Text: William Doyle Hull II, “Part III, Chapter II,” A Canon of the Critical Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1941), pp. 303-338


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[page 303:]

Chapter II: Commentary on the Critical Writings in Graham’ s Magazine
 
Volume XVIII

JANUARY, 1841.

* ‘MERCEDES OF CASTILE’ (sic). By J. Fennimore (sic) Cooper. CR.

In August, 1840 the Casket reviewer announced that a new book by Cooper — Mercedes — was in press:

Whatever Mr. Cooper writes is generally written well. Amid the grandeur(1) of the ocean storm, or the silence of the wilderness, surrounded by the raging billows, or enveloped by ruthless savages, he walks unequalled, ‘the thunderer of the scene’ (Cas., XVII, August, 1840). (2)

In December he printed a second notice:

Having been favored with a sight of some of the proof-sheets of this new romance by Cooper, we cannot help expressing our admiration of the subject which the writer has chosen. The novel is laid in the time of Columbus, and that distinguished navigator forms one of the principal characters. The discovery of America has long struck us as affording a fit subject for the loftiest kind of romance, and we are pleased to see one of our best authors taking hold of it. But as the novel is not yet published, we shall reserve our remarks on its full merits to another month (Cas., XVII, December, 1840).

When the reviewer wrote this last sentence, Mr. Graham, one must assume, had completed arrangements for the merger and for his new undertaking; since there is proof that the Casket reviewer contributed at least [page 304:] one review to the new magazine, it seems likely that Graham had by the time of the writing of the December notice en6aged him for further services. This reviewer, then, who remained in one capacity or another, intended doing a review of Mercedes.

Only one thing in the January review, as far as I am aware, connects it with Poe. In the Messenger, October, 1836, review of James’ Lives, he wrote:

His historical novels have been of a questionable character-neither veritable history, nor endurable romance — neither ‘fish, flesh, nor good red herring’ (SLM, II, 730; H, II, 108).

In Mercedes” the reviewer is likewise discussing the mingling of history and romance:

But the very preponderance) given to the narration of this part of the story (Columbus’ voyage) injures the work as a novel irremediably. It makes it, in short, ‘neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red-herring’ (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 98).

The Casket reviewer had used this expression four months earlier in a notice of The Fatalist: “. . . They are neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring” (Cas., XVII, September, 1840). The “Mercedes” reviewer indulges sere in a sort of inconsistency which seems to me unlike Poe. The review begins:

As a history, this work, is invaluable; as a novel, it is well nigh worthless. The author deserves credit for presenting to the public, in a readable form, so such historical information, with which, otherwise, the great mass of the community would have never become acquainted; and he ought, also, to receive proper commendation for having woven that [page 305:] information in any way whatever, into the narrative of a novel; but at the same time, if called upon to speak of his work as a romance, and not as a history, we can neither disguise from ourselves, nor from our readers, that it is, if possible, the worst novel ever penned by Mr. Cooper (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 96).

In one of the advance notices the Casket reviewer revealed his interest in early American subject-matter; a year earlier, in November, 1839, reviewing The Damsel of Darien, he pleaded for a core instructive and romantic treatment of the Spanish phase of American History.(2) Throughout “Mercedes” gratitude is expressed for the subject matter and for the treatment — “the most popular, detailed, readable history of that voyage which has yet seen the light” (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 98) ; throughout this idea is emphasized:

. . . the necessity of adhering closely to fact — is the true secret of its want of interest, for how could any hero, no matter whom, awaken our sympathy strongly, so long as Columbus figured in the same narrative:’ (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 99).

Yet, “If Columbus did not figure in the romance . . . Mercedes of Castile (sic) would be the most tame of romances” (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 99). There is no interest, he says; and yet there is: but it is created in the last half of the book —— “. . . the novel might as well have begun toward the close of the second volume. . .” (GM, XVIII, 48; H, X, 99). The reviewer does not seem here to remember that such a procedure would [page 306:] have cut out Columbus and the voyage — which gives the romance its interest.

The Graham’s reviewer writes:

We did not look for character in it, for that is not Cooper’s forte: nor did we expect that his heroine would be aught better than the inanimate thing she is . . . (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 98).

Reviewing Wyandotte in November, 1843, Poe wrote:

Maud Meredith is still better. In fact, we know no female portraiture, even in Scott, which surpasses her; and yet the world has been given to understand, by the enemies of the novelist, that he is incapable of depicting a woman (GM, XXIII,262; H, XI, 213).

Writing in October, 1841, of The Deerslayer, someone, whom I believe to be the Casket reviewer(1) asserted that Cooper could never touch Scott in Character creation:

. . . with the exception of Natty Bumpo, there is no character worthy of the name(2) . . . Mr. Cooper paints only the outside, he cannot reach the soul (GM, XIX, 191).

In “Mercedes” one finds: “A hasty sketch of the plot will fully sustain our assertion” (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 96). In a review three months later of Night and Morning, which began with a summary of the novel’s action, Poe wrote:

The word ‘plot‘, as commonly accepted, conveys but an indefinite meaning. Mostt persons think of it as of complexity . . . but the greatest involution of incident will not result in plot; which, properly defined, is that in which no part can be displaced without ruin to the whole (GM, XVIII, 197; H, X, 116-17). [page 307:]

In “Wyandotte” Poe sketched the action:

It will be at once seen that there is nothing original in this story . . . And as for plot, there has been no attempt at anythin4; of the kind. The tale is a mere succession of events . . . (GM, XXIII, 262; H, XI, 209).

In the Burton’s review of Damsel of Darien he wrote: “. . . the narrative, which of course has no plot” (BGM, V, 283; H, X, 50). There is no need to adduce further examples of Poe’s use of word ‘plot‘; it is obvious enough that “A hasty sketch of the plot” is of an inexactness in which he would scarcely indulge. Mercedes, like The Damsel of Darien, is a romanticized account of exploration, centered around one figure. There is also no need to offer incidents of the Casket reviewer’s loose usage of the term.

There are a few more tangible similarities between “Mercedes” and the Casket reviews. In The Pathfinder”:

Some passages in it equal the finest ones in the Last of the Mohicans and others do not suffer in comparison with like ones in the Pilot or Red Rover (Cas.,XVI, March, 1840) ;

here:

. . . the fiery pursuit of the young grandee through the Vega after the departing Columbus, and the scene where he overtakes the dejected navigator, are worthy of the best passages(1) of the Pioneers, the Water-Witch, or the Last of the Mohicans . . . we have nothing even approaching to the grandeur of the Pilot and the Red Rover (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 97-8).

The Casket:

. . .thus sustaining the interest in a manner excelled in [page 308:] no other of his novels . . . prolonged thrilling interest . . . (Cas.,XVI, March, 1840) ;

the October Graham’s review of Deerslayer:

the story is one or thrilling interest . . . capable of whirling the reader away in the breathless interest of the story. . . the interest his story awakens . . . (GM, XIX, 191) ;

here;

There is, indeed, an attempt to redeem the interest of the story . . . the true secret of its want of interest. . . The interest of a romance should continue, let it be remembered, throughout the whole story. . . (GM, XVIII, 47-8; H, X, 98-9).

