Mathews, Comedian, by his wife; in March of the same year he printed a second review, three pages long. Having been acquainted with(2) and therefore especially interested in Mathews, it is most likely that Burton should have done also the third notice of his fellow-comedian’s memoirs, which is given to Poe by Harrison and Robertson. However rushed for time Burton may have been, this notice would not have proved exacting. Consisting of only twelve lines plus a long quoted passage, it offers no evidence of anything more than a cursory reading. In fact the reviewer begins:

This continuation is undoubtedly a good thing, but some what too much of a good thing . . . This extensive amount of memorandum would be amply sufficient in regard to the most conspicuous character that ever existed . . . the mass of Boswell-like detail with which Mrs. Mathews has overwhelmed us. Those who do not like the twaddle can skip it (BGM, VI, 57).

The concluding sentences are in the complacent tone of the remarks on the ethics of criticism in the Keepsake review: [page 252:]

We can better spare the space for these passages, as the book-publishing world and its concerns seem to be somewhat in abeyance just at present. We critics are beginning to have an idle time of it. If some poor devil authors do not soon turn up we shall die of inanition (BGM, VI, 57).

This pontifical sort of an attitude I do not recognize in Poe.

64. THE GOVERNESS. BY THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON.

This notice begins:

We like the ‘Governess’ much better than any thing we have as yet seen from the pen of Mr. Willis’ pet, the countess of Blessington . . . In general this lady is only remarkable for the tranquility of her style, end should be put at the hee o he school of the quietists (BGM, VI, 58).

Twice Burton had reviewed the Countess: in February, 1838, and May, 1839. In both he praised her without reserve, In the former he said:

Vivacity and graceful ease are conspicuous on every page, and the old lady (a character) (1) chatters . . . with the most bewitching garulity. (BGM, II, 189).

The January reviewer says further:

We never knew her, before this last attempt, get out of the every-day, slow-and-sure, good-old-fashioned, creep-easy fog-trot of the most orthodox and commendable commonplace (BGM, VI, 58).

The inconsistency points to Poe authorship.

65. TALES OF THE GROTESQUE AND ARABESQUE. BY EDGAR A. POE.

Messieurs L. and B. have .just issued twenty-five brief stories, having the above title, which pretty well indicates their general character (BGM, VI, 58).

This brief notice (I have quoted all of it) of the appearance of the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque is, I think, Poe’s. [page 253:]

For January Poe claims nine pages. According to my count there are nearly three pages of reviews, amour of The Journal of Julius Rodman, and a little over two of the Sports article —— nine pages in all. This is of little value in determining the authorship of the “Memoirs:” excluding the long quotation it occupies only a fourth of a page; consequently in a rough estimate it would make little difference one way or another.

FEBRUARY, 1840.

66. WHERE HUDSON’S WAVE, IDA: A SCENA.

We predict for it universal popularity, in the strictest sense of the term — as well as that more valuable popularity which arises from the known opinions of those who are best competent to judge. The simplicity, strength, and grace of “Ida” have rarely been equally (BGM, VI, 100).

The “Marginalia” version of the December, 1839, review of Morris concluded: “In quiet grace and unaffected tenderness, I know no American poem which excels the following . . .” (H, XVI, 140) ; he then quotes “Ida“. This five-line notice is typical of Poe.

67. A MONOGRAPH OF THE LIMNIADES, AND OTHER FRESH WATER UNIVALVE SHELLS OF N. AMERICA. BY S. STEDMAN HALDEMAN.

When one sees the title of this review the conchology affair immediately suggests Poe, and internal evidence adds conviction. The first paragraph states the aim, the publication and typographical details, and the price; the [page 254:] second appraises the value. In the July, 1839, notice of Wyatt’s Synopsis of Natural History is this sentence: “It cannot be denied that a synopsis such as he now puts forth has been long a desideratum” (BGM, V, 61). In this notice:

There can be no doubt that a good illustrated description of our Fresh Water Univalves is a desideratum — but we are not sure that Mr. Haldeman is altogether upon the right track (BGM, VI, 100).

This last clause introduces a censure on the author for following the terminations of Conrad and Binney, with a characterization of Deshayes’ suggestion for improving nomenclature as involving “a proposition far more easily dreamed of than executed” (BGM, VI, 100). Poe concludes:

Nevertheless Mr. Haldeman cannot give us accurate descriptions and delineations of the branch of Malacology in question, without accomplishing a good work — however he may differ from our own notions in regard to that ever-vexed and ever-vexing question of classification (BGM, VI, 100).