In the Casket: “The characters of Boz are, perhaps, his forte” (Cas., XVI, 284) ; here:“. . . . character is not Cooper’s forte” (GM, XVIII, 47-8; H, X, 98). In “Mercedes” one finds:

She, however, accompanies Luis home to Spain, and is the cause of much jealousy on the part of his mistress, of much anger on the part of the queen, and of just sufficient clap-trap in the last few chapters, to satisfy the conscience of your inveterate novel readers, —(1) a class who think a novel is no good unless it has a pretty strong dose of jealousy, reconcilement, and marriage, as a finale, much as Tony Lumpkin thought that the inside of a letter was the cream of the correspondence (GM, XVIII,47; H, X,98) ;

and later: “. . .we stake our grey goose-quill against the copy-right(2) [page 309:] on it . . .” (GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 99). One finds here two words which come near as serving as a signature of our Ignotus: “clap-trap“, which he uses with vigor and tireless frequency; and “finale“, which he uses only less vigorously and less frequently than “clap-trap“ — neither of them being characteristic, in that way, of Poe. In January, 1839, one finds the Casket reviewer wagering a copyright;(1) and in February, quoting Tony Lumpkin with little point.(2)

From a careful reading of the Casket reviewer I feel convinced that the January, 1841, review of Mercedes is his, not Poe’s; and external evidence concerning the situation in the reviewing department makes the decision conclusive.

There follow four brief notices:

* ‘AMERICAN MELODIES‘. COMPILED BY GEORGE P. MORRIS CR.

* ‘FRENCH WRITERS OF EMINENCE‘. BY MRS. SHELLEY CR.

* ‘POEMS‘, BY J. N. McJ ILTON. CR.

* ‘THE LITERARY AMARANTH OF PROSE AND POETRY‘. BY N.C. BROOKS. CR.

The first two, which are twice as long as the last two, have nothing really distinctive. “American Melodies” has nothing in common with Poe’s reviews of Morris, save a goodwill toward the poet. One passage [page 310:] strikes my ear as a little off key:

The title of the work nas been the subject of much captious criticisms by the herd who are constantly detecting spots in the sun, and who lack the calibre of intellect necessary to a manly and liberal criticism of a literary performance. (GM, XVIII, 48).

The notice of Mrs. Shelley begins and ends:

This compilation for it is nothing more —(1) has the merit of presenting well-known Encyclopaedia biographies of French authors, to the general public, in a cheap and portable form . . . We would guard(2) our readers, however, from fancying that Mrs. Shelley was the principal author of these sketches, as it would neither be truth, nor, in fact, add to her reputation (GM, XVIII, 48).

Poe was careful always to distinguish between an author and a compiler — but that is scant evidence in the face of the surrounding evidence. The review of McJilton states: “Several pieces in this volume may take a high rank in American Poetry, and all of them do credit to the writer” (GM, XVIII, 48). In May, 1841, Poe expressed a different opinion:

Indeed while there is indication of genius in almost everything he writes, he has yet written very little worth reading . . . we can call to mind none of his compositions which, as a whole, are even tolerable (GM, XVIII, 252).

The notice of Brooks offers more difficulty: “Of the talents of the author we have had occasion to speak both in the magazine and elsewhere (GM, XVIII, 48). At one time I susposed [[supposed]] this direct evidence of Poe’s authorship, for he noticed Brooks in Burton’s (which could be referred [page 311:] to as “the Magazine”), and in the Messenger. I must conclude, nevertheless, that this notice is not Poe’s, for I can see little possibility of Poe’s having contributed one, or even four, brief notices to the January number of Graham’s.(1) These four, are, I am sure the work of the Casket reviewer.

FEBRUARY, 1841.

* “THE ANTEDILUVIANS“. BY JAMES McHENRY. CR.

On this work Poe has two pronouncements. In “Autography“, January, 1842:

. . . ‘The Antediluvians‘, an epic poem which has been the victim of a most shameful canal in this country, and the subject of a very disgraceful pasquinade on the part of Professor Wilson. Whatever may be the demerits, in some regard, of this poem, there can be no question of the utter want of fairness and even of common decency which distinguished the Phillipic in question. The writer of a just review of the ‘Antediluvians‘ — the only tolerable American epic . . .would render an important service to the literature of his country (GM, XX, 48; H, XV, 258) ;

in the Broadway Journal:

As a post and author in general, Dr. M‘Henry was underrated. He fell a victim to the arts of a clique which proceeded, in the most systematic manner, to write him down . . . not scrupling, either, to avow the detestable purpose . . . His ‘Antediluvians’ was heavy, and certainly gave no indication of genius — but it was by no means the despicable trash which it has been represented. It is polished, well versified, and abounding in noble sentiments. Altogether, it is the best epic which the country has produced (BJ, II, 110).

The review in Graham’s begins:

There are two species of poetry known to mankind; that which the gods of love, and that which men abhor. The poetry of the Dr. belongs to the latter class, though he seems lamentably ignorant of this . . . (GM, XVIII, 92; H, X, 105). [page 312:]

The critic continues to ridicule the preface,“an essay on taste“, wherein, he asserts, “The Dr.” claims a place by Milton and makes an inane fool of himself generally.

. . . his elaborated plot is worse than nine men out of ten would construct. We have gleaned little from it except a few facts, which would be strange were they not ridiculous.. an innumerable catalogue of minor incidents, in short, the materials of a half a dozen bad novels, woven into a worse poem (GM, XVIII, 92; H, X, 106-07).

The poet is charged with wrteched [[wretched]] versification, no style, obscurity, and mere verbiage. The reviewer offers five passages as examples, which he would have done well to omit, for they demonstrate the exact falsity of his charges. He next makes an accusation of plagiarism — which his illustrations fail to support, and shrinks from the use of coarse adjectives, such as “infernal, fiendish, hellish“. He concludes:

We advise him, once for all, to give up poetry, which he disgraces, for physic, which he may adorn, God never intended him for an immortal fame. We are satisfied that, if he should be arraigned for writing poetry, no sane jury would ever convict him; and if, as most likely, he should plead guilty at once, it would be quickly disallowed, of that rule of law, which forbids the judges to decide against the plain evidence of their senses (GM, XVIII, 93; H, X, 109).

This review is less vicious than Christopher North’s “disgraceful pasquinade”(1) only in that it is much briefer. The very illustrations offered by the two demonstrate their unjustness. There is another bit of evidence which may or may not mean anything. In an October, 1841, review, which seems to be the work of the Casket reviewer, occurs this [page 313:] sentence: “Their language, customs and laws are as unknown to us as those of the antediluvian world” (GM, XIX, 188).

There is no reason for not accepting Poe’s statement about this poem as his lasting impression; one of them appeared less than a year after the review. If he were the reviewer, his asking for a “just” review seems very strange. “The Antediluvians“, I am convinced, is from the pen of the Casket reviewer, who often seems to be imitating more or less consciously the vein of Scotch reviewers as adapted by Poe in certain of his critiques. The evidence is strong enough to deny Poe the review without question.

* “THE DREAM AND OTHER POEMS.” BY THE HON. MRS. NORTON. CR.

Writing of Letitia Landon in the August, 1841, Graham’s, Poe declared:

Without fear of contradiction, we may say that she has left no living female poet to compete with her in fame, unless Mrs. Norton may be said to be her rival; and even with Mrs. Norton, so different are the two writers, no parallel can be drawn. Let us be content with placing Hemans, Landon, and Norton together in one glorious trio — the sweetest, brightest, loftiest of the female poets of the present generation. (GM, XIX, 95; H, X, 196).

The February review begins:

Hemans, Baille, Landon, and loveliest of all, Norton! —(1) what a glorious constellation for one language (GM, XVIII, 93; H, X, 100). [page 314:]

and continues to place Norton before London:

Mrs. Norton is unquestionably, —(1) since the death of Mrs. Hemans, the queen of English song. . . If Mrs. Norton had written nothing before, this volume would have established her claim to be the first of living poetesses. . . But Mrs. Norton, like her gifted sister (Mrs. Hemans), possesses one quality which distinguishes her above all other writers, in this or in any tongue — we mean in giving utterance to, what is emphatically, the poetry of woman. In this they resemble no contemporary, unless it is bliss Landon (GM, XVIII, 93-4; H, X, 100-02).

This is the vein in which her reviewer praises Mrs. Norton:

. . .who that is familiar with the world of song can forget the many gems — rich, and beautiful, and rare — with which she has spangled before time her starry crown?(2) The world has taken more care of her glory than she has herself, and the random pieces she has poured forth so divinely at intervals, and which hitherto ’she has made no effort to preserve, have found their way into the hearts of all who can be touched by the mournful or the beautiful, until her name is cherished alike in the humble cottage and the princely hall. . .rie shall consider it only as a string; of pearls, loosely joined together by the simplest contrivance . . . That its merit is unequal, is, in our eyes no objection to its beauty —(3) for have not all poets skimmed the ground as well as soared to heaven? Yes! “The bream” is unequal, but so is Lallah Roosh, so is Marmion,“so are all the tales of Byron, and so — to ascend a step higher — is Comus, or Hamlet, or even Iliad . . . Few authors can boast such a varied power . . . What force: whet passion! (GM, XVIII, 94-5; H, X, 101-103).

Poe confessed frankly that he always softened criticism of a woman, yet he never quite went to this extent, save perhaps whew he was personally [page 315:] intrigued. And even then, this is not his language. Of Miss Landon, whom he placed above Mrs. Norton, he wrote thus in August, 1841:

Without the elegance of Mrs. Hemans, she had considerable grace; with a fine ear, she was often careless in her rhythm; possessing a fancy exuberant and glowing, she showered her metaphors too indiscriminately around her . . . Perhaps there was a mannerists, certainly an affectation . . . never-ceasing variety . . . the sweetness, and richness, and enthusiasm of her song. Her great faults were a want of method, and a careless habit of composition. From first to last, she was emphatically an improvisatrice! She wrote from whim rather than from plan, and consequently was often trite, and always careless (GM, XIX, 95; H, X, 195-6).

The Graham’s reviewer makes use of a figure which the Casket reviewer admired enough to use twice. Graham’s:

And this glory, too, belongs wholly to the present century, for though the harp of England has often been struck by female hands, it has ‘heretofore (sic) only given forth a rare and fitful cadence, instead of the rich, deep, prolonged harmony which rolls from its chords (GM, XVIII, 93; H, X, 100) ;

Casket:

Malibran —(1) the name thrills on the heart of every lover of music like the chords of a remembered harp (Cas, XVI, May, 1840) ; Those who love . . . to hear the deep tones of the spirit’s harp, as they echo in the privacy of the study . . . (Cas.,XV, 192).

In another respect this review is closely related to the Casket reviewer — sentiment. The reviewer writes in Graham’s of Mrs. Hemans [page 316:] and Mrs. Norton:

Scarcely a page, moreover, occurs in the writings of either, which does not bear testimony to woman’s suffering and worth. Yes:: While it is the fashion to sneer at the purity of woman’s heart, and while a pack of literary debeuchees are libelling our mothers and our sisters unopposed, from the ranks of that insulted sex have risen up defenders of its innocence, to shame the heartless slanderers to silence. Hear in what eloquent numbers Mrs. Norton vindicates her sex. . . God bless her who has written thus. The wretches who would rob the sex of their purity of heart, and their uncomplaining endurance of suffering, deserve to die, uncheered by woman’s nuture, unwept by woman’s tenderness. Such beings are not .::en; they are scarcely even brutes: they are aliquid monstri, monsters in part (GM, XVIII, 96; H, X, 102-03),

With this last sentence compare the Casket reviewers’ indignant indictment, of Ainsworth’s Jonathan Wild, in his review of Jack Sheppard:

. . . but Wild, callous to the last, out-fiends the very prince of darkness. He is ‘aliquid monstri‘. He is worse: he is neither man, brute, nor devil (Cas, XVI, 47).

To continue with our reviewer’s sentiment:

The arrow has entered deep into her soul. Like Mrs. Hems, unfortunate is her domestic life — for the miscreant who would still believe her guilty is an insult to humanity — she seeks ss the stricken deer, to weep in silence and loneliness‘. Hers is a hard lot; deserted by the one who has sworn to love her, and maligned by the unfeeling world, she has not the consolation of weeping with her children, and finding some relief in their caresses for her broken wart. Hear her once more — we have almost wept as we read — hear her, when gazing in the twilight at the pictures of her absent children (GM, XVIII, 95; H, X, 104).

There occurs a passage in the Casket review of Lady Bulwer’s Chevely which may be compared with that just quoted:

A woman’s feelings are nothing, if they stand in the way of the selfishness of man. Nor is any rank exempt [page 317:] from this. From the Queen to the Peasant it is all the same. Victoria has been libelled, the purest ladies of the realm traduced, and the most innocent and gentle proscribed, insulted, and absolutely written down. Nor is there any escape; —(1) for to whom shall they appeal? Will manhood step forth to their defence? Alas‘? the days of chivalry have gone, and the glory of Europe departed forever. If the pack of libellers is once unkennelled on a woman’s reputation . . . she is left alone, unfriended, and defenseless . . . How have Miss Martineau, Lady Hastings, and Mrs. Norton been treated?. . . But how different is man . . . It is rather a recommendation than a stigma for a gentleman to be known as the destroyer of virtue. Ha may be a bad father, a faithless husband, a gay, worthless debauches, and yet instead of being; shunned by all who care for virtue, he is greeted with smiles and hailed with applause, in every ballroom, —(1) while perhaps, the very one whom he has marked out for his next victim is among the foremost to welcome his approach . . . May such a state of society never lay its blight upon our happy land! (Cas, XIV, 287).

And so, amen! Such sentimental balderdash Poe never gave expression to in a review, whatever his private feelings may have been. The whole thing is too florid, too exaggerated, too careless, too unsound. It is clear that this is the work of the Casket reviewer.

* “BANCROFT’S HISTORY OF THE, UNITED STATES“. VOL. 3. CR.