* 68. VOICES OF THE NIGHT. BY HENRY LONG FELLOW.

This review really needs no evidence of an external sort to establish its authenticity as a Poe piece; however, such evidence does exist, and it is more convincing to use it than the internal which is equally convincing and more voluminous. In the review Poe writes:

Our general conclusion is one similar to that which ‘Hyperion’ induced, and which we stated, of late, in a concise notice of that book (BGM, VI, 100). [page 255:]

As has been proved, all of the October, 1839, reviews, among which is “Hyperion,” are Poe’s. In “Marginalia”(1) Poe points out five additional sources for “Midnight Mass for the Dying Year” (H, XVI, 74).

DIARY IN AMERICA. FIRST AND SECOND PARTS. BY CAPTAIN MARRYATT.

Harrison and Robertson give to Poe the one and a half page review of Marryatt’s Diary in America. Campbell gave it to Poe in his canon; he later repudiated the attribution: “There is neither internal nor external evidence to support the ascription of the item to Poe.”(2) I have no hesitation in assigning it to Burton. In an August, 1837, notice of Snarleyyou (sic), Burton announced that Marryatt had “entered the copyright in his own name” (BGM, I, 144). If it should be pirated, continued Burton, the Captain would prosecute the

offenders. In this review:

. . . .we assert that Captain Marryatt visited the United States for the express and avowed purpose of securing the copyright of his works. . . (he) declared himself a citizen of the despised democratic land, and in that character, sued for an injunction on Messrs. Cooley and Bang, who had issued what he termed a pirated edition of his novel of Snarley-yow (sic) (BGM, VI, 104).

The attitude toward the Englishman in the 1837 and the May, 1839, reviews is consistent with that in the February, 1840.

This review is loose and discursive. Your of the seven paragraphs are concerned with gossip, relayed in a malicious [page 256:] tone, about the Captain’s tour through America. The reviewer is taken with virtuous indignation because the Captain declared in England “that his great object in writing his book was to do serious injury to the cause of democracy,!” (BGM, VI, 104). In reference to Marryatt’s declaring himself “a citizen of the despised democratic land,” the reviewer exclaims vindictively:

For this impudent assumption of civic rights in the United States, he has just been compelled to pay about eighty pounds sterling in England (BGM, VI, 104).

It is not easy to imagine Poe’s being irritated to such an extent by such matters.

The reviewer does something I have not seen in a Poe review:

Paul Pry, the tiresome eaves-dropping, ignorant and impudent meddler, visited his friend Witherton to ask him about a double tooth with which he had been bothered; the officious fool recasined some time in idle and offensive chatter, and after he had taken his departure, discovered that he had never asked Mr. Witherton about the tooth after all. Captain tfarryatt, in the management of his democratic effects, has closely followed Mr. Paul Pry and the double tooth (BGM, VI, 104).

Nor would Poe have written this:

Serious criticism upon the trash; works before us is beneath even the very little dignity wherewith we clothe our editorial sieves. (BGM, VI, 104).

This tone we have found in other Burton reviews, There are rather characteristic of the manner of the whole:

Captain Marryatt’s progress through the United States was to him a passage of mortification and disgrace — the the [[sic]] lovers of literature, and to the hospitable who delight in the exercise of civilities, to the worthies of every clime, his presence was a blight [page 257:] and his departure a relief . .. The honest captain, who was so eager to sell his patriotism for filthy lucre which he expected to derive from the sale of his works, did not complete his venal act. He found that citizenship must be combined with length of residence to ensure a power of copyright; and he therefore suddenly blazed afresh with patriotic fire, and joined the troops of his monarch in their strongholds in Canada, from whence(1) he fulminated(2) paper thunderbolts against the people whose civic privileges he had vainly endeavored to assume (BGM, VI, 104-105).

The irritation, the diffuseness, the repetition, the ‘fulminating’ against windmills — these give the article to Burton.

THE SPITFIRE. BY CAPTAIN CHAMIER.

The notice of Captain Chamier’s The Spitfire, again seems to be Burtons. Eleven of the fourteen lines constitute an incoherent sort of a fumble:

We rather object to the moral bearing of the whole affair, although we dissent in toto from the ‘poetical justice’ so universally awarded to all villains in the fifth acts of plays, and the last chapters of romances — we know too much of life to countenand‘e the impossibilities put forth by the play-wrights and novelists of this and every age — villains do not always, nor even generally, meet with punishment and shame in reality, and we should have been pleased if Captain Chamier had courageously dep::rted from this common-place fiction and uncommon reality, and exhibited the success of an impudent rogue over the tactics of a modest and virtuous man, if such-a-one is to be found in the world. But the ob, ieetion which we have alluded to is the author’s attempt at investing the character of a pirate and a out-throat with the attributes of a hero and a deserving man — of endeavoring to excite the sympathies of the reader in behalf of this common ruffian — and finally, marrying him to an amiable warm-hearted girl. And this is against nature, and beneath the skill of the weaver of fiction (BGM, VI, 105).