Although Poe had met Bancroft and had read at least the first volume of his history(2) , he made only one comment on his merits as a historian, in “Fifty Suggestions”:

Bancroft is a philosophical historian; but no amount of philosophy has yet taught him to despise a minute accuracy in point of fact (GM, XXXIV, 363; H, XIV, 180). [page 318:]

The notice in Graham’s, much briefer than the two preceding, has this to say for the historian:

The characteristics of Mr. Bancroft are a rigid scrutiny of facts, a general impartiality, and a style, usually nervous, but sometimes savoring; of transcendental obscurity. . . There is a philosophy in Bancroft which other historians might well emulate. No man has traced so clearly the causes of the American Revolution . . . The pictures which Mr. Bancroft drawn in pursuing the thread of his narrative, are often highly graphic(1) . . . In short, the history is something more than a mere chronicle; it is a continuous essay on the philosophy of the American revolution (GM, XVIII, 96).

There is no significant similarity between this and the sentence from “Fifty Suggestions“. There is nothing to warrant giving it to Poe, and the evidence of the other reviews and of the set-up in the critical department points to the Casket reviewer. The style does not dissent; while the padding, or, to be more exact, the elaboration of detail for vivid effect, insists:

Here,(2) for the present, he drops the curtain. A fitter point, for such a pause could not Lave been chosen. Behind, is the long succession of trials, sad dangers, through which the infant colonies had just passed; before is the wild, shadowy future, soon to become vivid with its startling phenomena. Such a reflection might well fill the mind of the historian with a kind of solemn awe; and it is while such. feelings overpower his readers, that he introduces Washington, the future hero of the scene (GM, XVIII, 96).

The notice lacks the terseness, the analysis usual with Poe in reviewing briefly a serious work which he found admirable. It is the Casket reviewer’s.

* “BRYANT’S AMERICAN POETS“. CR.

However, a compilation like this can never be made to suit all. The true question is, who can do better? (GM, XVIII, 96). [page 319:]

Anyone who has read Poe carefully will recognize how far off from his principles of criticism this statement is. This five-line notice, as well as the next one, is the Casket reviewer’s.

* “TRAVELS TO THE CITY Of THE CALIPHS BY LIEUTENANT WELLSTED. CR.

The adventures of the hero — are highly pleasing; and he evinces a laudable desire to fall in love, as well for his own as for the convenience of the reader (GM, XVIII, 96).

MARCH, 1841.

“THE TOWER OF LONDON“. BY W. H. AINSWORTH. CR.

In The Mind of Poe Killis Campbell wrote:

The grounds for doubting Poe’s authorship of this item are these: that Poe in reviewing Ainsworth’s Guy Fawkes for November, 1841, asserts that he had hithero [[hitherto]] read nothing of The Tower of London save ’some detached passages‘; that he expresses in his notice of Guy Fawkes a view of Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard at variance with that expressed by the reviewer of The Tower of London; and that the reviewer of The Tower of London mentioned a notice by himself of Jack Sheppard, whereas there is no evidence that Poe ever published such a review.(1)

The author of this review is the Casket reviewer. He writes here:

We once in reviewing Jack Sheppard, expressed our admiration of the author’s talents, although are condemned their perversion in the novel before This duplicate of that worthless romance, and scandalously demoralizing novel,(2) proves either that the author is incorrigible, or that the public taste is vitiated. We rather think the former. We almost recant our eulogy on Mr. Ainsworth’s talents (GM, XIII, 142; H, X, 111).

In the review of Jack Sheppard in the Casket, January, 1840:

. . . in his former works he has displayed some talent. That [page 320:] he is capable of good writing, no one will pretend to deny . . . Mr. Ainsworth has talents; but he should turn them to better account . . . The powers of Mr. Ainsworth are in description — he wants the genius to handle the immortal mind . . . his great fault in the present case was his vanity in attempting to rival Boz . . . But even were they true to nature, why should such characters be pictured? The robber-heroes of the day are ruining our children, —(1) shall worse than these be brought in on them? Humanity is bad enough without making it worse; and by throwing the charm of romance around the felon, lifting him in the eyes of the young into an object of wonder and imitation. . . (Cas., XVI, 46-7).

In the Casket review Wild was a “dark, steathy [[stealthy??]], remorseless villain” (Cas., XV, 46) ; here he is a “dark, remorseless villain” (GM, VIII, 142; H, X, 111). The last sentences of both should be compared. Casket:

A novelist, unless a good one, is the most useless thing that cumbers creation, — 1 and he who spends his life in raking human nature worse, is a traitor to his race. As such, all good men ought to reprobate him. He is a curse to his land; a blot on its literature; a stigma to his name and line (Cas., XVI, 47) ;

Graham’s:

Such libels on humanity; such provocations to crime; such worthless, inane, disgraceful romances as Jack Sheppard and its successors, are a blot on our literature, and a curse to our land (GM, XVIII, 142; H, X, 111).

One finds in Graham’s: “The misfortunes of Lady Jane are comparatively dull to any ore who remembers Mr. Miller’s (sic) late romance” (GM, XVIII, 142; H, X, 111). In October, 1839, there appeared in the Casket a review of Thomas Miller’s Fair Rosamond. The tone of these two [page 321:] reviews is much alike. In “Fair Rosamond” one finds:

But with all these faults there are beauties in ‘Fair Rosamond‘. which in part redeem it, and without which it would cave fallen still-born from the press (Cas., XV, 109) ;

in the Tower of London:

Were it not for the tragic interest attached to Lady Jane Grey, and the pride that every Englishman feels in the oldest surviving palace of his kings, this novel would have fallen still-born from the press. . . (GM, XVIII, 142; H, X, 111).

After seeing the first number of the novel our reviewers said in an advance notice of The Tower of London in the Casket, March, 1840: “If anything can give beauty to the work it will be the sufferings of Lady Jane Grey . . . ” (Cas., XVI, March, 1840). These notices from the Casket reviewer are characterized — as, indeed, is all his writing — by a strongly susceptible moral sense: in a review of Guy Fawkes, Graham’s, November, 1841, Poe declared that “supposed moral or immoral tendencies (are) things with which the critic; has nothing to do” (GM, XIX, 248-49; H, X, 217). The evidence here, of course, is conclusive without the external evidence, governing all of these early reviews, which was pointed out in the introductory section.

* “VISITS TO REMARKABLE PLACES“. BY W. HOWITT. CR.

* “THE RURAL LIFE OF ENGLAND“. BY HOWITT. CR.

A few random quotations will be sufficient, I think, to suggest the Casket reviewer:

Next after Professor Wilson comes Howitt. The same genial spirit, the same soul-breathing(1) poetry . . . whether found under [page 322:] the gipsy’s (sic) hedge, in the peasant’s cottage, or amid the parks and. lordly castles or the aristocracy.. a soul all-glowing with poetry. . . into the quiet details and maid the time-worn, cities-The old castle of King Arthur seems once more to‘-lift its massy battlements, above the thundering surf below, and from its portals go forth the heroes of the Round Table, with hound and hawk, and many a fair demoiselle (GM, XVIII, 142-3; H, X, 112-3).

There is here again the essay-like day-dreaming of the Bancroft notice; and one word, “graphic“ — a favorite with the Casket reviewer, in used three times in twenty-nine lines. This notice is his.

* “THE KINGSMEN“. BY SIMMS. CR.

A good novel is always welcome; and a good one from an American pen is doubly so. Since the publication of the Pathfinder, we have seen nothing equal to the Kinsmen (GM, XVIII, 143).

In March, 1840, the Casket reviewer praised the Cooper novel highly — more highly than any novel he reviewed before The Kinsmen. “Flora Middleton“, he writes here of Simms’ heroine, “is exquisite creation of the novelist’s pen. She deserves to be placed alongside of James’s(1) finest female characters” (GM, XVIII, 143). Poe had never any patience with nor respect for James. It was the Casket reviewer, who admired the indefatigable novelist — particularly his women: “The sweetest creation of the novelist’s fancy in ‘Henry of Guise’ is the heroine herself” (Cas., XVI, 48) ; “The only relief to the picture is the lovely Laura; but she is far inferior to his former heroines” (Cas., XVI, June, 1840). [page 323:]

In this brief review one finds stressed the two elements, excepting moral propriety, on which the Casket reviewer always based his criticism of novels:

Many of the characters are well drawn, and the interest is kept up throughout . . . the interest is worked up to a pitch of the most intense excitement (GM, XVIII, 143).

There is nothing here to suggest Poe; I have no doubt that the notice is by the Casket reviewer.

“THE HOUR AND THE MAN“. BY HARRIET MARTINEAU.

We do not belong to the admirers of Miss Martineau, though barring her ear-trumpet, and a few foolish notions, she is a very respectable and inoffensive old lady . . . The good old spinster . .. (GM, XVIII, 143).

So begins this short notice; it ends:

But it fails, totally fails in its main object; and though as men, we sympathize with a persecuted man, we cannot, as critics, overlook the glaring faults of the novel, or, as a partisan of truth, forgive the historical inaccuracies of the narrative (GM, XVIII, 143).

Poe, I think, would have considered the first sentence bad taste, though later he disposed of Margaret Fuller in language equally disrespectful; the sentimentality of the “though” clause in the last sentence is not like Poe. Of this, however, as of the five following shorter notices,

* “THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND FROM THE EARLIEST PERIOD TO 1839“. BY THOMAS KEIGHTLEY. CR.

* “APPLICATIONS OF THE SCIENCE OF MECHANICS TO PRACTICAL PURPOSES“. BY J. RENWICK. CR.(1) [page 324:]

* “HOPE ON, HOPE EVER“. MARY HOWITT.(1) CR

* “HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES“. BY SELMA HALE. CR.

* “LIFE OF JOHN WICKLIFFE, D. D.“. BY MARGARET COXE. CR.

which have even less of distinction, one can only say that they have no perceptible trace of Poe, that they do suggest the Casket reviewer, and that this suggestion is, made conclusive by external evidence.

It may be advisable here to review this “external evidence.” There is proof that Graham’s, according to plan, was issued in time for the most distant subscriber to receive it on the first of the month;(2) that it was the common, if not invariable, practice, to brim out the magazine about two weeks before the first of the month;(3) and that the last form — that containing the reviews — usually went to press before the first form.(4) Poe’s engagement with Graham’s was announced the 20 of February;(5) therefore, he could have had nothing to do with the magazine officially before the April number. The lists of contributors for the January and February numbers(6) do not include Poe, as certainly they should have done had he submitted even a brief notice. Furthermore, during the months the’: these three numbers were being prepared — November, December, and January — he was either working feverishly on [page 325:] on the Penn Magazine or ill. In view of these conditions and of the evidence in all of the long and many of the short reviews, I have no hesitation in assigning all of these early reviews to the Casket reviewer, be he Graham or Peterson, in one bloc; they certainly are not Poe’s.

APRIL, 1841.

* “NIGHT AND MORNING, ” BY BULWER-LYTTON.

F. W. Thomas wrote Poe:

I like your criticism on ‘Night and Morning’ though I have not read the book — yet your remarks upon, Bulwer strike me as correct.(1)

Defining plot and style and treating of plot management, this review is one of those critiques raisonees which form the solid basis of Poe’s reputation as a critic. In discussing Bulwer’s delineation of character he writes:

We have observed in some previous review, that original characters, so called, can only be critically praised as such, either when presenting qualities which, although unknown, or even known to be hypothetical, are so skillfully adapted to the circumstances :round them, that our sense of fitness is not offended, and we find ourselves seeking a reason why these things might not have been which we are still satisfied are not. Fanny appertains to this latter class of originality — which in itself belongs to the loftier regions of the Ideal (GM, XVIII, 200; H, X, 125-26).

The “previous review” is George Balcome“, which appeared in the Messenger, January, 1837. There are only two differences in this passage and its counterpart in the Messenger. The latter begins with [page 326:] “original characters;” after the second “presenting qualities” it has parentheses: “ (moral, or physical, or both”; instead of “around them” it has “which surround them”; and the last sentence reads: “The latter species of originality appertains to the loftier regions of the Ideal” (SLM, III,56; H, IX, 261-62).

* 2. “SKETCHES OF CONSPICUOUS LIVING CHARACTERS OF FRANCE“. TRANSLATED BY R. M. WALSH.

One of these sketches has to do with the solution of a cypher, at which Mr. Walsh is astounded. Poe snorts:

All of this is very well as anecdote; but we cannot understand the extraordinary penetration required in the matter . . . The difficulty of decyphering nay well be supposed much greater had the key been in a foreign tongue; yet any one who will take the trouble to address us a note, in the same manner as here proposed, and the keyphrase may be either in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Latin, or creek, (or in any of the dialects of these languages), and we pledge ourselves to the solution of the riddle. The experiment may afford our readers some amusement — let them try it (GM, XVIII,203; H, X, 136).

in the first notice on secret writing, July, 1841, Poe discussed this instance more at length, concluding:

In our notice of the book in question (published in the April number of this Magazine) we alluded to his subject thus — (GM, XIX, 35; H, XIV, 124)

He quotes from the paragraph here copied. In August, 1841, appeared another editorial, “Secret Writing”:

Lest the tenor of our observation on Cryptography should be misunderstood, and especially lest the nature of our challenge should be misconceived, we take occasion to refer to our Review of Mr. Walsh’s ’Sketches of Conspicuous Living Characters of France‘, published in the April number [page 327:] of the Magazine . . . We remarked, however, that we would engage to read any one of the kind; and to this limit our correspondents must confine themselves (GM, XIX, 96; H, XIV, 134-5).

Poe’s engagement with, Graham’s was announced February 20, 1841, ten days, more likely less, before the April issue was due to go to press. One may suppose that the Casket reviewer had at least part of the critical section prepared by that time. At any rate, the last three notices seem to me to be his.

“HEADS OF THE PEOPLE; OR PORTRAITS OF THE ENGLISH“. BY KENNEY MEADOWS. CR?

The design of this book is among, the number of those which are obviously good — and the book itself is, upon the whole, an amusing one. It might be better, no doubt . . . Not that some of the names here found are not among; the best — but we should have the Dil majorum gentium exclusively — one paper from each . . . The preface seems to have been written by some one who had a proper sense of what the volume should be, but affords no indication of want it really is . . . Others are equally caricatures, but so vivid and truth-preserving an exaggeration, that we admire them without scruple . . . Some are full of natural truth . . . combining the extreme of the ludicrous with absolute fidelity . . . The same variety of value is observable in the text . . . in general the articles are not very creditable . . . (GM, XVIII, 203-4).