The notice begins: “A lively, pleasant, chit-chatty sort of a book . . .” (BGM, VI, 105) ; in the July, 1840, notice of Jesse’s [page 258:] Memoirs, Burton has: “. . . the lively chit-chat . ..” (BGM, VII, 54). The second sentence of the present review: “There is a sufficiency of sentimental. pirates, lovely and ill-used ladies, sailor’s yarns, shipwrecks, and cross old gentlemen to satisfy the severest Aristarchus, .., ” (BGM, VI, 105), Burton’s notice of Concealment in the August, 1839, issue begins: “This novel is of the Billy Lackaday school of perfection —— full of Anna Marias, angelic captains, and seraphic situations” (BGM, V, 112). A review of a Lady Morgan novel in July, 1840, has: “She was denounced by the Aristarchs of the age . . .” (BGM, VII, 53).

69. THE PHILOSOPHY OF HUMAN LIFE. BY AMOS DEAN.

The brief notice of The Philosophy of Human Life is patently Poe’s:

Mr. Dean rejects some portions of the phrenological doctrines of Combe, but bases his work, as a whole, upon the positions of that extraordinary mind (BGM, VI, 105).

This Burton did not write. In August, 1840, he reviewed with boisterous ridicule a work of Combe; phrenology he considered humbuggery. One sentence will serve to illustrate the manner of the notice in hand:

But with this brief and general commendation we must, in a great measure content ourselves; for the very character of the work lies in its luminous and closely logical order — to disturb which by way of instancing its merit, would be an illogical way of proceeding (BGM, VI, 105). [page 259:]

(?) 70. PICTURES OF EARLY LIFE. BY MRS. EMMA C. EMBURY.

This next notice could be either Burton’s or Poe’s, It is more probable, I think, particularly on account of position, that it is Poe’s. It consists of one quoted and one original sentence,

71. THE U. S. MILITARY MAGAZINE, AND RECORD OF ALL THE VOLUNTEERS.

“The U, S, Military Magazine,” seven lines long, should be compared with the December notice of the same periodical. Here: “The last number — does great credit to the publishers” (BGM, VI, 105) ; there: “The lest number is very creditable to all concerned in its publication” (BGM, V, 333). Here: “The other embellishments are, also, well done — ” (BGM, VI, 106) ; there: “The embellishments, too, are well done” (BGM, V, 333-334). Here: “Altogether the Military Magazine appears to be well conducted, and we understand that it receives a very extensive support . . .” (BGM, VI, 106) ; there: “We believe that the Military Magazine is well supported, and it certainly deserves support” (BGM, V, 334).

* 72. SACRED PHILOSOPHY OF THE SEASONS. BY THE REV. HENRY DUNCAN.

This will be discussed with the March notices,

73. THE FRIGHT. BY ELLEN PICKERING.

This notice has already been given to Poe.(1) [page 260:]

For February Poe cannot have counted all of the reviews. Excluding extracts there are about five and a half pages; The Journal [[of Julius Rodman]] and “Peter Pendulum” occupy eight: this makes one and a half pages more than the twelve which Poe claims. According to my canon there are three and two thirds pages of reviews; with the stories this makes eleven and two thirds pages. Add to this the half page of the Sports article, and one gets Poe’s count with a negligible remainder of a sixth of a page.

MARCH, 1840.

* 74. SACRED PHILOSOPHY OF THE SEASONS. BY THE REV. HENRY DUNCAN.

The February review of Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons ends; “We shall speak farther of these volumes in our March number” (BGM, VI, 106). The March review begins:

In our last number we had barely room to acknowledge the reception of this valuable work, and to speak of it in general terms of commendation, A careful perusal has since assured us that we did not err in our opinion (BGM, VI, 151).

The third paragraph of the second review Poe revised and included in “Marginalia.”(1)

This mistranslation, and several others upon the same topic, we pointed out ourselves, not very long ago, in an article in the New York Review (BGM, VI, 151).