This notice in details, that is as far as any single sentence is concerned, is not particularly distinctive. The tone of the whole, however, makes me believe that it is, perhaps, the Casket reviewer’s.

“THE FLYING DUTCHMAN“. CR (?).

More positively suggestive of the Casket reviewer is this notice:

Indeed we have rarely read a less creditable novel than this. The characters are strange; the incidents unnatural;(1) and the descriptions of the mighty deep surpassed by nine [page 328:] out of ten of our ordinary sea writers (GM, XVIII, 204).

The single redeeming trait, says the critic, is the fact that the book portrays tyranny in the British navy.

The desertion of Ramsay on the Island;(1) his miraculous meeting with the very one he wished to meet, Angela; the whole farcical story, of the deception. . .; the singular preservation of Capt. Livingston from drowning, when cast overboard unseen at night; and the clap-trap(2) of the trial scene, when the aforesaid captain and the corporal appear so unexpectedly, furnish a series of improbilities [[improbabilities]] only to be endured by a no-rel-reader of sufficient voracity to gorge, shark-like, any and everything, no matter what (GM, XVIII, 204).

This, I think, is probably the Casket reviewer’s.

“PATCHWORK“. BY CAPT. BASIL HALL. CR.

Captain Hall is one of the most agreeable of writers. We like him for the same reasons that we like a good drawing-room conversationalist — there is such a pleasure in listening to his elegant nothings(3) . . . one of the, pleasantest books for after-dinner perusal, especially on a sunny April day, when reposed at length upon a sofa, beside an open casement, with. the birds carrolling (sic) without, and the balmy spring breathing across us, we forget, for a while, the dull business of life (GM, XVIII, 204).

I am convinced that this is from the pen of the Casket reviewer. [[Here, Hull is clearly wrong. The initial part of the paragraph appears as “Marginalia” CLXXXV, misnumbered as CLXXXIV, in Works, 1850, p. 567 — JAS.]]

“GEORGIA ILLUSTRATED“. CR.

This is the shortest and the last of the April reviews and also goes the way to Ignotus. [page 329:]

This is a praiseworthy work, and reflects high credit on all concerned in it. The views are selected with taste, and give us a high opinion of the scenery of Georgia. . . Such works cannot be too extensively patronized. They encourage the arts; foster a love for the beautiful; and acquaint the public with some of the loveliest gems of our native scenery (GM, XVIII, 204).

Note this bit of awkwardness:

Was it not a disgrace to our country that both ‘Hinton’s Topography’ and still later ‘American Scenery’ emanated wholly from England — the capital embarked, the stretchers and engravers employed, and (sic) even the place of publication being English? (GM, XVIII, 204).

MAY, 1841.

* 3. “THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP AND OTHER TALES“. BY CHARLES DICKENS. “MASTER HUMPHREY’ S CLOCK“. BY CHARLES DICKENS .

For this, one of Poe’s best reviews of Dickens, there is no strong external evidence; but this is one of the cases when internal evidence is conclusive enough.

There are some facts in the physical world which have a really wonderful analogy with others in the world of thought, and seem thus to give some color of truth to the (false) rhetorical dogma, that metaphor or simile may be made to strengthen an argument, as well as to embellish a description. The principle of the via inertiae, for example, with the amount of momentum proportionate with it and consequent upon it, seems to be identical in physics and metaphysics. It is not more true, in the former, that a large body is with more difficulty set in motion than a smaller one, and that its subsequent Lapetus is commensurate with this difficulty, (etc).  . . One half the pleasure experienced at a theatre arises from the spectator’s sympathy with the rest of the audience, and, especially, from his belief in their sympathy with him . . . ‘No critical principle [page 330:] is more firmly based in reason than that a certain amount of exaggeration is essential to the proper depicting of truth . . . caricature seldom exists (unless in so dross a firm as to disgust at once) l where the component parts are in keeping . . . the laugh excited by it, in any case, is radically distinct from that induced by a properly artistical incongruity . . . the source of all mirth . . . In truth, the great feature of the ‘Curiosity Shop’ is its chaste, vigorous, and glorious imagination . . . In conclusion, we must enter solemn protest against Poe final page full of little angels in smock frocks, or dimity chemises (GM, XVIII, 248-51; H, X, 142-53).

In “Marginalia“, December, 1844, Poe wrote:

That incongruity is the principle of all nonconvulsive laughter, is to my mind as clearly demonstrated as any problem in the ‘Principia Mathematica . . . (DR, XV, 584; H, XVI, 40).

Of Tom Moore Poe writes here:

The brilliancies on any one page of Lalla Roohk (sic) would have sufficed. to establish that very reputation which has been a great measure self-dimmed by the galaxies‘, lustre of the entire book (GM, XVIII, 249; H, X, l47).

Reviewing Willis in 1845 he wrote:

. . .the brilliant Fancy with which it perpetually scintillates or glows — a fancy possessed not, as in the case of Moore, to the exclusion of qualities more noble . . . (BJ, I, 38; H, XII, 40) ;

and reviewing Hawthorne in 1847, there is a point, speaking of “Lalla Rookh“,

at which novelty becomes nothing novel; and here the artist, to preserve his originality, will subside into the common place . . . merely through inattention to this matter, “Moore has completely failed in his ‘Lalla Rookh’ . . .the hapiest. . . . . originalities . . . .. are so excessive, as, in the end, to deaden in the reader all capacity [page 331:] for their appreciation (GLB, XXXV, 253; H, XIII, 145).

The pathos of the concluding scenes of the Old Curiosity Shop, he says, “is of that best order which is relieved, in great measure, by ideality. Here the book has never, been equalled . . .” (GM, XVIII, 251; H, X, 154) ; three years later he wrote in “Marginalia”: “. . . the conclusion of the ‘Curiosity Shop’ is more truly ideal. . . than any composition of equal length in the English language (DR, XV, 487; H, XVI, 11).

Finally, Poe compares Dickens with Bulwer:

The latter (Bulwer), by excessive care and patient reflection, aided by much rhetorical knowledge, and general information, has arrived at the capacity of producing books which might be mistakened by ninety-nine readers out of a hundred for the genuine inspirations of genius. The former (Dickens), by the promptings of the truest genius itself, has been broufght to compose, end evidently without effect, works which have effected a long-sought consummation — which rave rendered him the idol of the people, while defying and enchanting the critics. Mr. Bulwer, through art, has almost created genius. Mr. Dickens, through genius, has perfected a standard from which Art itself will derive its essence, in rules (GM, XVIII, 250; H, X, 150).

In “Marginalia“, December, 1844, he paraphrased:

Dickens is a man of higher genius than Bulwer. The latter is thoughtful, industrious, patient, pains-taking, educated, analytic, artistical . . . and therefore will write the better book upon the whole: but the former rises, at times, to an unpremeditated elevation altogether beyond the flight, and even beyond the appreciation of his contemporary. Dickens, with care and culture, might have reduced ‘The Last of the Barons‘, but nothing short of mortal voltaism could have spirited Bulwer into the conception of the concluding passages of the “Curiosity Shop” (DR, XV, 592-93; H, XV ,61). (1) [page 332:]

* 4. “WRITINGS OF CHARLES SPRAGUE“.