This refers to “Stephens’ Arabia Petraea,” printed in October, 1837, and the Hebraic material Poe had gotten from Dr. Anthon. All of the material in paragraphs six and seven Poe rewrote [page 261:] from the earlier review. ”Incidents of Travel in Central America(1) incorporates the information concerning the prophecies, paraphrased from the review of Stephens. In another “Marginalia”(2) Poe used the material as it appeared in the Burton’s review; XVI, 63, 11.18-28 slightly altered from X, 83, 11.4-14. XVI, 64, 1, 13-65, 1.5, slightly altered from 1, 83, 1, 21 to 84, 1.13. XVI, 65, 11.620, expanded from X, 84, 11.14-18. XVI, 65, 1.21 to 66.1.5, almost exact from X, 84, 11.29-26.

75. MEMOIRS AND REMINISCENCES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. BY MADAM TUSSAUD. EDITED BY FRANCIS HERVE.

This nine-line notice is, I think, Poe’s. The prose is compact, the whole being in the Poe manner. There is nothing to suggest Burton.

76. THE LETTER BAG OF THE GREAT WESTERN. BY JUDGE HALIBURTON.

No similarities can be found between this review and the two reviews of Judge Haliburton by Burton.(3) The first phrase is reminiscent of the Messenger period; “This lively and piquant little book” (BGM, VI, 152). Poe’s extreme dislike for the “affectation” of dedications has been noted. Here the reviewer is so delighted with the dedication which is “a piece of biting satire as well as capital burlesque, ” that he quotes twelve lines of it. The general criticism supports Poe’s authorship: [page 262:]

The letters themselves are varied in every respect but one —— that of a ‘broad, an excessively broad burlesque. They are supposed to be written by all kinds of odd characters, and are somewhat entertaining . . . A ‘Letter from a traveller before he has travelled’ is a farcical affair, satirizing the Trollope and Marryatt race (BGM, VI, 152).

With this last sentence compare one from the October review of Travels in North America: “. . . . the twaddle of the Trollopes, and the flat flasehoods and miserable inanities of the Marryatts . . .” (BGM, V, 227). Again:

The mere style of Judge Haliburton is not so good as it might be. There is a looseness about it which especially detracts from its piquancy and force, He misses many a fine point through want of epigrammatism (sic). His coarseness is digusting [[disgusting]]. In the Latin mo to on the title page is a blunder which has an awkward appearance (BGM, VI, 153).

77. TRIALS OF THE HEART. BY MRS. BRAY.

The eight-line notice of Mrs. Bray’s Trials of the Heart may not seem, from internal evidence, decidedly Poe’s. The strongest evidence for his authorship may be its position in the midst of five Poe reviews. It is, nevertheless, typically Poe and may be given him with no hesitation. The first four lines compare Mrs. Bray’s reputation in England and America, and quote judgments of English periodicals. The review concludes:

The general title of the book, and its ground-word, are deduced from the personal experience of the lady-author herself, who his been called upon to endure more than usually falls to the lot of mortality. This [page 263:] circumstance gives, in many cases, a painful vraisemblance, and consequently a deep interest to her stories (BGM, VI, 153).

78. THE ROMANCE OF TRAVEL. BY N. P. WILLIS.

In the August, 1836, review of Willis’ Inklings Poe wrote:

None of them are entitled to the merit of plot. And indeed it appears an idiosyncracy in Mr. Willis that he has little feeling for incident (SLM, II, 600).

In the review of Willis’ Romance of Travel:

Its striking, yet imperfect, inconsistent, and inconsequential incidents, are strangely characteristic. As for plot, properly conceived, of that our poet never should be accused (BGM, VI, 153; GLB, XXXII, 198).

In “Literati:”(1) “He is very seldom to be caught tripping in the minor morals” (BGM, VI, 17) ; here: “In the minor morals of literature our author has scarcely a superior in America” (BGM, VI, 153). The whole of this Burton’s notice is in keeping with the tone and attitude of earlier and later Poe reviews of Willis. Two passages may be quoted as typical of the review and characteristic of Poe:

There is a dedication, very brief, to Rufus Dawes: and no preface. Altogether, there is much less of petty affectation about the outworks of the book than was at one time usual with Mr. Willis (BGM, VI, 153).

All this is very good — it might have been better, to be sure — but still it is very good. The catastrophe is over — the story is ended. No — the writer has yet five words as usual to say of himself, ‘I felt My brain reel!’ Body of Bacchus!(2) — we were talking a about the crushing of a fellow creature to death, and not about those everlasting brains of Mr. Willis. Who cares the matter of two pence [page 264:] halfpenny whether that gentleman has any brain at all? (BGM, VI, 154).

The evidence here, taken altogether, warrants, I think, the inclusion of this notice in the canon with an asterisk.

79. RAMBLES IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DON QUIXOTE. BY H. D. INGLIS.

Although there is little actual writing from which to draw conclusions and no external evidence sage tact of position, the notice of Inglis’ Rambles in the Footsteps of Don Quixote, made up largely of citations, is clearly Poe’s, not Burton’s; note the opening sentences:

This is not, as one might suppose from the title, a road-book, describing with statistical accuracy the hamlets, ventas, and posadas, which the author visited in the romantic footsteps of the Knight of La Mancha. It is the work of a mind capable of relishing the inimitable humor of Cervantes, and of enjoying with perfect gusto the beautiful and grotesque images with which the adventures of Don Quixote abound (BGM, VI, 154).

Counting all the reviews as Poe’s, four pages; The Journal [[of Julius Rodman]], four and three fifths; and “A Chapter on Science and Art, ” two; one gets practically Poe’s estimate, eleven pages. The Sports articles have been discontinued.

APRIL, 1840.

PERILS IN THE WOODS: OR THE EMIGRANT FAMILY’S RETURN.

Captain Marryatt has declared that he wrote his book on America with an avowed, purpose of disgusting his countrymen with the practices of democracy. The author of ‘Perils in the Woods’ has undoubtedly written his equally erudite work for the purpose of deterring the better sort of agriculturists from emigration; and like the honest Captain, has not scrupled to employ the coarsest and most improbable means (BGM, VI, 199).

This at once connects the first of the April criticisms with [page 265:] Burton’s review of Diary in America. Having continued his comparison, the reviewer says of the author of Perils:

The other scribbler has robbed every book of marvellous travel that chanced to come in his way, and hassliced (sic) a variety of ancient and modern wonders into the history of an emigrant family squatting in the western wilds — but this farrago is not even amusing; the developed ignorance is so potent that it ‘quite O‘er crows‘(1) the attention necessary to a perusal of the most common-place matters (BGM, VI, 199).

This last sentence is not Poe. The critic shows a fondness for “sapient;” “. . . . the father. . . . very sapiently purchases a swamp. . . . the sapient emigrants purchase a small one-horse wagon to carry seven persons (BGM, VI, 199).

This was a favorite word with Burton.(2)

We are happy to inform our readers that this interesting party has returned safely to their native land; the recital of their wondrous adventures has had the desired effect upon the nerves of their country neighbors; and the official returns of emigration have been sriously [[seriously]] reduced since the publication of the work entitled ‘Perils in the Woods’ (BGM, VI, 199) .

So ends the review. The whole is in that vein of humor which seems to me characteristic of Burton.

PILGRIMAGE TO JERUSALEM AND MOUNT SINAI. BY BARON GERAMB.

. . . . disgusted with the world, he declined all farther contests in the military or political arenas., he sojourned for sixteen years in the gloomy cells of the Trappist monastery, and conformed to its rigid and soul-wearying ordinances and mortifications . . . misfortunes and sickness continued to clog his path . . . We do not pronounce the ‘pilgrimage’ the best book on the Holy Land extant, but it is more devoted in its purpose than any other work on the same subject . . . We are happy [page 266:] to state that the policy. of Louis Philippe has permitted the re-establishment of the moastery of the Mount of Olives, and the pere Marie Joseph is once more in holy communion with his silent bretheren of La Trappe (BGM, VI, 200).

This last sentence of thus quotation from “Pilgrimage to Jerusalem” suggests that of the preceding review. Both seem Burton’s.

THE PATHFINDER. BY J. F. COOPER.

“The Pathfinder,” again, bears Burton’s seal:

Queen Elizabeth was delighted with Shakspeare’s Falstaff, and desired the dramatist to present the obese knight in situations submissive to the blind boy god; Mr. Cooper has, in the Pathfinder, delineated his animiable Leather-stocking as bending too the power of love — (BGM, VI, 200).

As has been noted, Burton frequently decorates his reviews with analogies or illustrations perfect or imperfect, most often drawn from his dramatic lore — and the phraseology is also Burton’s. Three other passages should be examined:

. . . . the unseccessful [[unsuccessful]] termination of his course of wooing accounts for the melancholy tinge that is apparent ip all his various scenes of life — Leather-stocking’s career is now perfect; unless Mr, Cooper should give us another antecedent history, and develope [[sic]] the passages of his hero’s juvenility . . . Mr. Cooper has indulged in much delineation of character — indeed, characteristic varieties are not his strongest points . . . (BGM, VI, 200).