The first author in “An Appendix of Autographs“, Graham’s, January, 1842, is Charles Sprague; the article begins:

The ‘Writings of Charles Sprague’ were first collected and published about nine months ago, by Mr. Charles S. Francis, of New York. At the time of the issue of the book, expressed our opinion frannly, in respect to the general merits of the author — an opinion with which one of two members of the Boston press did not see fit to agree — but which, as yet, we have pound no reason for modifying. What we say now is, in spirit, merely a repetition of want we said then (GM, XX, 44; H, XV, 248).

In more than spirit, however, is it a repetition. In the review:

(it includes finer iiaes and even finer entire paragraphs than are to be found elsewhere) (1) . . . they . . . evince little ideality . . . we say nothing of the imitation of Collins’ Ode to the Passions‘ — this is too obvious to need a word of comment . . . the mawkish allegory . . . (GM, XVIII, 252; H, 141-42) ;

in the January article:

. . . there are to be found finer passages in his poems than any elsewhere. . . .he gives no evidence of the loftier ideality. . .Its imitation of ‘Collinis’ Ode to the Passions’ is obvious . . . Its allegorical conduct is mawkish . . . (GM, XX, 44; H, XV, 248).

* 5. “THE SOVREIGNTY (sic) OF MIND“. BY JOHN N. McJ ILTON.

On 12 July, 1841, Poe wrote to Dr. Snodgrass: “Do you know, by the bye, that W. G. Clarke reproves me in his Gazette for spearing too favorably of McJilton?”(2) Except for the three-line notice is the January, 1841, issue, this is the only review of McJilton in Graham’s. [page 333:] Poe expressed fundamentally the same idea of the man in the “Autography” in Graham’s for December, 1841.(1)

JUNE, 1841

* 6. “CRITICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS“. BY T. BABINGTON MACAULAY.

In the “Exordium” with which Poe prefaced the January, 1842, review, he stated:

. . . we may still assert that even Macaulay’ nearest approach to criticism in its legitimate sense, is to be found in his article upon Ranker’s ‘History of the Popes‘ — an article in which the whole strength of the reviewer is put forth to account for a single fact — the progress of Romanism — which the book under discussion has established (GM, XX, 68).

This article is the one which Poe selects to illustrate his criticism of Macaulay in the review in hand:

In fact it is nothing more than a beautifully written treatise on the main theme of Ranke himself; the whole matter of the treatise being deduced from the History. In the way of criticism there is nothing worth the name. The strength of the essayist is put forth to account for the progress of Romanism (GM, XVIII, 294; H, X, 158).

He continues then for thirty-three lines to demonstrate flaws in the logic of the article. Twenty-seven of these thirty-three he incorporated, four years later, in “A Chapter of Suggestions“, The Opal for 1845; the two passages correspond exactly except for four slight variations in wording. The lines are H, XIV, 1.17, 181, to 1.10, 182, from H, X, 1.31, 158, to 1.23, 159. [page 334:]

* ‘‘CORSE DE LEON“. BY G. P. JAMES. CR.

An October, 1841, review of James’ The Ancient Regime in Graham’s has this:

. . . when a man of talent persists in writing such commonplace affairs as Corse de Leon and the Ancient Regime, we feel bound to caution the public against reading them.(1) In reviewing the last novel of tais author, we took occasion to cocmaent on nis repetition of himself; and had not but a bare six months elapsed since the publication of that article, we should have thought, that he had commenced this -work with our criticism before him; for the whole conception of the Ancient Regime — according to the preface — is essentially different from that of Mr. James’ former romances (GM, XIX, 190).

The June review ends: “In short, this is but e readable novel, and a mere repetition of the author’s former works” (GM, XVIII, 295; H, X, 162). The two, then, are clearly from one pen — and that is not Poe’s; for a footnote in the October number states: “Owing to the temporary absence of Mr. Poe, the reviews in this number are from another hand‘’ (GM, XIX, 188). This other tend is the Casket reviewer. The early notices in the Casket of James are enthusiastic is praise. The critic, however, became irritated by two poor novels in succession. In “The King’s Highway“, June, 1840:

Mr. James is trifling with a well earner reputation, by putlishin works like the present. Neither in plot, in character, nor style, is it worthy of the first historical [page 335:] novelist of the day . . . The only relief to the picture is the lovely Laura; but she is far inferior to his former heroines. There is besides — to use a common phrase — too much clap-trap(1) . . . (Cas.,June, 1840) ;

and in “The Man-at-Arms“, October, 1840:

Another novel from the prolific pen of Mr. James! It bears, as most of his latter works do, evident marks of haste, and though still a pleasing work, is disfigured by a common place plot, too many characters, a general looseness of style (Cas., October, 1840) .

The attitude toward James in the Graham’s review is exactly that of the Casket critic, and so is the style. In “Corse de Leon”:

This is the outline of the plot — well enough in its way; but partaking largely of the common-place, and marred by the conclusion, which we have omitted, and which was introduced only for the purpose of introducing the famous death of Henry the Second at a tournament. The characters, however, are still more common-place . . .They make no impression on you, and you almost forget their names (GM, XVIII, 295; H, X, 161-62) ;

in The Ancient Regime:

We have just flung down the book, wondering how any man could ’sana mente‘, in a sane mind, publish two volumes so cocoon-place. Yet Mr. James has done it, once and again, end yet again, and — God help us — seems determined to do it so long as he can find a publisher. . . . His heroine seems to be put up like a ten-pin, only to be bowled at. . .A plot so loosely contrived, wants interest; and if you go through the book at all, it is with labor (GM, XVIII, 190).

There is no need for quoting score: for one familiar with the style and ways of our Ignotus, it is all clear enough. [page 336:]

7. “INSUBORDINATION“. BY T. S. ARTHUR.

In the December, 1841, “Autography” Poe wrote:

Mr. Arthur is not without a ,rich talent for description of scenes in low life, but is uneducated, and too fond of mere vulgarities to please a refined taste. He has published ‘The Subordinate‘, and ‘Insubordination‘, two tales distinguished by the peculiarities above mentioned (GM, XIX, 284; H, XV, 240).

The review expresses the seine attitude:

It is all well enough to justify works of this class by hyper-democratic allusions to the ‘moral dignity’ of low life, &c, &c. — but we cannot understand why a gentleman should feel or affect a penchant for vulgarity; nor can we comprehend the ‘moral dignity’ of a dissertation upon bed-bugs: for the opening part of ‘Insubordination’ is, if anything, a treatise on these peculiar animalculae. Some portions of the book are worthy of the author’s ability,(1) which it would rejoice us to see more profitably occupied. . .His pathos is exquisite . . . The style of the narrative is easy and truthful. We dare say the work will prove popular in a certain sense; but, upon the whole, we do not like it (GM, XVIII, 246).

This, I have no doubt, is Poe’s; the similarity, however, is perhaps not exact enough to warrant giving it to him definitely.

* 8. “MARATHAN AND OTHER POEMS.” BY PLINY EARLE.