Not even in a perfunctory review is Poe guilty of such crudities.

A WORD TO WOMEN, THE LOVE OF THE WORLD, AND OTHER GATHERINGS. BY CAROLINE FRY.

. . . . the unforgiving severity of cars. pry’s code would terrify s Trappist, and frighten the most frigid of nuns into fits (BGM, VI, 200). [page 267:]

this may suggest that the critic had recently read a Trappist monk’s Pilgrimage. The first two sentences typifying the notice reveal it as Burton’s in their fustian and un-Poe-like rhythm:

Mrs. Fry, the author of this work,(1) has acquired a sort, of reputation in England(2) as the chaperone of magdalens(3) and repentant jail birds, whom when fairly cages and prohibited from the present exercise of their ingenious professions, pretend a desire of participation in the spiritual goods (sic) things of the amateur missionary of Newgate, knowing that a submission to her ritual is necessarily connected with certain supplies of tea, coffee, money and books, of material assistance in the melioration of strict prison discipline, Unfortunately, her proselytes seldom retain their pious practices when away from their jail preceptor — the parliamentary evidence, lately elicited before a committee in the matter of prison government, affords testimony that Mrs, Fry’s eleves [[elves]] generally turn out the most confirmed paw-paws in the annals of crime (BGM, VI, 200).

DIARY OF THE REV. JOHN WARD. (?)

The next notice, that of John Ward’s Diary, is not particularly distinctive. The reviewer announces:

The principal inducement to the publication of the late Mr. Ward’s common-place books has been a casual mention of Shakspear (BGM, VI, 201).

Ten of the fourteen lines and the only citation concern Shakespear. Landor, the critic asserts, would sketch a certain [page 268:] “scene with great power. and is perhaps, the only writer of the day who would do it characteristically” (BGM, VI, 201). Burton expressed his admiration for Landor in a review in the May, 1839, issue; his preoccupation with Shakespear need not be mentioned. One phrase seems especially unlike Poe: “loungers amid literature” (BGM, VI, 201).

EVERY DAY LIVE IN LONDON. BY JAMES GRANT.

In the August, 1839, Poe review of Grant’s Sketches of London: “All the words of Mr. Grant are readable” (BGM, V, 115). In the April notice of Grant’s Every Day Life in London:

It is a readable work . . . Nevertheless, we again affirm that ‘Every Day Life in London’ is a readable work (BGM, VI, 201-202).

In the August: “. . . he occasionally hazards a bold remark about matters of which he is stupidly ignorant” (BGM, V, 115) ; here: “. . . Mrs. Grant is not very particular in his statistical details” (BGM, VI, 201). Burton, in a March, 1838, review of Grant’s The Great Metropolis, points out errors in details, and in a May, 1839, review, he calls the work “an established humbug” (BGM, IV, 303). As an example of Grant’s inaccuracy the present reviewer quotes

His account of the Penny Theatres, a species of cheap dramatic entertainment that has lately sprung up upon the purlieus of the British Metropolis, under the patronage of the children of the lower classes, Mr. Grant sapiently(1) averages the nightly attendances at the Penny theatres(2) at twenty-four thousand persons (BGM, VI, 201). [page 269:]

The notice begins: “We have here another of Mr. Grant’s extraordinary refacimentos, or jumbles of facts and falsehoods . . .” (BGM, VI, 201). Poe spells the word “rifacimento;”(1) it occurs before in Burton in this spelling. Nor is this the sense in which Poe uses the word.

We have before reverted to the commonplaceness in Mr. Grant’s diction that sadly mars the effect of his very numerous publications. . . (BGM, VI, 201).

The sentence in Poe which most closely approaches such a remark is in “Sketches of London:” “His style is about the flattest imaginable” (BGM, II, 210). Poe does not make references to things which he has not explicitly stated. Despite the parallelisms between this and the August Poe review, this seems more probably to be Burton’s.

POOR JACK. BY CAPTAIN MARRYATT. PART L.

THE TOWER OF LONDON. BY. W. H. AINSWORTH. PART I.

In a review of Guy Fawkes(2) Poe wrote:

We have now before us a number of a Philadelphia Magazine for the month of April, 1840, in which the learned editor thus speaks of the work in question: ‘Mr. Ainsworth is a powerful writer; his ‘Crichton’ stands at the head of a long list of English novels — unapproachable and alone . . . This great glory is fairly Mr. Ainsworth’s due, and in our humble opinion the fact is incontovertible’ . . . The magazine before alluded to states it [Jack Sheppard](3) in round terms, ‘the most corrupt, flat, and vulgar fabrication in the English language . . . a disgrace to the literature of the day’ (H, X, 217). [page 270:]

The magazine referred to, of course, is Burton’s, and the quotation is from this notice of Ainsworth, quoted exactly too, save for the. omission of a few italics. Poe’s ridicule of this critical opinion makes it clear that Burton is the reviewer, the “learned editor.”

In the estimate for the April number one finds more difficulty than in that for the December. Poe claims seventeen pages. If one counts everything unsigned but a few poems, one gets this number: all the reviews, four pages; The Journal [[of Julius Rodman]], five; “A Chapter on Science and Art, ” two; “Omniana, ” one and a third; “Silence” (the poem), a fourth; “A Critical Notice of the Picture Galleries of the North of Europe. by a Recent Visiter,” four and two thirds. This last article cannot be definitely denied Poe, Perhaps, on the grounds of style; nor is the signing of the article “By a Recent Visiter” prohibitive in itself. But there is no evidence that it is Poe’s. It can be linked with no other of his works; it would have been unlike Poe not to make later use of such a store of material, did he possess it. Only if this article could be proved definitely not Poets would it be safe, .were Poe’s estimates accepted as exact, to assign the reviews to Burton in the absence of conclusive external evidence. However, in the light of certain errors in the table which have been noted and of the nature of the letter, it is justifiable to deny Poe these reviews. [page 271:]

MAY, 1840.

* 80. A NOTICE OF WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT. BY EDGAR A. POE.

81. THE DUKE. BY MRS. GREY.

This brief notice is characteristically Poe:

Mrs. Grey is an authoress of no mean ability, and ‘The Duke’ proves it, ., The Duke himself is especially well drawn, and the general incidents of the book are such as to induce an earnest attention in a general but irresistable manner . . . . This novel upon the whole puts us in mind of one of the finest creations of British intellect — the ‘Ellen Wareham’ of Lady Dacre — a tale to be found in that clever writer’s ‘Tales of a Chaperon.’ We could scarcely pay Mrs. Grey a higher compliment than this — yet a full compliment was not our design. (BGM, VI, 248) .

Poe’s high opinion of “Ellen Wareham,” several times repeated has already been noted.(1)

* 82. MEMOIRS AND LETTERS OF MADAME MALIBRAN. BY THE COUNTESS DE MERLIN.

Twnety-eight [[Twenty-eight]] lines of this review Poe used almost without change in “Marginalia:”(2) XVI, 441.24 to 45, 1.22 from X, 91, 1.13 to 92, 1.12.

83. THE UTILITY OF CLASSICAL STUDIES. AN ADDRESS. BY N. C. BROOKS. THE UNCERTAINTY OF LITERARY FAME. A POEM. BY C. W. THOMPSON [[Thomson]].

. . . . we really know of nothing; superior to the ‘Obsequies of Shelley‘. . .These stanzas evince powers of a noble order, and n all that: regards the minor morals of literature(3) may be cited as a model. In especial, the stately and well balanced march of the rhythm tells of a ear finely attuned to the delicacies of melody. (BGM, VI, 250). [page 272:]

In “Autography”(1) Poe singles “The Obsequies of Shelley” out for especial commendation (see H, XV, 225). A few more quotations will suffice to indicate Poets authorship:

Its style is elaborate and ornate, but particularly correct . . . With the general arguments of the thesis we only partially accord, and with some of its detached positions, we totally disagree. . .The argument — the uncertainty of literary reputation — is made out with skill —— the versification is sweet and forcible — the whole every thing tinat the most ardent admirers of the writer could expect or desire (BGM, VI, 250).

84. THE FLORIST’S GUIDE.

Six lines long, is probably Poe’s; he seems to have been particularly fond of noticing such things.

85. FRANK: OR DIALOGUES BETWEEN FATHER AND SON. BY JAMES PEDDER.

This last notice is, I think, also Poe’s.

Their pamphleted good things have lain buried and perdus — for six or seven weeks we believe — under a huge pile of mere lumber done up in boards (BGM, VI, 250).

The phrase “good things” is typically Poe; “lumber” he used for books that should have never been printed in the review of Bland’s Chancery Reports.(2) The whole of the eleven lines is like Poe.