The December “Autography” again provides for as a valuable sketch:

Dr. Pliny Earle, of Frankford, Pa., has not only distinguished himself by several works of medical and general science, but has become well known to the literary world, of late, by a volume of very fine poems, the longest, but by no means the best, of which was entitled ‘Marathan‘. This latter is not [page 337:] greatly inferior to the ‘Marco Bozzaris’ of Halleck; while some of the minor pieces equal any American poems (GM, XIX, 280-81; H, XV, 230).

Again the review expresses the same attitude; here the similarity is, I think, strong enough to allow the notice to be given Poe definitely.

The publication will place him at once in the front rank of our bards . . . His general manner, puts us much in mind of Halleck. ‘Marathon‘, the longest poem in the volume before us, is fully equal to the ‘Bozzaris’ of that writer; although we confess that between the two poems there exist a similarity in tone and construction which we would rather have not observed (GM, XVIII, 296).

* 9. “SELECTIONS FROM THE POETICAL LITERATURE OF THE WEST“.

A series of letters places the authorship of this review. Gallagher to Poe, March 10, 1841:“P.S. Accompanying this, I take the liberty of sending you a volume of “Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West“.(1) Thomas to Poe, April 11, 1841:

Have you seen ’Specimens of Western Literature‘? The work is edited by G. (sic) Gallagher — He puts all his pieces in it — and seven of your humble servants (sic) poorest — He’s a modest man now aint he by the ‘foot of Pharoh’ (sic) as Captain Bobadil says.(2)

Thomas to Poe, May 29, 1841: “I am glad you ‘rapped’ Gallagher over the knuckles — He deserved it — “.(3) And finally, Thomas to Griswold, July 28, 1841:

Have you seen ’Specimens of Western Poetry‘? (Selections from the Poetical Literature of the West‘. Cin‘ti, U.P. James, 264 pp) (4) I am told the work is edited by W. D. Gallagher, who has put Mr. Gallagher’s poems first and longest.(5) [page 338:]

in the review Poe treats Gallagher with little mercy and mentions “several sweet pieces by our friend F. W. Thomas, of ‘Clinton Bradshaw’ memory” (GM, XVIII, 296).

10. “THE QUADROONE“. BY Ingraham.

This brief notice quietly informs the reader that on investigation the critic found the novel not worth reviewing at length.

Nothing that we could say — had we even the disposition to say it — would convince any sensible man that ‘The Quadroone’ is not a very bad book — such a book as Professor Ingraham (for whom we have a high personal respect) ought to be ashamed of. We are ashamed of it (GM, XVIII, 296).

This, I feel sure, is Poe. This was his attitude in the messenger reviews of the same author, an attitude expressed succinctly in “Autography”: “. . . he is capable of better things” (GM, XIX, 228; H, XV, 188).

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 303:]

1.  The reviewer of Mercedes in Graham’s speaks of ‘the grandeur’ of Cooper’s sea storms. See GM, XVIII, 47; H, X, 98.

2.  Many pages of the photostat from which I worked lacked pagination.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 304:]

1.  This usage strikes me as being inexact, the sort of thing Poe would avoid.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 305:]

1.  This sort of anfractuousity sounds to me little like Poe, as little as does the whole structure of this sentence.

2.  See Cas., XV, 239.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 306:]

1.  For evidence that this is not Poe’s see p. 347 of this section.

2.  Poe consistently omits the “of” in this construction “worthy the name“.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 307:]

1.  Note again this construction.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 308:]

1.  This pointing: “, —”, I have not noticed in Poe’s Graham’s reviews; it is used frequently by the Casket reviewer, with its variations: “? —; ! —; . —”.

2.  Poe spells this “copyright.”

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 309:]

1.  See Cas. XVI, 47. In this January review occurs a pointing which one finds in “Mercedes“, semicolons used to set off simple elements of a series: Cas, XVI, 27; GM, XVIII, 47.

2.  See Cas., XVI, 95.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 310:]

1.  This does not conform to Poe’s use of the dash.

2.  This sounds to me unlike Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 311:]

1.  His name, it will be remembered, is not in the list, supposedly complete of the contributors to the January issue. See SEP, XX, No. 1012.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 312:]

1.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 313:]

1.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 314:]

1.  Note the pointing.

2.  Had Poe ever got himself involved in this figure he would have said “before time spangled.”

3.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 315:]

1.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 317:]

1.  Note the pointing.

2.  See p. ???.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 318:]

1.  This is a favorite word with the Casket reviewer.

2.  Note the pointing throughout.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 319:]

1.  Campbell, K., The Mind of Poe, pp. 221-22.

2.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 320:]

1.  Note the pointing.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 321:]

1.  Of such phrases as this Poe was accustomed to ask with some irritation: “What does it mean?”

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 322:]

1.  Poe invariably uses the form “James‘” for the possessive of the name ending in “s‘.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 323:]

1.  These two make use of the pointing that has been several times observed in the writings of the Casket reviewer: semicolons to set off simple elements in a series.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 324:]

1.  These two make use of the pointing that has been several times observed in the writings of the Casket reviewer: semicolons to set off simile elements in a series.

2.  See SEP, XX, no. 1013.

3.  Benjamin-Graham, New York, October 119, 1841. Griswold, W. M., op. cit., p. 100; Spannuth and Mabbott (eds) Doing of Gotham, p. 35.

4.  Poe-Bolton, Philadelphia, November 18, 1341. The Commercial Appeal November, 15, 1925, Section IV, p. 7.

5.  SEP, February 20, 1841.

6.  SEP, XX, 1012; back cover of GM for February, 1841.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 325:]

1.  Thomas-Poe, Washington, April 11, 1841. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 327:]

1.  Note the pointing characteristic of the Casket reviewer.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 328:]

1.  Note the pointing characteristic of the Casket reviewer.

2.  Note this, the favorite of our Ignotus’ words.

3.  Poe can scarcely be suspected, I think, of this sentiment.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 329:]

1.  The parentheses are Poe’s.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 330:]

1.  The parentheses are Poe’s.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 331:]

1.  This passage Poe copied with only a few changes from the third letter in “Doings of Gotham” series. See Spannuth and Mabbott (eds), op. cit., p. 43.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 332:]

1.  The parentheses are Poe’s.

2.  Poe-Snodgrass, Philadelphia, July 12, 1841. Ostrom, op. cit., p. 32.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 333:]

1.  See GM, XIX, 278; H, XV, 223.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 334:]

1.  Cf. the notice of Mrs. Shelley, GM, XVIII, 46.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 335:]

1.  The reviewer of The Ancient Regime declares: “There is too much “clap-trap in the work before us” (GM, XIX, 190).

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 336:]

1.  This is, as far as I am aware the only occurrence in Poe’s critical writing of this construction; ordinarily he writes “worthy the author“. Against the other evidence, however, this has no weight. It may be explained in many ways.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 337:]

1.  Gallagher-Poe, Cincinnati, March 10, 1841. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

2.  Thomas-Poe, Washington, April 11, 1841. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

3.  Thomas-Poe, Washington, May 24, 1841. Gr. MSS. Phot. in UVL.

4.  The parentheses are Griswold’s.

5.  Thomas-Griswold, Washington, July 28, 1841. In Griswold, W. M., op. cit., 95.


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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 III, Chapter II)