All the reviews, tree pages; “A Chapter on Science and Art, ” two; “The Philosophy of Furniture,” two and a half; “Omniana, ” two ; and The Journal [[of Julius Rodman]], five, make Poe’s estimate, fourteen pages. This does not include the plate article, ” A [page 273:] Notice of William Cullen Bryant,” two and a half pages. It may be that Poe did not count one of the compilation articles; the notice, however, is itself little more: it consists of a sketchy chronology of the poet’s life, a few general reviews drawn from the Messenger review, end a thirty-three line quotation from it.

JUNE, 1840.

86. THE YOUTH OF SHAKESPEARE.

This notice has already been given to Poe,

(?) 87. THE PROUD LADYE: AND OTHER POEMS. BY SPENCER WALLACE CONE.

The second June notice, “The Proud Ladye, ” cannot, I think, from internal evidence be defintely [[definitely]] placed. Brief, it is obviously a hastily gotten up affair. Two sentences seem typical of Poe:

And here again is a passage which breathes the true soul of poetry, and gives evidence of a purity of taste as well as a vigor of thought which may lead to high eminence in the end . . . The poem of the ‘Proud Ladye’ has, we are forced to say, many minor, and some very serious defects; and of these we would say more, did we not regard them rather as the results of deficient practice than of false conception or bad taste (BGM, VI, 294).

* 88. HIGH-WAYS AND BY-WAYS. BY GRATTAN.

Mr. Campbell has pointed out that this notice, area incorporated in “Marginalia, ” but his statement is misleading: “This article subsequently appeared either verbatim or in a paraphrase in two separate instalments [[installments]] of the Marginalia.”(1) In that in the Democratic Review, December, 1844, fifteen lines (XVI, 63, 11.3-17) are revised from BGM, VI, 294, 11, 39-46 and [page 274:] 11, 50-53; The version in the Messenger, April, 1849, is closer: XVI, 140, 1.30 to 141, 1.17, from BGM, VI, 294, 11.39-46 and 11.50-55. XVI, 141, 11.7-9 are not found in the review,

The fact that it is sandwiched between two Poe reviews, and that it fills out an empty third page in the required nine for the June, give it to Poe in all likelihood.

Counting all of the reviews, the complete article, “Stonehenge,” The Journal [[of Julius Rodman]], and “Omniana,” one tallies with Poe’s estimate, nine pages. There is no evidence that Poe contributed anything to the critical department of Burton’s Gentlemen Magazine after the June number.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 250:]

1.  See pages

2.  DR, November, 1844.

3.  These references are to the Harrison printing.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 252:]

1.  The parentheses are mine.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 255:]

1.  GLB, September, 1845.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 257:]

1.  Note the pleonasm.

2.  Burton used this word in his review of Cooper’s Home as Found (BGM, IV, 66).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 258:]

1.  Poe’s February, 1840, review of Sacred philosophy of the Seasons parallels this phrase: ‘‘luminous arrangement” (BGM, VI, 106).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 259:]

1.  See page 235.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 260:]

1.  DR, November, 1844. H, XVI, 11.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 261:]

1.  GM, August, 1841, H, X, 178.

2.  DR, December, 1844.

3.  BGM, I, 427: IV, 249.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 263:]

1.  GLB, May, 1846.

2.  It will be remembered that Poe used this expression in the “Marginalia” version of his criticism of Simms’ aesthetic attitude toward oysters.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 265:]

1.  This Shakespearian quotation points to Burton.

2.  Cf. BGM, VII, 53, et passim.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 266:]

1.  Note the inconsistency in the use of the hyphen.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 267:]

1.  “A Word to Women.”

2.  Burton had been out of England only seven years.

3.  Cf. “Marginalia, ” DR, November, 1844: “To persist in calling these places ‘Ma-dal isylumsl is absurd, and worse. We have no reason to believe that Mary Magdalen ever sinned as supposed, or that she is the _;person alluded to in the seventh chapter of Luke (H.-‘n, 8),

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 268:]

1.  Cf. “Perils.”

2.  Note the inconsistency in capitalization.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 269:]

1.  See H, X, 92, et passim.

2.  GM, November, 1841.

3.  The parentheses are mine.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 271:]

1.  See page 90.

2.  GM, December, 1841.

3.  A favorite phrase with Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 272:]

1.  GM, December, 1841.

2.  See SLM, October, 1836, II, 731.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 273:]

1.  K. Campbell, op. cit., Nation, XCIII, 362. [[This footnote is missing from the original, but has been supplied editorially as the source of the quotation given in the text. Hull does insert a number for the footnote, but entirely omits the note itself.]]


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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)